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Covid 19 coronavirus: Labour and National 'can't be trusted' on immigration: Winston Peters

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NationalPartyleaderJudithCollinshasruledoutworkingwithNZFirstleaderWinstonPeters.Whe

National Party leader Judith Collins has ruled out working with NZ First leader Winston Peters.

When asked this morning by Newstalk ZB's Mike Hosking if she could work with Peters in charge of the immigration portfolio, she said it wouldn't be a problem as he wouldn't be around.

"I'm not going to waste any time on him. He said shifting the port north to Marsden Point was going to be a bottom line too and look [at that]".

Collins said caucus has made it clear it did not want to do business with him.

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"It's just not going to happen."

When asked about increasing taxes as the debt levels at the moment were "monumental", Collins said it wouldn't be happening under her watch.

"The best way to get taxes up is to get more people working. I'm not going to be announcing any taxes. That's the politics of envy ... not destroying everybody's wealth and what they've saved for," she told Hosking.

"Why would you work as hard as you do if you don't get some reward for it."

When asked about the state of the economy and debt levels and that people will vote Labour because the money wouldn't be paid back anyway, Collins said Labour wouldn't be winning the election.

Read More

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"They're not going to win, I'm absolutely determined that we will win. What we're seeing at the moment is that a lot of people have lost their jobs and are not turning up in statistics because the other partner in their couple is working so they can't get the job seeker allowance, or dole. We're about 200,000 out of work at the moment and I think it's just going to get a lot worse.

NEW ZEALAND 18 Jul, 2020 3:25pm 5 minutes to read ROTORUA DAILY POST 18 Jul, 2020 6:00am 3 minutes to read NEW ZEALAND 18 Jul, 2020 5:00am 10 minutes to read NEW ZEALAND 11 Jul, 2020 8:14am 3 minutes to read

"Just today, The Warehouse is today having another meeting, it's not going to end well, you just know it's not going to end well.

"I think everybody is going to understand very quickly the economy is jobs, it's actually the ability to pay our way. I don't think New Zealanders are stupid ... I don't think they will care about what's happening in the rest of the world when they don't have jobs."

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When asked whether Kiwis might not look to blame anyone for the current situation and put it down to Covid-19, Collins said it wasn't about blame.

"No one's blaming anyone, we know that this is a very difficult time ... but you actually have to have a plan to get out. You can't sit there wallowing in the economic depression saying 'oh it's not our fault', well too bad you can do things to get out of it and that's why we've started unveiling some plans around infrastructure but also there's a lot more coming."

Collins said the wage subsidy, while a way out for some people, couldn't continue forever.

"The wage subsidy, which I think was the right thing for the Government to do at that time, is obviously welfare but we're now coming to the end of the second tranche of that ... well what then?"

She said the Government's shovel-ready projects weren't anything new and ones which National had got consented in 2017.

"There's nothing new. So all the hype about how they're going to do these things, about shovel-ready projects it's all turned out, to be frank, fairy dust."

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Earlier this morning Deputy Prime Minister Winston Peters told Hosking New Zealand needed more "expert" help in terms of immigration.

Peters said that immigration was a bottom line for its support at the next election because the "other parties can't be trusted" with the portfolio.

"We're sick and tired of having discussions with people who say 'we'll do this and we'll do that' and they don't. It's just that unfair and not right ... we will not make that mistake again."

NZ First says it wants to restrict immigration to a net growth of 15,000 people a year.

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The "bottom line" threat was "seriously real", Peter said.

He said New Zealand didn't need 13,000 chefs to be allowed to migrate here, but did need skilled workers.

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"... we're going to eat our way to wealth? It's just nonsensical."

Hosking asked Peters about his adjusted immigration figures - from 10,000 people to 15,000 - and whether it was recognition that with borders closing and the country would need help.

Peters agreed more "expert help" was needed, which was why it was being looked at.

He had talked to business people, he said it was a "very, very conservative number but we think it's about right".

When asked that none of the parties delivered on any figure and why should any be believed, Peters said they weren't in charge of those decisions.

"Well the reality is they weren't in charge of that, that's why I'm saying next time we want that portfolio and that is the bottom line because other parties can't be trusted on this issue. I know what Labour promised before the last election and I know what we negotiated and it just didn't happen."

