Audrey Young

Audrey Young is the New Zealand Herald’s political editor.

Peters attacks 'humbug' govt - promises more cash

Photo / Herald on Sunday
Photo / Herald on Sunday

New Zealand First leader Winston Peters made some big-spending promises to the Grey Power conference in Hamilton last night - including paying part of their power bill.

He also attacked former Prime Minister Jenny Shipley as "China's stooge."

Mrs Shipley sits on the board of China Construction Bank and runs a consultancy for businesses dealing with China.

Mr Peter's after-dinner speech competed with other politicians over the weekend, including Prime Minister John Key on Saturday, who reminded delegates that in the past three years, superannuation for a couple had increased by $166 a fortnight, being a 19 per cent in nominal terms or 8.5 per cent allowing for inflation.

Labour leader Phil Goff was invited to speak, as was Greens co-leader Russel Norman.

But while Mr Peters referred to Labour's profligacy, he outdid everyone on his own spending promises.

He said New Zealand First - in Government - would introduce a 10 per cent discount on the electricity bills of SuperGold cardholders - a scheme he introduced in coalition with Labour.

It would be based on the average annual units used by married couples and singles and it would be operating by the winter of 2012.

More details and costing would be released later.

He also promised a tax change that would see the first $10,000 of interest earned being tax free.

And he promised to match student debt repayments dollar for dollar.

Mr Peters attacked the Government's plans - confirmed last week by Finance Minister Bill English - to cut some entitlements to Kiwisaver in next week's Budget.

The Government was full of "humbug" on savings and the rhetoric about how important it was did not meet the reality.

Mr Peters said Mr Key, and former National leaders Don Brash and Jenny Shipley were acting like three stooges, in allowing themselves to be used for another's advantage.

He said Mr Key was leading a public relations campaign and playing "the good stooge."

Dr Brash, the new Act leader was creating a smokescreen and playing "the bad stooge."

"And behind the scenes Jenny Shipley is showing her loyalty to the country she once led by selling as much of it as she can to China.

"She is China's stooge."

Mr Peters said New Zealand First would create a new agency called "the NZ Ownership Agency" with an initial budget of $500 million.

Its mandate would be to develop longterm plans to buy back strategic assets.

"This agency would be able to counter the Sovereign Investment Funds now prowling the globe on behalf of countries such Singapore, Dubai and China.

- NZ Herald

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