Putting New Zealanders First

New Zealand First is the third largest party in the New Zealand Parliament. The Party was formed in 1993 to represent those New Zealanders concerned about the social and economic direction of our country, and who were seeking pragmatic, common-sense representation in Parliament.

Following the 2017 General Election, the Party retained 9 seats in the House of Representatives and formed a Coalition Government with the New Zealand Labour Party. Party Leader, Rt Hon Winston Peters, became Deputy Prime Minister of New Zealand and the Party secured three other Cabinet positions and an Undersecretary role.

At the core of New Zealand First's policies are our "Fifteen Fundamental Principles", which emphasise accountable and transparent government, common-sense social and economic policy, and the placing of the interests of New Zealand, and New Zealanders, at the forefront of Government decision-making.

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Latest News

Week in review

Pike River re-entry confirmed   Eight years almost to the day after 29 miners died and were trapped in the Pike River Mine explosion, the Government has confirmed that it will attempt re-entry and recovery of their bodies. This is great news for families of the miners who have fought for years to recover the bodies of the men, and to understand the cause of the explosion in the mine. It also fulfils a New Zealand First election promise and coalition agreement commitment with Labour. The National Government and state-owned mining company Solid Energy determined manned re-entry could not be done safely and the decision was made to seal the mine permanently. The Coalition Government established the Pike River Recovery Agency in January with a budget of $23 million. Of the three options, it recommended to the Government that the safest approach for re-entry was single entry through the existing drift. Cabinet last week approved an additional $14m for the re-entry attempt which will begin in earnest in February, although considerable preparatory work has already been undertaken. Minister in charge, Andrew Little, said it would be an "extraordinarily complex" undertaking, but the process to make it safe had been robust. The families of the dead men are elated with the Government’s announcement. “We fought really hard for our men for a very long time, and today this is a victory for the families and the little people in New Zealand,” said families’ representative Anna Osborne.     Manawatu-Whanganui latest region to benefit from Provincial Growth Fund   On Thursday, Regional Economic Development Minister Shane Jones announced a $48 million Provincial Growth Fund (PGF) package for Manawatū-Whanganui. It is the latest in a raft of multi-million dollar funding announcements for the regions this year and will support projects across a range of sectors including transport, food and beverage, digital connectivity and tourism. The largest investment is for KiwiRail, to advance work on establishing a regional freight hub near Palmerston North. The $3 billion PGF was a flagship New Zealand First election policy and a key coalition agreement with Labour. This Government is committed to reversing years of neglect under National and to creating new employment and economic development opportunities for those living outside of our cities. It aims to contribute to community wellbeing, lift productivity, encourage more private sector investment, and help meet New Zealand’s climate change targets.       Peters attends Armistice ceremony, opens embassies in Europe   Foreign Minister Winston Peters joined world leaders for the official ceremony commemorating the 100th anniversary of the armistice ending World War I, held at the Arc de Triomphe in Paris. Representatives of the countries that fought and supported the war effort all attended. “These commemorations, 100 years on, are an opportunity to join together in remembrance of the great sacrifice made in the First World War,” Mr Peters said. Three out of every five New Zealanders who fought in the war sustained casualties. More than 18,000 service men and women lost their lives. He also attended the inaugural Paris Peace Forum convened by French President Emmanuel Macron as part of the centenary events. Intended to be an annual event, its aim is to provide a platform for world leaders to reflect on current global security challenges and foster international co-operation. While in Europe, Mr Peters also opened New Zealand embassies in Stockholm and Dublin and met with Swedish and Irish leaders. The opening of the embassies is part of the Government’s commitment to strengthen its representation globally. In Budget 2018 MFAT secured an extra $150 million over four years, needed to rebuild expertise and resourcing to better equip New Zealand to respond to an increasingly turbulent global environment. “At this time of global uncertainty, New Zealand needs to work more closely with friends andpartners who share our values and our commitment to fair and rules-based global order.” Mr Peterssaid.       Government celebrates “excellent” employment stats   Job figures released on Tuesday show that unemployment has dropped to 3.9 per cent in the latest quarter, down from 4.4 per cent at the end of June. It is the lowest unemployment rate in a decade. And employment is up, with 29,000 more people employed since the June quarter. At 68.3 percent overall, this is the highest rate since the statistics series began more than 30 years ago. Other economic indicators have shown strong and widespread growth this year. We've seen population growth in the regions, reports of more job ads, high levels of migration and tourism, growing retail sales, and rising exports. While admitting that employment figures can be volatile, ASB chief economist Nick Tuffley said the data “flies in the face of what business confidence has been saying for the last year”. "As yet we haven't seen any material signs coming through yet that weaker business confidence is impacting on the broader economy." Finance Minister Grant Roberston described the figures as “excellent”, and a reflection of the success of the Government’s policies which back businesses to invest and hire, while Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern said they were reason to celebrate.     Royal Commission terms of reference extended   The Government has agreed to expand the scope of a proposed inquiry into the abuse of children in state care, to include those abused in church care. The inquiry will now be called the Royal Commission into Historical Abuse in State Care and in the Care of Faith-Based Institutions. It was initially established in February to be chaired by the former Govenor-General Sir Anand Satyanand, but the full terms of reference and budget were only revealed this week after an extensive period of public consultation. The terms of reference were extended as a result of lobbying by survivors of abuse while in faith-based care who felt they had been left out by the original proposed scope of the inquiry, and by the Catholic and Anglican Churches who felt it should be “fully inclusive”. It will begin hearing evidence from January next year, with the first interim report to be presented by the end of 2020. A final report will be submitted to the Governor-General in January 2023. The inquiry has a budget of $78.85 million over four years, which includes more than $15 million to help participants by providing counselling and support. The inclusion of church abuse in the scope of the inquiry has been welcome by past victims, with one describing it as “a gamechanger”.     Pacific Reset picks up pace with $10 million fund   Foreign Affairs Minister Winston Peters announced the establishment of a $10 million Pacific Enabling Fund. The fund will allow engagement with Pacific partners on a diverse range of activities outside the Government’s formal aid funding arrangements, such as cultural and sporting diplomacy, people to people links, and some military cooperation activities.  “The Coalition Government is committed to rebuilding New Zealand’s standing in the Pacific, supporting our Pacific partners, and continuing to deliver on our Pacific Reset priorities,” Mr Peters said.    

