Removal of GST from food and other basic items, a ‘fairer tax regime,’ curbing immigration to increase sustainability and a better package for senior members of the society are among the promises made by New Zealand (NZ) First Party to the voting public in the ensuing general election.
Speaking at his Party’s Convention held at Alexandra Park on July 20, Leader Winston Peters said that his Party would take a ‘Commonsense Approach’ in almost all sectors of the economy, and pledged to work for ‘an equitable New Zealand,’ shunning ‘insidious creeping separatism.’
Economy on Priority
Like most other Parties in the fray, NZ First has also addressed the Economy on priority, stating that it would put in place a smart Economic Policy.
On a frontal attack of National, Mr Peters said it was time to cut through the ruling Party’s ‘Pretense’ and that ‘this is no ‘Rock Star Economy.’
“There is National’s elephant in the room, with almost 150,000 New Zealanders unemployed and the country owing the rest of the world $150 billion. The truth is that under National, we have a high-risk economy,” he said.
Mr Peters promised legislation to deal with what he described as ‘grossly overvalued exchange rate to encourage serious export growth’ and rebuild the country’s manufacturing base and provinces.
NZ First will provide more than 2% for research and development, he added.
“Technology is highly dynamic and the idea of Governments and agencies ‘picking winners’ here is a fallacy. We do not want companies mixed in a grants minefield of bureaucrats and politicians deciding who gets what, when and how in this sector.”
Mr Peters also promised a ‘fair tax system.’
“We will remove GST from the household food budget and rates on residential property, aiming at the heart of inequality undermining our society. Estimated to cost $3 billion a year, this will be funded by a clampdown on tax evasion and black economy (estimated to run at $7 billion annually) and draw on the projected surplus of billions of dollars in the years ahead,” he said.
A strong advocate of curbing immigration to need-based levels, he accused National Party of having allowed record number of more than 40,000 (net) people entering the country this year alone.
“Except the wilfully blind, all of us can see the enormous costs that this imposes on New Zealand – on housing, healthcare, education and overloaded infrastructure. When OECD seriously criticises our confused immigration policy, you know that something is gravely wrong,” he said.
Emphasising the importance of providing opportunities for developing the youth, he asked, “How does open-door immigration help our young compete for jobs and homes?” and ‘How do 79,000 foreign student work visas help our youth get work or pay their student loan?”
He said that school classes with children speaking little or no English or and selling off assets, land and houses to ‘foreign interests’ made no economic or social sense.
NZ First has chosen three candidates from the Indian community in contest in the general election this year. Among them are Anne Degia-Pala (as reported in our last issue), Mahesh Bindra and Dr George Abraham.
Born and raised in Bombay (now Mumbai), Mr Bindra has qualifications (BA Honours) in Political Science and Psychology and is keen to promote projects and programmes for the development of the younger members of the community. He also has a passion for law and order and safety.
Mr Bindra fulfills a number of social commitments including Bhartiya Samaj Charitable Trust (Trustee) and Global Organisation of People of Indian Origin (Member).
Dr George Abraham
Dr George Abraham is a tireless worker, evincing interest in medical research, teaching and journalism. A native of Kuruppanthara in the State of Kerala, he writes with passion on a number of political, economic and social issues.
A keen social worker, Dr Abraham always connects with the community, participates in their programmes and promotes their activities locally and through Indian Newslink for the wider audience.