Want to know all the bottom lines Winston Peters has laid down this year?
Reports today talk about Winston Peters laying down "the ground rules" for coalition negotiations and setting out "priority areas he wants addressed". And it's interesting that the indications he's making now aren't exactly in line with what he's said previously.
Yesterday he gave a speech in Porirua talking about coalitions, and he was especially critical of National's tax cut plans and Labour's capital gains tax. Peters said National must be having "a private laugh at the public’s expense" by promising "virtual tax cuts" in 2017. And he reckoned there'd have to be changes to Labour's capital gains tax for him to support that.
But let's not pretend Peters has only just started positioning himself. I've been keeping a running tally of Peters' "bottom lines" this year, and they are:
- New Zealand First won't work in a coalition with a "race-based party".
- New Zealand First will block the sale of Lochinver Station ("we would not allow this deal"), demands a register of land sales to non-New Zealanders and further, "we will not go into any arrangement with any party that thinks they can go on doing this [foreign land sales]. That's it."
- New Zealand First could not offer even confidence and supply to a party that didn't agree to a royal commission into the Dirty Politics allegations.
- New Zealand First insists on a state asset buy-back programme that begins now, not in years to come. More specifically, he has a bottom line that the power companies part-sold last year must be bought back. "If either side prefers to sell out New Zealand's long-term heritage, then they can line up and find their own support".
- New Zealand First wants a public KiwiSaver fund (It's calling it KiwiFund). Peters said it's "most definitely" a bottom line.
- New Zealand First says generally immigration must come down, and specifically that new migrants must move into the regions for up to five years. That's also a bottom line, Peters has said.
These are the bottom lines Peters has laid out this year. The out clause? "The cross benches". But what exactly that means to New Zealand First remain unknown.