People coming to live in New Zealand would need to take out personal medical insurance for at least 10 years, under a policy being considered by NZ First.

The party's leader Winston Peters has expressed his support for the idea, saying "we have to stop having a soft heart and a head to match".

"You can climb off a plane in New Zealand and be in hospital the next day," Mr Peters said. "We have long waiting seems to me to be only reasonable and fair."

NZ First is holding its annual convention in Rotorua, with delegates considering a number of remits. If accepted, they will be examined by caucus.


The Rodney delegation has put forward policy that, "all new settlers in New Zealand must take out personal medical insurance cover for a period of 10 years minimum".

Mr Peters said that if reciprocal arrangements existed that allowed Kiwis to get medical cover in a new arrival's country-of-origin, they would not need insurance.

Another proposal that would require MPs to give 10 per cent of their base pay to the party was rejected, with Mr Peters saying such a scheme in 1996 had failed after nine MPs left.

NZ First also considered the establishment of a youth wing or organisation, with a committee to look into the matter further.

Last month Mr Peters issued a statement distancing the party from member Curwen Rolinson, who had been widely referred to as the party's youth leader.

After TV3 reported that Mr Rolinson had appeared in court charged with possession of cannabis for supply, Mr Peters' statement said the party did not have a youth wing, and that "Mr Curwen Rolinson was told countless times never to call himself the president or leader of a youth wing".

Mr Rolinson is covering this weekend's convention for the Daily Blog website.

In his first report, posted today, Mr Rolinson wrote that he was expecting a "very mixed reception" and "a full day of dodging bullets, bouquets and brickbats".

However he maintained his blogging on the party had ultimately helped it, changing perceptions including highlighting the fact that "NZF isn't just Winston - it's an entire living, breathing, thriving entity full of actual, real people".

He told the Herald that a number of MPs and party members had approached him to say hello and offer support, which had been heartening.

Mr Rolinson hoped a youth electorate would be established, represented by delegates and able to put forward policy.

Mr Peters said he was against that idea, but was open to the possibility of a youth association or recognised body.