Peters tells audience what they want to hear

New Zealand First leader Winston Peters speaks at a GreyPower national conference in Invercargill yesterday. Photo by Southland express.
New Zealand First leader Winston Peters speaks at a GreyPower national conference in Invercargill yesterday. Photo by Southland express.
New Zealand First leader Winston Peters was speaking to a friendly audience in Invercargill yesterday.

His lively speech to about 120 GreyPower conference delegates appeared designed to tick all the boxes with older, conservative listeners.

He told them what they wanted to hear and was rewarded with loud applause and calls of ''hear, hear''.

He called for more Parliamentary co-operation over ''issues affecting the common welfare'' such as the banning of synthetic cannabis products.

He bagged Justice Minister Judith Collins for what he said was ''using her position as a cabinet minister to help her husband's milk-exporting company Oravida'', and called on Prime Minister John Key to sack her but said he doubted that would happen.

He slated the National Party's choice of candidate in Clutha-Southland, Todd Barclay, calling him a ''wet behind the ears 24-year-old''.

He criticised the policy of allowing immigrants - singling out those from China - to bring their ageing parents into the country and warned his audience New Zealand was becoming ''the retirement home for elderly from countries which have no pensions, health or aged care systems''.

With Australia lifting its pension eligibility to 70, he predicted a flood of expat 65 to 70-year-olds returning because they would receive a full benefit, even though they had not contributed to New Zealand's economy for years.

NZ First would address that by paying superannuation based on the number of years people had spent in New Zealand.

''This is only fair to taxpayers and New Zealand retirees who who have been here most of their lives.''

He vowed to try to reduce the number of refugees being given permission to immigrate.

He promised to broaden benefits available through SuperGold cards, including three free doctor's visits annually, promised to keep the age of eligibility for superannuation at 65, and said he would promote a 10% discount on power bills for SuperGold card holders.

He criticised the Overseas Investment Office for approving the sale of a $13 million Gore farm to a company based in Luxembourg, a country he said was known for laundering money for dubious enterprises.

The election plug came at the end, when he urged delegates not to forget the party which had looked after ''children and the elderly''.

 

 - by Allison Beckham 

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