New Zealand First leader Winston Peters announced
election policies yesterday which would mean a fence thrown up
around the country with exports allowed out but fewer
immigrants allowed in.
Releasing his policy at NZ First's 21st birthday conference,
Mr Peters indicated he was more likely to move to the left of
the political spectrum if he was needed as a coalition
partner after the election.
However, given he has not, and will not, say who he will
support after an election, all bets are off. During an
interview on TV One's Q+A yesterday, Mr Peters hinted he
might stand in East Coast Bays if Prime Minister John Key did
a deal with Conservative Party leader Colin Craig.
But in his party speech, he urged the faithful to party vote
NZ First. Keeping everyone guessing until after the election
is stock and trade for the NZ First leader.
Mr Peters borrowed heavily from other parties for some of his
Using targeted tax incentives to spur investment in
innovative technology projects, research and development is
favoured by Labour and the Greens.
Ensuring the companies receiving investment money stay in New
Zealand is part of the Greens policy. If companies misuse
investment money, NZ First would ensure the people
responsible would spend time in prison.
NZ First would remove GST from food, another policy favoured
by the left.
The policy would cost $3 billion a year and would be funded
by clamping down on tax evasion and the black economy and
drawing on the projected surplus of billions in the years
ahead that resulted from running a sound economy, he said.
GST would also be removed from rates on residential property.
''This 'tax on tax deceit' has to end, and it will.''
But it was on immigration where Mr Peters returned to the
theme which has supported him in recent elections.
He questioned how open door immigration helped young New
Zealanders get jobs and home and how 79,000 foreign student
work visas helped young Kiwis get work or pay their student
''When the OECD seriously criticises our confused immigration
policy, then you know something is gravely wrong. NZ First
will cut immigration to those we need, not those who need
Superannuation would not be free for all. Only New
Zealanders, and those qualified by length of stay, should get
the full pension, he said. Immigrants arriving through parent
reunion would not immediately qualify.
The party would also extend capital gains tax where it
applied to foreign ownership of land and homes. Non-citizens
and non-residents would no longer be allowed to buy up New
Zealand housing stock.
And in a catch-all policy, Mr Peters advocated it being an
offence to be drunk or seriously drug affected in a public
place, or while trespassing on private property. His proposed
law would provide penalties of up to $2000 or up to three
months in prison.
''Whether it's the economy, a future high-tech society, a
fairer tax system, younger New Zealanders, separatism,
immigration, superannuation and the environment, our response
is to apply common sense,'' he said.