Labour keeps focus on health spending, while National says election is a clear choice for voters; Winston rallies against Communist China takeover of NZ; TOP has a go at Labour over water tax

By Alex Tarrant

Labour tried to keep the debate firmly on health, while National was out promoting its economic record during Tuesday’s campaigning. Both Jacinda Ardern and Bill English are set to spend time in Auckland on Wednesday ahead of the final leaders’ debate at 7pm.

Winston Peters kept pushing on “Communist China’s hold on New Zealand,” and on Wednesday is set to talk about water tax in Ashburton to a farming group. This follows him receiving a relatively frosty reception in Morrinsville on Monday.

The Opportunities Party (TOP) had a go at Labour’s water policy, saying they had “joined farmers across the country in rejecting Labour and other parties plans to tax water.” Co-deputy leader Geoff Simmons wrote that a market price for water “would allow farmers and other business folk to make rational decisions about their water consumption.”

“The amount of water available for such commercial use will of course not exceed sustainable levels in terms of preserving and enhancing our waterways,” he said.

Meanwhile, the final 1 News Colmar Brunton poll is due at 6pm tonight, ahead of the debate. The final Newshub Reid Research poll is due Thursday evening.

Water vs health

Ardern on Tuesday was asked about Labour’s water policy by the travelling media pack in Wellington. Asked to explain who it would apply to, she said those “using water for commercial gain and are not covered by municipal, or are not using water for stock water. It would be 1-2 cents per thousand litres.”

Not just farmers? “No, and we’ve never claimed it was just for farmers,” she said. “But it does exclude people on municipal supply, those who use it for stock water. Essentially, anyone who’s already charged is not covered by this policy.”

Well, that final comment is just going throw up a whole lot more confusion on Labour’s stance. No one is currently charged for the actual water that they consume in New Zealand. But rural users – just like urbanites – face existing charges relating to consents and rates (for delivery). She meant to say, no commercial users charged by councils for delivery of water through municipal pipes.

The exchange on water was a brief respite of Ardern’s main message of the day, on health funding. Labour released a ‘report card’ on National’s performance. This included notes like the average adult GP fee had risen 32% under National, and 58,000 Kiwis had been denied specialist appointments. 

Read Labour's statement below

From increased GP fees, to kids getting sick from cold homes, to denial of important surgeries, National’s underfunding of health has hurt Kiwi families, says Leader of the Opposition Jacinda Ardern.

“It’s time to invest in the health of our families. If we want action on health, we need a Labour Government.

“Nine years of drift and underfunding by National has left us with 20 children a year dying from poor housing, with too many young people committing suicide, with lives needlessly shortened by insufficient care.

“Every day, there are new stories of hardworking doctors and nurses who can’t keep up with demand, overflowing hospitals, and New Zealanders missing out on the care they need. We can do better than this.

“Three more years of National would bring the same as the past nine – underfunded health services that are cracking under the strain.

“I fully expect Bill English to dismiss these figures; he will say there is no problem in health. After nine years, what else can he do? But the fact is, he authored every Budget that starved our health service of the resources it needs for a growing and ageing population.

“I believe that properly funding health is more important than tax cuts that deliver the most to the top earners. It is wrong to be prioritising $20 a week for top earners when there are people in need being turned away from our hospitals.

“I challenge Bill English to explain why he hasn’t committed the additional $6.7 billion health needs just to keep up with demand over the next four years. Labour’s Fiscal Plan allocated an extra $8 billion to health so we can keep up with demand and improve the health services Kiwis get. Why hasn’t National committed to funding health properly?

“It’s time for Labour’s positive plan to fund health properly, reduce GP fees by $10 a visit, boost frontline mental health services, and ensure our homes don’t make kids sick.

“If New Zealanders want action to fix our health system, rather than three more years of drift, then they need to give their party vote to Labour. Let’s do this,” says Jacinda Ardern.

Economic credibility

Meanwhile, Bill English was in Blenheim talking about how National was committed to growth, and that New Zealanders had a clear choice this election. You can read his full statement below. Campaign chair Steven Joyce released a new ad, underlining “clear choice for voters.”

New Zealanders have a clear choice this election between two very different economic directions for New Zealand – National’s plan to grow jobs and incomes and ensure families continue to get ahead, and Labour’s agenda that would take us backwards, Prime Minister and National Party Leader Bill English says.

“National is ambitious for New Zealand. We have a confident and comprehensive plan for a confident and growing country,” Mr English says.