Rt Hon Winston Peters - One Year in Government

    A year ago New Zealand was given hope for a brighter future, as New Zealand First and Labour became partners in a Government with fresh thinking, energy, and a determination to improve the lives of everyday Kiwis. During the election campaign we sensed discontent, that too many people were struggling to make ends meet, that essential infrastructure and services they used on a daily basis were crumbling in the face of chronic underfunding, that some communities no longer felt safe, that the regions felt they had lost out to investment in the big cities and big business. In short, that the priorities of central government were wrong and it was time for a change. It was this undercurrent of sentiment that was uppermost in our minds during coalition negotiations. In deciding our coalition partner, we had the simple choice between a slightly modified status quo with National or a real tide of change with Labour. As our very name suggests, we put New Zealand and New Zealanders First and in making the decision to partner with Labour, we have proven in our first year the real positive change we are making in the lives of people who call New Zealand home. We set an ambitious agenda for action and we are working tirelessly to deliver on the 61 policy points detailed in our Coalition Agreement with Labour. Regenerating the Regions In February we launched our flagship Provincial Growth Fund and Billion Trees Programme. The $3 billion fund and the ambitious planting programme aim to breathe life back into the regions. For too long they have been neglected. Nearly half of us live outside our main cities. If this country is to do well, then our provinces must thrive. They are the powerhouse of the New Zealand economy. In the first year alone, we have invested millions of dollars in some of the most neglected parts of the country. We have put money into forestry, agriculture, tourism, and regional transport links, all with the aim of enhancing economic development opportunities, drawing in private sector investment, creating sustainable jobs, contributing to community well-being, lifting productivity, and helping meet New Zealand’s climate change targets. Restoring lost capacity The Government is investing in health, education, housing and transport – sectors which touch New Zealanders’ lives every day, but which were neglected under the National Government. We are moving quickly to bring hospitals up to standard, expanding and rebuilding where necessary. $750 million was set aside in Budget 2018 for new capital projects, including major upgrades to Auckland hospitals and a new hospital for Dunedin. More than 25,000 New Zealanders had their say in the Education Conversation and related summits which ran this year. As a result of this, the Government has set a 30-year pathway for education. We are planning for the next generation and our goal is ambitious – nothing less than the best education system in the world. We want every child in New Zealand to reach their full potential. To this end we have also boosted funding for special education needs, lifted the wages of learning support assistants, and initiated a plan to boost teacher numbers by 850 for 2019. It is not acceptable to this Government that New Zealanders are homeless, or living in cold, damp conditions, or forced to rent when they would prefer to buy. The housing crisis was created over a decade under National and won’t be fixed overnight, but we are already starting to provide new and affordable housing to New Zealanders through our Kiwibuild scheme. It aims to deliver 100,000 homes for first home buyers over the next decade. Effective transport links are critical to New Zealand’s economy. Under National, funding was channelled into the extravagant Roads of National Significance. Rail was marginalised, lines were closed, and regional roads deteriorated. The Government has approved a 10-year plan for transport which will inject record investment into roads, rail, air and sea links, with the goal of developing our growing regions and cities and saving lives on our roads. Supporting NZers and our communities There are many ways the Government is working to make life better for all Kiwis. We have already increased the minimum wage to $16.50 an hour and plan for it to be $20 by 2020-2021. We have launched Mana in Mahi, a scheme which would see more young people on a benefit gain industry training skills which will lead to sustainable and meaningful employment and help address some of the skills shortages which employers face. How well we treat our youngest and oldest citizens reflects on us as a society. New Zealand First is proud to have Tracey Martin as both Minister for Seniors and Minister for Children. Over 65s continue to benefit from our Super Gold Card which is in the process of being modernised, we have launched a Positive Ageing Strategy to address the needs of our rapidly ageing population, and extended GP visits to under-14s. When fully rolled out our Families Package, launched in July, will help improve life for 384,000 families and lifts thousands of children out of poverty. Dwindling police numbers has seen organised and drug crime skyrocket, and left many