Labour lists immediate priorities

10 September 2017 2:58 AM

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Leader Jacinda Ardern released a list of priorities at a rally in Wellington yesterday, including three policies to be passed before Christmas.

Those policies were: Making the first year of tertiary education or training fees free from January 1, 2018; increasing student allowances and living cost loans by $50 a week from January 1; and banning overseas speculators from buying existing houses.

The Greens could be part of the next government, but Mr Peters has made it clear he would rather not deal with the Greens in a coalition.

The Maori Party has indicated it would support Labour, rather than National, should it get a chance.

them free education, he wants graduates — doctors, nurses, and dentists — to move to rural areas. For each year of service in a rural area, a percentage of their student debt gets wiped.

He has not stated his preference for lifting student allowances and living cost loans, but is unlikely to stand in its way.

On those three issues alone, Ms Ardern and Mr Peters are likely to agree. But there are other issues on which they could not agree.

NZ First managed to get the minimum wage lifted when it was last in government with Labour and Mr Peters wants it to be lifted to $20 an hour over the next three years. He would support it being raised to $16.50 by April 1.

Both want to set up a ministerial inquiry to fix mental health. Both oppose overseas speculators buying existing residential properties, to take the pressure off the housing market.

Ms Ardern wants to stop the sale of state houses to help better look after vulnerable families, something NZ First could support.

Mr Peters has criticised Labour for stealing some of his party’s environmental policies so he is likely to support Ms Ardern taking steps to clean up the rivers and lakes by holding a clean waterway summit.

The Opportunities Party spokesman Sean Plunket alleged on Twitter yesterday there was a rumour circulating that Labour and NZ First were already having coalition talks.

Mr Peters has, since the advent of MMP, ruled out any deals before the votes are counted and is unlikely to change his self-imposed rule this year.

In the past, he has always dealt first with the party with the most seats in Parliament, and gone from there. He has promised he would decide on whom he supported in government by late October, if he was in a position to do so.

Ms Ardern told about 1500 people at the Wellington rally New Zealand faced a clear choice on September 23 — another three years continuing to drift and risk seeing the problems get worse.

"Or do we embrace the opportunity to take action and build a better, fairer New Zealand?"

National Party campaign chairman and Finance Minister Steven Joyce said what was most noticeable about Labour’s plan was the things it failed to mention.

There was no mention of its plan to legislate to remove $1060 annually from the pay packets of middle-income earners from April 1 next year.

"These tax reductions are in law now. They would have to pass a law in the first 100 days to remove them. Why aren’t they making that clear?"

Labour had also failed to make clear its plan was to delay National’s support for low-income families for another three months. Labour needed to be clear with low-income New Zealanders if they voted for a Labour government, they would wait longer for support, he said.

There was no mention of the "fabled" tax working party which Labour deputy leader Kelvin Davis said was a top 100-day priority.

"Now, not only their tax plans are shrouded in secrecy, so, too, is their plan for the group that will design their new taxes. Are they just too scared to mention it?"

Mr Joyce called for Labour to be clearer about what its "legislation to improve fairness in the workplace" was.

He suggested it was a return to industry-wide wage bargaining which would turn the clock back 40 years on wage bargaining and make New Zealand companies less competitive.


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