National plans to come down hard on gangs and beneficiaries if it is elected to Government next year, today unveiling a range of proposed policies it says will put people in the "driver's seat of their own lives".

The party is testing the waters on exploring a plan which would make it a requirement for sole parents to fully immunise their children.

But National has scrapped a proposed plan to fine parents of under 18 year-olds who are not in school or education up to $3000.

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The party today launched its social services discussion document – a list of proposed policies National is looking into ahead of next year's election.

Chief among the areas the party is looking into is coming down hard on gangs.

"National hates gangs," the discussion document said.

It confirmed the party is looking into a policy which would require gang members to prove they don't have illegal income or assets before receiving a benefit.

There was little further detail, however, it's likely more would be made known in National's "Gang Plan", which it plans to unveil sometime next year.

Speaking to media after his speech, Bridges said National was not going to stand by while gang members collected the dole, as well as their "ill-gotten gains".

"That's not a fair go to hard-working Kiwis, who paid their taxes."

Patched Mongrel Mob members gathered outside the Wanganui courthouse
Patched Mongrel Mob members gathered outside the Wanganui courthouse

The document released today contained numerous areas of proposed social policy including housing, welfare and education policies.


But National appears to have backtracked in one key part of its planned policies.

Earlier this month, the Herald revealed National was looking into a policy of fining the parents of school dropouts, under 18 years old, up to $3000 if their child is not in school or a further education course.

Although National is still looking at getting tough on the parents of dropouts, it appears to have scrapped the concept of a fine.

Today's discussion document makes no mention of any kind of fine for parents, only that they would be "held accountable" if their under 18-year-old is not in education, training or employment.

National Leader Simon Bridges said the party is now gauging its members to see what that will mean.

The discussion document also seeks feedback from its members on policy areas it may look at perusing.

For example, National today asked: "For sole parents, should it be a requirement that their child is fully immunised?"

Asked about this, Bridges said there was "no good reason not to immunise your child in 2019".

"If you don't want to immunise your child, don't take taxpayers' money."

In his speech, Simon Bridges made it clear today where his priorities will lie if he becomes prime minister after next year's election.

"National takes a hard-line approach when it comes to welfare and I make no apology for this," he said this morning.

The party is looking into a policy which would limit the amount of time someone under the age of 25 is allowed to be on the benefit.

It's also looking into how National would simplify the welfare system if it was in Government and reduce the total number of beneficiaries across the country.

Social development spokeswoman Louise Upston said National's approach to reinstating a sanctions regime system was "firm but fair".

"The previous National government set measurable targets to reduce the number of Kiwis on benefits, leading to the number of working-age clients on main benefits dropping by over 40,000 between 2012 and 2017.

"We'll do the same again because this approach works."