Party candidates set out policies for voters

About 60 people attended a public meeting of Waitaki candidates at the RSA Hall in Oamaru on Saturday.

The Grey Power-dominated crowd heard Waitaki MP Jacqui Dean (National), Barry Monks (Labour), Sue Coutts (Greens), Hessel van Wieren (Democrats), David Ford (Independent), and Alliance spokesman Norman MacRitchie speak before answering questions on their party's policies on caring for the elderly, asset sales and KiwiSaver.

Mrs Dean said she was proud of her party's record on social housing, home insulation, waiting periods for cancer treatment, the number of elective practices for people aged over 65, reclassification of party pills, the Criminal Proceeds (Recovery) Act and the war on P.

The tax system was fair, she said, stating those making less than $50,000 effectively pay no tax at all.

Asset sales could raise $4 billion to $7 billion and would be crucial in ensuring New Zealand paid down debt and returned to surplus, she said.

Green Party candidate Sue Coutts listed her party's priorities as getting 100,000 children out of poverty, ensuring every river is clean to swim in and the creation of thousands of clean, green jobs.

She called for a "richer", egalitarian society which connected the environment, economy and people, and a cheap, efficient public transport system.

She advocated further investment in power projects, a tax on water use and promoted a capital gains tax to raise $4 billion to $7 billion, instead of National's proposed asset sales.

Labour candidate Barry Monks, said Labour would raise the minimum wage to $15 and take GST off fruit and vegetables.

Two out of three New Zealanders were against asset sales, he said.

Independent David Ford called for tax to be taken off "real food", and said there were too many tax breaks for the "super rich".

It was also time New Zealanders had a conversation about death with dignity, he said.

Alliance spokesman Norman MacRitchie said the Alliance had always been against asset sales.

KiwiSaver should have been left as it originally was and the first $10,000 of income should be tax free, he said.

He insisted the State Services Act was undemocratic.

Democrats candidate Hessel van Wieren called for a cessation of overseas borrowing, and said deregulation of the economy created debt.


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