Deputy Prime Minister and NZ First Leader Winston Peters believes his party should be in Parliament to influence government decisions, which ever major party wins the election.
Peters said his party brings serious experience to the halls of power and is good insurance against unwise decisions. He said for this reason the two major parties do not like MMP and coalition governments.
The New Zealand First tour bus paused for several hours in Dannevirke at the Saigon Restaurant on Sunday, September 13 visiting as part of its North Island tour.
A crowd of 40 listened to Peters before he and Minister of Defence Ron Mark paid a visit to the CIMS workshop in the Tararua Hub and then headed north. (See associated article)
He said his party focused on the welfare of the young and the elderly, saying that if back in Parliament in the next term he would ensure medical treatment was free to all up to the age of 14 and teachers would be paid based on their qualifications.
Those retired after often 40-50 years in the workforce would be guaranteed a pension of 66 cents in the dollar with no surtax.
Peters said his party was the party of the rural areas and was vocal in his criticism of the Green Party's proposal to tax farmers more to pay for a move to lower intensity farming. He said farmers were blamed too much for river pollution, saying "the dirtiest rivers were closest to the cities".
He criticised the Labour-led coalition for continuing the level 2 lockdown beyond Auckland, for not introducing the military early enough to police our borders and for not insisting on masks when out in public.
In question time, he said when asked about the future of rural racecourses such as Woodville, he has and will continue to "do is darndest for the racing industry" citing two new laws passed as Minister For Racing to make it more viable but adding local clubs had to do their best to be efficient. "Any racing organisation up to it in efficiency will survive in this climate," he said.
He spoke strongly in favour of the NZ First policy of planting one billion trees actioned this term, saying timber is the best material for earthquake mitigation but he said carbon farming taking up good farmland was an unintended and unexpected consequence which needs investigation.
Peters said the expansion of rail as another way to reduce the carbon footprint was NZ First Policy, saying the Labour-led coalition had spent more money upgrading rail services in the last three years than National in the previous nine.
He said he would extend the government subsidy to St John Ambulance to 90 per cent of its operating costs.
Admitting this campaign under level 2 lockdown was the hardest of his career, Peters left his audience with the advice to vote NZ First no matter what the major parties say. "On election day you are king and queen," he said.