Peters targeting immigration

Winston Peters
Winston Peters
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 policies.

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 loan.

''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 us.''

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.


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