After railing against political rival Colin Craig's
Conservative Party for pillaging NZ First's manifesto and
having promised "game changing" new measures, Winston Peters
himself borrowed heavily from other parties with policy
Mr Peters unveiled policies including removing GST from food
and a crackdown on tax evasion this afternoon at NZ First's
21st annual conference at Auckland's Alexandra Park.
Introduced with a laundry list of his greatest hits,
including the Winebox and BNZ bailout inquiries, set to the
stirring strains of Ennio Morricone's theme from the film The
Mission, Mr Peters received a rousing welcome from about 150
But the policy "circuit breakers" to tackle growing social
inequality he talked up yesterday at the conference had a
familiar ring to them.
NZ First would "remove GST from your food, off that is, all
the basics of the household food budget".
The policy, an extension of the removal of GST from fresh
fruit and vegetables previously espoused by the Maori and
Labour parties, would cost about $3 billion a year, Mr Peters
"This bold policy aims at the heart of the inequality
undermining our society."
It would be funded by "a clampdown on tax evasion and the
black economy" which Mr Peters estimated was worth $7 billion
The policy also has strong echoes of that announced by Labour
"No other party has our record for taking on tax evaders and
fraudsters", Mr Peters said in a reference to the
achievements listed in his introduction.
"As part of a fair system" NZ First would also remove GST
from rates on residential property. "This tax on a tax deceit
has to end, and it will."
NZ First would also cap what Mr Peters called "loan sharking
While it wouldn't support Labour's capital gains tax, it
would "support an extension to capital gains tax where it
applies to foreign ownership of land and homes".
On law and order, Mr Peters said NZ First would introduce
tougher penalties to curb "the alarming binge drinking and
drug culture in New Zealand" which he said was causing
serious anti-social and harmful behaviour in many
"Clearly, the current law is no disincentive. It doesn't
prevent people from doing harm to themselves or to others."
NZ First would introduce legislative changes so that "to the
degree that it could cause serious harm to themselves, or
someone else, it will be an offence to be drunk or seriously
drug affected in a public place, or while trespassing on
Mr Peters later told reporters the policy would act as a
disincentive and, as such, it would reduce the number of
people picked up by police for public disorder offences.
Meanwhile, the policies to remove GST from basic food items
and household rates were about addressing "grinding poverty
in parts of this country".
"We're going to do something about it," Mr Peters said.
"Genteel handwringing is not good enough. We have to act, and
we're going to do that."
- Adam Bennett of the NZ Herald