communities feeling vulnerable. As part of our Coalition Agreement, we set the goal of recruiting 1800 extra police over the next three years. In August, the first allocations of extra officers were made around the country, with hard-hit regional towns seeing their police numbers boosted by 17-27 percent. This will make a real difference as we work to make our communities safer. Regaining our place in the world While we understandably focus on issues and progressive policy changes at home, we must also be mindful of our role and contribution on the global stage. In an increasingly turbulent world, we need to be clear about the challenges we face, ready and well-equipped to respond, and have valued working relationships with our neighbours and allies. Budget 2018 secured a $367 million funding boost over the next four years for defence, and an extra $150 million for the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade. We are now increasing our defence force capability, strengthening our representation globally, and building our influence and activity in the Pacific through our Pacific Reset policy. We are restoring the capacity lost under National and regaining our place in the world. It is long overdue. New Zealand First is proud of its role at the heart of Government. As always, we have taken a commonsense approach and have negotiated balanced policy outcomes. We have stood firm on retaining the Three Strikes law until it is reviewed as part of a wider justice reform package, we argued to retain the 90-day trial for small businesses, and we have restricted foreign ownership of New Zealand property in order to give hard-working Kiwis a better chance of fulfilling their dream of home and land ownership. New Zealand First and Labour have worked together constructively and achieved so much for New Zealand over the past year. We have had real influence in shaping a better future. We have proved the doom merchants wrong and demonstrated how effective Coalition Government can be. But there is still much to do. We will continue to work in the best interests of New Zealanders. It is what drives us.         Winston.Peters@parliament.govt.nz     One Year in Government   Fletcher Tabuteau - One Year in Government Hon Shane Jones - One Year in Government Hon Ron Mark - One Year in Government Hon Tracey Martin - One Year in Government Darroch Ball - One Year in Government Clayton Mitchell - One Year in Government Mark Patterson - One Year in Government Jenny Marcroft - One Year in Government    

Fletcher Tabuteau - One Year in Government

    It’s been a very rewarding year for New Zealand First. In just 12 months we have achieved so much for our country. As Under Secretary for Regional Economic Development, I am especially proud of the significant announcements from the Provincial Growth Fund, which represent substantial investments in regional rail and forestry, and an energised focus on tourism and job creation.  It was a momentous occasion in May to be in Rotorua for the launch of Te Uru Rākau, the new Forestry Service, with its head office located in the heart of regional New Zealand.  Forestry is the country’s third-largest export earner, with an annual gross income of about $5 billion, and potential for growth. On my overseas visits as the Under Secretary for Foreign Affairs, I have been promoting what New Zealand has to offer to a global audience of consumers. Only last month, I led New Zealand’s first-ever business delegation to South Africa. A big win was also the passing of the Overseas Investment Amendment Bill in August. It ensures investments made by overseas people in New Zealand will have genuine benefits for the country and this includes a ban on overseas buyers purchasing existing homes. The dream of home ownership is now a reality for more New Zealanders. I’m also pleased the Government took seriously the issues raised by my KiwiFund Bill and Ministers have agreed to work through a number of matters of concern in two upcoming reviews including fees and investment practices, and default provider arrangements. A full-scale review into retail power pricing was also one of our commitments in the Coalition agreement with Labour, and phase one is now complete. In July when I attended the Warmer Kiwi Homes launch in Christchurch, rolled out in partnership with the Energy Efficiency and Conservation Authority, we turned up at a lady’s house to install the insulation and the first thing she said to me was, “I voted for New Zealand First!” New Zealand First is a strong and stable coalition partner in this government, working in the best interests of New Zealanders.  We currently have the lowest unemployment we’ve seen in a long time, low Government debt, a strong Government surplus, and forecast growth of around 3 percent a year over the next five years.          Fletcher.Tabuteau@parliament.govt.nz     One Year in Government   Rt Hon Winston Peters - One Year in Government Hon Shane Jones - One Year in Government Hon Ron Mark - One Year in Government Hon Tracey Martin - One Year in Government Darroch Ball - One Year in Government Clayton Mitchell - One Year in Government Mark Patterson - One Year in Government Jenny Marcroft - One Year in Government    