“Today we are setting out the choice New Zealanders have on the economy, so they can see the difference between National’s clear and ambitious plan for the future, and the vague and pessimistic ideas of our opponents.”

National’s economic plan is about backing New Zealanders to succeed. National will:

- invest in skills and infrastructure, and maintain a fair industrial relations system, to give our businesses the confidence to invest another dollar, and employ another person.

- ambitiously pursue trade agreements that connect our exporters to the world. We will ensure our immigration settings mean we are attracting the right people with the right skills to drive growth.

- prudently manage the Government’s finances while still investing in world-class public services and infrastructure. And we will lower government debt, to help prepare for the next rainy day.

- continue to grow incomes by reducing income taxes and increasing support for New Zealanders. Our Family Incomes Package will benefit 1.3 million families by $1350 a year on average.

Mr English says Labour on the other hand would put a handbrake on growth.

“Labour would increase taxes, and create uncertainty for business through their tax working group which would undoubtedly lead to capital gains and land taxes. They would stop free trade agreements, heavily cut migration and radically reform industrial relations.

“Our opponents haven’t realised that you have to keep growing the economy or you can’t spend the money. Labour have spent so much this election that their own numbers show they need to run two Budgets with no new spending outside health and education – that’s despite them borrowing $11 billion more than National.

“Meanwhile they would slow down growth which would mean less government revenue and even higher debt.

“We can’t risk that. New Zealand hasn’t become one of the best-performing economies in the developed world by accident.

“Our plan for the economy is delivering for New Zealanders. 181,000 jobs have been created in the last two years, and the average annual wage is up $13,000 under National. Someone working on the minimum wage has seen their annual income go up $8,000 since 2008.

“That success is why we can invest in better public services, put more money into family budgets, build world-class infrastructure like hospitals, schools and roads and help our most vulnerable to lead better lives.

“If we stay on track we can build on that success, delivering more jobs, higher incomes, and even greater opportunities for New Zealanders.

“National is committed to ensuring all New Zealanders get ahead. That starts with a strong and growing economy. Only National has a plan to ensure that continues,” Mr English says.

Voters can see their clear choice on the economy at www.national.org.nz/economy_choice.

Chinese takeover

Meanwhile Peters chose to focus on the Communist Chinese takeover of New Zealand’s government apparatus:

Communist China’s hold on New Zealand has to be explained, says New Zealand First Leader and Northland Member of Parliament Rt Hon Winston Peters.

“Last week we called for a full inquiry into how Jian Yang, a member of the Chinese Communist Party with strong ties to their intelligence community, could become a National List MP in our Parliament.

“Prime Minister Bill English treated this serious matter lightly saying Dr Yang was double-checking his application from 13 years ago, which was a cop-out.

“This week, leading academic Professor Anne-Marie Brady said a special commission was needed to investigate China’s impact on our democracy.

“She said Australia was looking to introduce a law against foreign interference in domestic affairs.

“Besides Australia, the US, Canada, UK, Japan and EU are also deeply worried by China’s policy of expansionism and control.

“In five years China has taken over New Zealand’s milk infant formula industry and they have the back door key to our dairy industry added value.

“Silver Fern Farms, our biggest red meat exporter, fell to a Chinese takeover, with the deal going through last year.

“All over the country, National and local government politicians have talked of Chinese interests funding infrastructure.

“China is quietly starting to dominate the lives of New Zealanders and clearly our economic direction – National must explain,” says Mr Peters.

We welcome your help to improve our coverage of this issue. Any examples or experiences to relate? Any links to other news, data or research to shed more light on this? Any insight or views on what might happen next or what should happen next? Any errors to correct?

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39 Comments

Chinese Takeover - that's one particular genie that we are now unable to put back into the bottle even if we wanted to.
Western laissez-faire versus Eastern endeavour - Game Over.

If you feel bad now just imagine what will happen if national by chance gets 4th term.

This was predicted in the book Man and Technics 86 years ago.

In Spengler's mind, our culture will be destroyed from within by materialism, and destroyed by others through economic competition and warfare.

Lets hope immigrants will not vote as a block but rather look at the wellbeing and health of the country as a whole.

"Chinese Takeover - that's one particular genie that we are now unable to put back into the bottle even if we wanted to."

Well the best way to not accomplish something is to not try.

OF THE THREE ABOVE, SOUNDS LIKE NATIONAL HAS GOT A PLAN, A CREDIBLE ONE AS WELL.

