Adam Bennett

Adam is a political reporter for the New Zealand Herald.

NZ First to announce 'game changing' policies

New Zealand First Leader Winston Peters.  Photo / New Zealand Herald Photograph / Richard Robinson.
New Zealand First Leader Winston Peters. Photo / New Zealand Herald Photograph / Richard Robinson.

Having fired a warning shot across the bows of Conservative Leader Colin Craig this morning, NZ First Leader Winston Peters is promising to announce "game changing" policies to tackle social inequality and harmful foreign investment in his speech to party faithful tomorrow.

About 150 NZ First members gathered for their pre-election annual conference today at Auckland's Alexandra Park racecourse where the party was launched 21 years ago this week.

As party members took their seats, Mr Peters took the opportunity to strike out at Mr Craig who he has accused of plagiarising NZ First's manifesto. Mr Peters said he would consider running against Mr Craig in East Coast Bays if National's Murray McCully stood aside.

"The fact is the machinations and the scheming and plotting of some parties may well come totally undone if they carry on, but we'll make that decision in future date not too long from now."

This morning's conference saw a speech from the Salvation Army's Major Campbell Roberts who spoke about the worsening conditions for many children in this country.

New Zealand had escaped the "economic carnage" seen in other countries following the global financial crisis, and maintained the social contract around protection of public health and education.

"That contract however, appears to be frayed around the edges" and in need of review.

"The daily reality of the Salvation Army is that we are seeing in this country a social deficit that is growing, kiwis who are struggling to provide the basic necessities for themselves and their families."

Mr Peters said Major Roberts' speech was important because NZ First was "seriously concerned at the concertina-ing of wealth in fewer and fewer hands" and the "social catastrophe" which meant "the character and nature of this country which made us a world leader is being slowly lost".

"We don't intend to let this go on any longer and we need a game changer and circuit breaker and we believe in this conference we'll deliver it tomorrow in some of our economic and social policies."

Mr Peters said tomorrow's speech would also include tax measures aimed at foreign capital.

"Offshore money is either to build exports, new employment, new creativity, or it can be a corporate raid. That's what the National Party doesn't understand, that's what the right wing have never understood but NZ First does.

"So we're going to encourage wise investment that's in our economic and social interests not this wholesale sell out and sell off in NZ."

- NZ Herald

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