New Zealand First leader Winston Peters has hit back at Prime Minister Bill English for saying he doesn't want Peters near monetary policy - saying, "that's what they think".
Peters told business leaders today that such comments were "arrogance in the extreme", and his party was the only one that realised the importance of exports to turn around New Zealand's economy.
In the PM Job Interview with a panel of NZME journalists this week English was asked about Peters' possible influence post the election and said he "certainly wouldn't want Mr Peters near monetary policy".
Today, Peters told Business NZ's political conference at Te Papa that the dramatic change in the polls in the last few weeks show how flimsy the economy is.
"National is all smoke and no barbecue," Peters said, saying today's opening of the Government books by Treasury could give a rosy impression of the economy, but that evaporates if you look under the bonnet.
"Kiwis have a choice. They accept the Treasury numbers at face value and all is well with the world.
"Or they can choose reality ... the much-touted surplus will vanish in the twink of an eye when population growth driven by immigration is properly accounted for."
Peters took familiar aim at the Auckland and Wellington-based media whose reporting made it all seem "sweetness and light", while everyday provincial Kiwis were "busting a gut just to stand still".
"They look at Auckland and Wellington like astronomers perceive black holes to be - sucking the economic life out of the regions," Peters said.
"There's a dangerous policy disconnect between big city and country.
"Our economy is not a paint-by-numbers exercise because economic wealth starts in the regions, where the priority needs to be."
Peters said his party would cut company tax rates to 25 per cent over three years, starting from April 1 2019.
On that date its policy is for other changes including:
• An export tax rate of 20 per cent applied to export-generated income.
• For small and medium-sized businesses 100 per cent depreciation for business equipment worth up to $20,000 for each item.
• Introduce research and development tax credits.
Those changes would help businesses pay a minimum wage that NZ First has pledged to increase to $20 an hour over three years, Peters said.
Peters said his party admired the Singapore model, which has an exchange-rate-based monetary policy, with the dollar weighted against a basket of currencies made up of those they trade with and compete against.
"There is a direct relationship between the Singaporean dollar and interest rates, while here we suck in foreign money to fuel a consumptive domestic economy."