Peters attacks 'policies of separatism'

By Derek Cheng

Winston Peters. Photo / Bay of Plenty Times
Winston Peters. Photo / Bay of Plenty Times

Winston Peters is vowing to return to Parliament next year and has pledged to extend the SuperGold card to include a free health check every year and cap doctors' fees at $10.

In a speech titled "Malice in Blunderland" at Grey Power's annual meeting last night in Christchurch, the New Zealand First leader made a scathing attack of the Government and the Maori Party, accusing them of separatism.

The National Party declined to comment yesterday.

Maori Party co-leader Tariana Turia dismissed Mr Peters' speech. "Whatever world Winston is in, it is not the real world that our people and all peoples of this nation are living in - he has totally lost the plot."

Mr Peters said New Zealand First, which failed to return to Parliament at the last election, was the voice of the ordinary New Zealander - "people who don't go along with separatist claptrap and dumb ideas like making this country an international retirement home, or selling our biggest farming operation to the Chinese."

His comments refer to the potential sale of the Crafar farms and an immigration policy allowing entry of elderly foreigners who invest $750,000 in New Zealand.

"It is sad to say this but New Zealand is now well on the way to separatism," Mr Peters said.

"The Maori Party flew its separatist flag on Waitangi Day, the foreshore and seabed is open to seizure in the guise of customary title, and now hundreds of millions of taxpayer dollars are to be siphoned off social services for the race-based Whanau Ora programme."

Prime Minister John Key has said Whanau Ora will be available to all New Zealanders based on need.

"Whanau Ora is belatedly being touted as available to all New Zealanders - irrespective of race. Our response to that is - yeah right!"

He suggested setting up a Pakeha Aura system to cater to the needs of non-Maori.

Mr Peters, who turned 65 this week, said New Zealand First would extend the SuperGold card concessions "when we return to Parliament next year".

As well as a free annual check-up, the cost of visiting the doctor would be capped at $10.

"We believe that this policy will help reduce the overall cost of health because problems will be picked up before they get serious."

He said pledges for further benefits for SuperGold card holders would be released next year.

Mr Peters attacked the Government's welfare reforms and its forthcoming changes to the tax system, which he described as robbing the poor to pay the rich.

The favoured option for the foreshore and seabed would lead to a flood of Maori court claims for customary title, he said.

The latest a Roy Morgan poll showed support for New Zealand First had risen 1 per cent to 3 per cent.

- NZ Herald

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