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Yes, ever more of the same destructive policies.

Destructive, you say? Disruptive as well! ( aviation fuel debacle)

" Nathan Guy insists that swamp kauri is an international showcase for New Zealand....
That one of the prominent speculators in this grey market in taonga happens to be David Wong-Tung, husband of National MP Judith Collins, should rightly raise eyebrows, along with suspicions that her involvement places the Government in an awkward spot – again. Wong-Tung is a director in Kauri Ruakaka Ltd, formerly Oravida Kauri, which has stockpiled an estimated 80,000 tonnes of logs.

From Kate's link last night......

A showcase, he reckons? That sounds like a well thought out and reasoned comment - not.

i dont where the kauri story came from but the farmer across the road says its rubbish, there has been no heavy machinery there until now fixing the pipe.
it sounds more like lack of maintenance spending and create a narrative to push the blame elsewhere

And you would be right. Could not agree more.

Google Oravida Kauri TVNZ

And no curbing of the takeover of this country, short term gain for long term pain

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Chinese are big players in our economy and I suppose other countries with serious investments here would include UK, USA and Australia. But with China it is hard to know when you are really dealing with the Chinese Communist party whereas fear of the CIA or MI5 manipulating NZ is less. The list of ex-Politicians who are now receiving income from Chinese companies almost certainly with the approval of the Communist party of China is scary.
We need to hear more from Chinese that are not communist party puppets: Falun Gong, Taiwan and some of the non-state approved religious organisations.
I hate it when Winston is right - this is really an issue worthy of debate.

We will be always dealing with the Chinese Communist government, they have stake in everything, even the buy up of housing, in a way, as being a command economy for all intents and purposes, they can turn that tap on and off at will.

It is wrong to refer to them as "Communist" in the current year. They are the latest iteration of a proud tradition of Central Government going back 2,500 years.

They call themselves communist. But I do agree, they are not, communism has never been fully tried, closest would probably be Cuba, but true communism probably would not really have a leader as such.

they are still a dictatorship by the party (a one party state), and the problem with Winston is that when he gets on a platform, singing against the mainstream, he has a nasty habit of being right.

Well North Korea is called the Democratic Peoples Republic of Korea, go figure...

I take your point about the word 'communist' - I was trying to make it clear that I don't have anti-Chinese sympathies but I do object to a non-democratic organisation that has a proven record of disdain for civil rights and has never admitted to ever making mistakes. Too large, too secretive, too racially monotone (at least the USSR had some non-Russian senior leaders (Stalin for example) and unlikely to have genuine feelings for New Zealand's interests.
To spell it out - if NZ eventually became a majority Chinese country similar to Singapore it might be a surprise but certainly not a disaster. On the other hand and equally likely we could become another Tibet. Both far fetched but the Chinese government acts with long term aims whereas it seems the National and Labour parties are thinking of the next election only.

Here is the full story from which the NZ First press release is based;

https://www.newsroom.co.nz/2017/09/18/48616/expert-calls-for-inquiry-int...

lets face it, if Jacinda wins or even if she deosnt it looks like its time to move ART OF WAR off the trading desk and replace it with BEYOND POWER Dr Helen French.

Why waste your comments on a load of side show matters?
The real deal (National vs Labour) is that National will continue to foster a sound economy and sustainable growth and well being for all. Labour on the other hand will try to tax and redistribute the nation into some sort of economic equality based on the warped notion of "to each according to their needs and from each according to their ability". This doctrine has been totally discredited and proved unworkable and goes against human nature of striving to get ahead (we are hard wired this way and it manifests in survival instinct). The only people it (Labour's way) works well for are those that haven't got the gumption to get up and apply themselves.
A vote for Labour/Greens is a vote to go backwards towards a dark period in human endeavour that has been thoroughly discredited.

"well being for all" eh? Maybe you could tell that to the over-worked heath staff, the homeless, the non-home owners, police, teachers, fire fighters.

Sustainable growth? Show me that, the growth has come from intensified dairying, intensified tourism, selling over-priced houses to each other, and very little else. Edit- I forgot rampant immigration covering up low GDP.

Your other claim has absolutely no basis in anthropology, nor social evolution either - we evolved into social groups, as society is stronger than the individual. Gordon Gecko is not a role model, greed isn't good.

Let's not pretend that you're Bill Gates, or Tim Berners-Lee, let alone Marie Curie.

