19 Jul 2020

NZ First leader Winston Peters highlights police, immigration in campaign launch

5:44 pm on 19 July 2020

New Zealand First leader Winston Peters has announced a new commitment to frontline police and an immigration reset at his campaign launch in Auckland today.

New Zealand First leader Winston Peters at his 2020 election campaign launch.

Photo: RNZ / Claire Eastham-Farrelly

Peters has committed to 1000 new frontline sworn officers over the next three years and a cap of 15,000 immigrants - limited to highly-skilled workers - a year, if re-elected.

He said there was a choice between "cuddling crims, or recruiting another 1000 police", and between limiting immigration to 15,000 highly skilled workers or a return to mass immigration.

Peters used his campaign launch speech at his party's convention in Auckland to attack National, Labour and the Greens and lay out his party's achievements.

He said the party had chosen to enter a coalition with a Labour party that "lacked experience in government" after the last election after the country had endured "nine long years of neglect by the National Party".

"Three years on, New Zealand First's record of achievement is impressive and unique ... no other Party has an 80 percent plus achievement record in under three years," he said.

"We've used common-sense to hold Labour and the Greens to account. We've opposed woke pixie dust. We've defended socially conservative values, like the right to believe in God. We've focused on the wisdom of sound economics.

New Zealand First leader Winston Peters at his 2020 election campaign launch.

NZ First leader Winston Peters announces police and immigration policies at his campaign launch. Photo: RNZ / Claire Eastham-Farrelly

"Whilst the rest have been politically correct, we've set out to correct politics."

His comments gave away little about any possible coalition, attacking National and Labour in equal measure, but said his party in any coalition government would demand the immigration portfolio.

He told the crowd of about 250 people that voters would have the choice to "take out some necessary insurance".

"Insurance against the ideological urge to tax, tax, tax; insurance against big government and the view that nanny state knows best; insurance against the folly that tax payers money can solve any problem; insurance against extremism - from either side of politics; and insurance against any who would seek to govern alone."

Peters also highlighted his party's ability to stymie plans for a capital gains tax and Auckland light rail.

"How futile does a Capital Gains Tax look right now? And on Auckland Light Rail and many others, we have stopped bad, uncosted ideas and called them to account," he said.

"When are light rail supporters going to tell you the cost - which is billions above what they have so far admitted, or the transport shut downs everywhere across Auckland, which will grind the city to a halt?

"If Aucklanders knew the cost and disruption of light rail, they'd be shocked with collective alarm. What we do know is that New Zealand First's heavy rail alternative will cost 15 percent of light rail - and we can start building it now."

New Zealand First this morning also announced a policy for a universal family benefit, which would allow families to put down a deposit on a first home.

MP Shane Jones also won members' support for extending a fast-tracked Resource Management Act application process, which will now go to caucus to be considered as party policy.

Parliament passed legislation to fast-track resource consents during the Covid-19 economic slump earlier this month.

At the time Jones told RNZ he wanted the sped-up process to be a permanent fixture.

National Party leader Judith Collins wants the RMA repealed.

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