Peters unveils plan to transform KiwiSaver

HAMISH RUTHERFORD
Last updated 14:26 10/08/2014

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New Zealand First says it would extend KiwiSaver to newborns, and will allow people to use their funds for tertiary education of their family.

> See our live blog of Labour and NZ First's campaign launches here

Speaking at the party's campaign launch in Kelston in Auckland this afternoon, leader Winston Peters said children would be registered at birth, with the government kicking $1000.

Funds could also be withdrawn for education for both themselves and others in their family.

"Parents and family can contribute knowing that it will go towards tertiary education or a home - a basic need. It'll change parental savings culture as well," Peters told about 300 at the Kelston Community Centre.

"It also means that the Government is spared not having to loan as much money to Tertiary Education students for their fees."

Peters said the party was aiming to change New Zealand to a savings culture, and will cost $60 million a year.

"That's $60 million reinvested back into our economy, our businesses and our people, not heading offshore to reward a bunch of incompetent Aussies on Novopay," Peters said.

"Mothers and fathers can 'fly buy' some of their consumer spending towards their children's account."

Peters said enrolling children at birth would allow children to develop a savings habit.

"This means that over their childhood and teenage years, their savings will grow from the odd jobs they do, the Christmas and birthday '$20 gifts' from their grandparents', the afterschool and holiday jobs they have as a teenager."

Peters said he would be announcing other youth focused policies over the next six weeks in the lead up to the election.

Earlier the party introduced its confirmed candidates for the September 20 election, with former North Shore MP Andrew Williams saying he will stand in East Coast Bays. Peters had hinted that he may stand there if National attempted to gift the seat to Colin Craig.

Peters also used the speech to attack the government on the sale of foreign land, saying the Overseas Investment Office was approving sales at a rate of one every three days, with approved sales totalling more than 1,000,000 hectares since National took office.

"New Zealand First is opposed to the takeover of New Zealand," Peters said, adding that New Zealand's "prime product" - dairying - was no longer in our control.

He vowed to establish a register of foreign ownership, so the country knew what was owned where, saying it would not be possible to hide the true ownership of assets through trusts. Meanwhile there would be a major overhaul to make it much harder for foreigners to buy New Zealand assets.

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"The rubber stamp is going in the bin," Peters said.

He vowed to use the so-called Cullen Fund - the New Zealand Superannuation Fund, would be used to buy back New Zealand assets, while New Zealand would fund its own infrastructure projects, although Peters gave no indication how.

Labour is due to launch its campaign this afternoon, also in Auckland.

- Stuff

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