Arrived in 2002 - so far roughly similar time Labour and National governments and I can barely tell the difference. It is very unlikely that my concern about the hidden hand of the Chinese government in NZ will ever affect my life but there is a genuine risk for my children and grand-children. That is why it is worth while having a debate.
See http://www.interest.co.nz/news/69723/review-things-you-need-know-you-go-... - you should be concerned.

To the op: Unbelievable drivel. Keepnegative, I think.

"National will continue to foster a sound economy and sustainable growth and well being for all."

Oh stop it, you're killing me!

I believe this election is a cognitive dissonance election. It is the election where the government party wants the voting population to accept its word -that they are great economic managers -without question. They want us to believe the emperor has new clothes. They certainly do not want us to look properly and point out the reality. But the cognitive dissonance is getting too big, the nakedness too obvious..... It is getting harder and harder to deny;

-That the government has lost control of the housing market. Amy Adams in other portfolios was a good performer -but looks stupid on housing -couldn't even answer a simple question -how many houses were built in Auckland last year. http://www.newshub.co.nz/home/election/2017/09/national-s-housing-spokes...

-Simon Bridges -one of the government's next generation leaders -has tainted himself by not releasing business cases for $billion road projects. One of which appears to be the most expensive road per km in the world. http://www.newshub.co.nz/home/new-zealand/2017/09/government-to-build-mo...

-That the economy is built on, an increasing number of disturbing links by current and former politicians with an anti-democratic one-party state of the biggest country in the world. https://croakingcassandra.com/2017/09/19/a-near-complete-cone-of-silence/

-Michael Reddell pointing out that the economy per capita is not performing well, there is no productivity growth and NZ is not catching up with the rich nations it likes to compare itself to. https://croakingcassandra.com/2017/09/15/working-more-not-getting-more-p...

-Has NZ ever had a Finance Minister that has stretched his credibility with the public as much as Steven Joyce? http://www.newshub.co.nz/home/election/2017/09/patrick-gower-half-of-new...

Other cognitive dissonance problems include -cleaning waterways by changing the measurement criteria -not by actually improving water quality. Proclaiming the brilliance of targeted social investment, while ignoring unpalatable social statistics, such as increased diseases of housing poverty + malnutrition.http://www.nzherald.co.nz/nz/news/article.cfm?c_id=1&objectid=11923626, highest youth suicide in the OECD.... Government's infrastructure plans not including a plan for dealing with Auckland's fuel pipeline risk. http://www.nzherald.co.nz/business/news/article.cfm?c_id=3&objectid=1192...

Campaigning on misinformation that opposition parties will raise income taxes, which will stall the economy, when the reality is that government proposes to cut income taxes if elected, while the main opposition parties agree to maintain the current revenue/expenditure percentages wrt GDP. http://www.newshub.co.nz/home/opinion/2017/09/patrick-gower-national-gui...

TLDR. Already voted for no change.

Nicely put, read it, already voted for change.

"wants the voting population to accept its word.."

After nine years of cogitating Labour say they need a working group before they can reveal what they might do.

It's election year - *shrug*.

Yet the other options are sooo baaad they add a lot of urgency to voting National.

An alternate view of human nature - https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Est6nay4Z5E The Myth of Human Nature.

We do not have a sound economy and nor do we have sustainable growth. A sound economy would imply that there is no risk from a fall in house prices to an affordable price. A sound economy would imply that we do not need immigration. Sustainable growth would imply that we are not further polluting and degrading our ecosystem.

I can't agree with any of your implications.

The risk free world is a fantasy.

Whether a society allows immigration and at what rate has almost nothing to do with the soundness of its economic foundations.

All life on this planet creates some kind of waste.

In nature growth consumes and/or degrades something else in the wider eco-system.

This election is going to be the best in decades. Possible elimination of the Greens who along with TOP would annul 7% of the vote. National and Labour neck and neck, with Winston Peters the King/Queen maker. This is high drama and I suspect the beginnings of a schism in NZ society no matter who wins as the tribal lines are so clearly defined.

https://m.facebook.com/story.php?story_fbid=10155003299503295&id=7058932...

Check out Chris Bishop's attitude in a Youth Suicide debate.

Health needs more than just extra money, it needs a change in govt.

Where do you get off blaming any government for the suicide of a young person?

Is that you Lloyd?
Guess you couldn' t open the link.
Click the blue web site and then click the triangle shaped thingy and you should see CB in all his glory.