Hon Shane Jones - One Year in Government

    This Government is committed to transforming New Zealand’s regional economy, and rebuilding the presence of central Government on the ground in our provinces after nine long years of National Party neglect. In our first year as Government, I’ve had the privilege of rolling out a host of initiatives to do just that: creating economic opportunities, restoring the capacity of the forestry industry, and helping improve road, air, sea and rail links to ensure all our communities are well connected with the rest of the country, and the world. We’re able to do all this because of the $3 billion Provincial Growth Fund (PGF). Already the PGF has invested in many worthy projects across the country; from art and cultural centres and wharves, to airports and driver licensing schemes. It’s a key New Zealand First win from our Coalition Agreement with Labour and it’s making a difference in regional communities up and down the country. On the forestry front, the establishment of the One Billion Trees programme will help create sustainable jobs and address climate change. To oversee this programme, we’ve established Te Uru Rākau, our new Rotorua-based forestry service. Recently $240 million was allocated for grants and partnership programmes to get trees in the ground - we’ve also established a new forestry scholarship and allocated $300,000 through the PGF to pilot a forestry training course as a solution to the growing forestry skills shortage. In transport, we’ve invested record amounts in regional transport in our first year, doubling the funding for regional roads to connect communities and improve safety, and taking the first steps to reinvigorate regional rail. We’ve diverted funding away from the previous Government’s extravagant Roads of National Significance and into transport investments that will return more benefit for the taxpayer dollar. Our first year in Government has seen great strides taken towards breathing life back into the regional economy. As always, I encourage those in the regions to continue coming forward with worthy projects for PGF support – it’s only with the help of all Kiwis that we will be able to realise our vision for a prosperous, successful provincial New Zealand.         Shane.Jones@parliament.govt.nz     One Year in Government   Rt Hon Winston Peters - One Year in Government Fletcher Tabuteau - One Year in Government Hon Ron Mark - One Year in Government Hon Tracey Martin - One Year in Government Darroch Ball - One Year in Government Clayton Mitchell - One Year in Government Mark Patterson - One Year in Government Jenny Marcroft - One Year in Government    

Darroch Ball - One Year in Government

    It has been a year of significant achievements for New Zealand First and our coalition partner. We have worked hard to execute our vision and make real change to the country. As New Zealand First’s Law and Order Spokesperson, it has been rewarding to be a part of a Government which is making reforms to better support New Zealanders and make our communities safer. We have committed to the single biggest investment in Policing in our history, striving for 1800 extra Police over three years. The goal is ambitious, but badly needed, in order to restore lost capacity in the Police force after nine years of National neglect. Every region in the country will receive a boost to police staffing. We want to have police out on the beat, in the community, to prevent crimes and respond to calls when issues arise. We have also committed extra resources to tackle gangs and organised crime. New Zealand First has maintained its principles and its unique voice in Parliament over the course of a very important year. We have always taken a firm stance on law and order, and accordingly we pushed to keep the Three Strikes law. We believe this law sends a clear message to the most serious offenders, and considers victims. We also know that in order to fix the broken justice system and the growing prison population that we inherited, we need wide-ranging reforms and we will not shy away from this. I look forward to another successful year in Government building on the progress we have already made in the law and order space. The need to make lives better for New Zealanders and allow them to feel secure in their communities gives us the motivation to forge ahead and build on our successes.         Darroch.Ball@parliament.govt.nz     One Year in Government   Rt Hon Winston Peters - One Year in Government Fletcher Tabuteau - One Year in Government Hon Shane Jones - One Year in Government Hon Ron Mark - One Year in Government Hon Tracey Martin - One Year in Government Clayton Mitchell - One Year in Government Mark Patterson - One Year in Government Jenny Marcroft - One Year in Government    

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