Conservative Party leader Colin Craig.
Some of the Conservative Party's key policies are so
similar to New Zealand First that leader Colin Craig has been
accused of plagiarism.
The two parties will outline their vision for New Zealand and
their election plans this weekend at their annual meetings in
The Conservatives have begun laying their election platform
in a series of billboards and leaflet drops over the past
The four key planks of their campaign will be tougher
penalties for criminals, a tax-free band below $20,000 of
income, making referendums binding and scrapping Maori
A few of their priorities so closely resembled New Zealand
First's manifesto that leader Winston Peters said they
appeared to be stolen.
"Plagiarism is what you're talking about. He's not got
similar policies, he's trawled through our stuff and tried to
present it as being his own."
Both parties want to end asset sales, stop the sale of
farmland to foreigners, scrap the Emissions Trading Scheme
and introduce tougher sentences for criminals.
Mr Craig told the Weekend Herald it was inevitable some of
their policies would be similar because they were both
competing for a similar pool of centrist voters. But he
emphasised key points of difference.
Conservative is more radical on Maori issues, saying it will
scrap the Maori parliamentary seats, repeal the foreshore and
seabed legislation, and wind down the Waitangi Tribunal while
not allowing any new claims.
New Zealand First says it is up to Maori to decide whether
Maori seats remain.
Conservative is also more sceptical about climate change. Mr
Craig has not prioritised reducing carbon emissions, while
New Zealand First says it is important to switch to cleaner
fuel and introduce environmental "bottom lines".
Mr Craig will use his keynote address today to speak about
the need for a smaller, more efficient government with fewer
MPs, agencies and advisers. This is also matched by New
Zealand First policy.
Mr Craig said Mr Peters was not sincere about his smaller
government policy because he also wanted to expand the powers
of some government departments.
"They're talking about expanding the power of the Reserve
Bank. They're talking about buying back state assets despite
the fact we can't actually afford to.
"It's all additional bureaucracy."
Mr Craig said while Conservative was concerned about
migrants' effect on housing pressures, he would not follow Mr
Peters in using strong rhetoric against immigrants or foreign
investors. He said New Zealand needed to get rid of the
perception that it was unfriendly to overseas investment.
Both parties are hardline on law and order issues. New
Zealand First would introduce a 40-year minimum non-parole
period for murder, and a "castle doctrine" law which allowed
deadly use of firearms by homeowners against burglars.
Mr Craig also wanted heavier penalties, especially for
violent offences and for prison sentences to be served in
Law and Order
Conservative: Harsher penalties for criminals, especially in
violent crimes cases. Encourage working prisons.
New Zealand First: Tougher sentences, including minimum
non-parole period of 40 years for murder.
Conservative: Scrap the Emissions Trading Scheme, focus
instead on localised measures such as cleaning up rivers
New Zealand First: Scrap the ETS, prioritise switch from
fossil fuels to alternative fuels and introduce environmental
Conservative: No sales of productive land to foreigners,
encourage foreign investment in other areas.
New Zealand First: Opposes sale of farmland and forestry to
foreign ownership. Only allow overseas investment which
Conservative: Opposes widespread privatisation, but would not
buy back partially-sold power companies
New Zealand First: Opposed to asset sales to foreign
ownership and against sale of Air NZ, energy companies or
partial listing of Fonterra
- Isaac Davison of the NZ Herald