Whanganui will receive more tourist dollars if New Zealand First is part of the next government, according to New Zealand First leader Winston Peters.

The latest politician to visit Whanganui in the build-up to the September 23 election, Mr Peters paid a fleeting visit to Whanganui on Tuesday. He spoke to about 50 people, many of them party faithful, at the Wanganui RSA.

Mr Peters repeated his promise, made at his campaign launch in Palmerston North on June 25, to deliver GST paid by tourists back to the regions.

"We're going to the regions because we believe that for a long, long time in this country the central government has been fast on the lip and slow on the hip when it comes to the regions."

Advertisement

Mr Peters said much of New Zealand's economy was created by the regions.

"But when it comes to the money being given back to those people who do all the work and create all the wealth, it's a one-way traffic system. It goes to Wellington, but it doesn't come back."

Mr Peters said in the year to July 2016, tourism in the wider Whanganui region amounted to $115 million.

"And how much of that did you get back? I'll tell you - you got doughnuts back. You provide all the infrastructure, all the hospitality, all the character that people would come to a place like Whanganui for - and the bureaucrats take the money and never give anything back.

"Our plan is to return the GST earned in Whanganui from international tourists straight back to Whanganui."

Meanwhile, Whanganui will have to wait a little longer to find out who the New Zealand First candidate for the electorate will be. Mr Peters confirmed an announcement would be made in about three weeks' time.

After his speech, Mr Peters took questions from the audience, which covered such topics as the health system, the use of 1080, apprenticeships, housing affordability and lifting GST on fresh food.

In response to a question about punishment for drug dealers, Mr Peters said he would introduce hard labour for drug dealers.

Advertisement

"I don't believe in building more prisons, by the way. I believe in taking people out of prisons and sentencing them to hard labour."