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Hosking put to Peters that immigration did lead to growth which may be what New Zealand needed, with borders and tourism possibly a problem long term.

"Well that's a great fallacy, it doesn't lead to growth ... it doesn't lead to export growth, it doesn't lead to added growth in your own country ... it is purely consumption."

He said NZ First had delivered on everything they had promised during the current term of government.

He declined to answer whether he would support a Labour or National-led government at the next election, saying he would want to seek the opinion of his colleagues before making a decision.

When asked about his "woke pixie dust" comments and whether NZ First had been damaged by association with Labour and the Greens, Peters said "you always get damaged by association - they'd probably say the same about us".

"The difference is we have delivered on everything we said we could ... you always get contaminated."

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Meanwhile, the minister in charge of managed isolation and quarantine, Megan Woods, yesterday said she was welcoming National's support for a policy to charge returnees to New Zealand part of the costs of accommodation.

"As I have been signalling for several weeks, we believe people returning to New Zealand should assist with the considerable expense of accommodating them in managed isolation facilities," she said.

"Our number one priority is to ensure the safety of all New Zealanders. Keeping Covid-19 contained at the border is an expensive, and logistically difficult, operation.

"As we have made clear on numerous occasions, we are working through policy options on a cost-recovery scheme.

"This requires detailed investigation to ensure that any cost recovery system is fair and equitable, and is balanced with the legal rights of New Zealand citizens and permanent residents to come back home.

"This Government has the responsibility of ensuring that any cost recovery regime is robust and workable.

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"National's stated commitment to a charging regime is a good sign there will be widespread parliamentary support for such a move.

"It is complex, but we are making good progress and we expect to make an announcement on this soon."

Earlier today it was revealed that anyone who arrived in New Zealand from October 3 would be charged a $3000 fee per adult for their managed isolation if National wins the election.

The party's Covid-19 border response spokesman Gerry Brownlee said the fee would be used to "partially meet the costs of their quarantine".

Each adult would be required to pay $3000 per adult towards the cost.

Additional adults in a room if a couple had arrived would be charged an additional $1000. Children under 3 years will have no cost and over 3 years will see an additional $500.

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"Currently taxpayers are funding a long and very expensive Government response to let people come into the country. It's entirely fair that those who benefit pay a share," he said.

"This fee is for the purpose of cost recovery to reduce the burden on New Zealand taxpayers, and to cover some of the costs of accommodation and food over the 14 days of required quarantine for persons entering the country."

Brownlee said there could be exemptions on compassionate grounds but only for New Zealand citizens and permanent residents.

National's policy was similar to that used in New South Wales, Queensland and South Australia, he said.

"Two-week quarantining looks likely to be with us for a while," Brownlee said.

"This is a practical solution to a growing problem."

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National leader Judith Collins also commented on the policy earlier today.

"I want us to have a fair system ... it also needs to be compassionate," Collins told TVNZ's Q+A this morning.

Video will play in Play now Don't auto play
Never auto play The PM is asked about the threat posed to her by Judith Collins, and she responds by saying she is focused on the Covid-19 fight and not on the election. Video / Mark Mitchell

In late June, Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern confirmed the Government was considering part-charging those in managed isolation.

But she said it was a "complex area" and legal issues had to be canvassed.

She said New Zealanders were coming home "for a range of very significant and often dire circumstances".

"I'd say if you're making the choice at your expense to travel overseas, then you should meet the full cost of that holiday," she said.

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"My view is that if you're making the choice to go on a holiday offshore with the expectation that taxpayers pick up the tab on your return, that it's right for us to look at whether or not we can deal with that.

"Not only does it put extra pressure on our system for New Zealanders who need to come home, you actually have a choice over whether you leave or not."

Ardern said the Government would move "cautiously" on the matter.

The next day Megan Woods spoke further on the matter.

She acknowledged New Zealanders had a legal right to return home and could not be stopped.

"That's what we're working through ... and it could well require legislative change," she told the Herald.

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"One of the things we also need to make sure is that we're essentially not setting up a test for New Zealanders based on how much money they've got in their bank account.

"We'd have to make sure we had hardship measures in there as well ... that people can pay it back over a period of time, for example."

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