Jones, Craig meet the people

SIMON SMITH
Last updated 05:00 02/04/2014
Shane Jones
TOO EXPENSIVE: Labour’s Shane Jones says taking on supermarkets is frightening but he is convinced the $10 billion duopoly is increasing the cost of groceries. 
Colin Craig
OUR LAND: Conservative Party leader Colin Craig says only New Zealanders should be able to own property in this country.

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The polls might be unkind to the Labour Party now but will tighten up closer to the election, Shane Jones says.

And the former party leadership candidate says Labour will not oust David Cunliffe beforehand.

"We have got our leader. He of all people is conscious of what the polling result recently says but the virus of disunity, and excuse my colourful language, is a sort of bloody cancer in politics."

Together with Conservative Party leader Colin Craig, Jones vied for the votes of about 100 people at a public meeting hosted by Grey Power Howick and Pakuranga at the Pakuranga Bowling Club on Friday.

He says Labour is committed to a capital gains tax and slowly increasing the national superannuation age from 65 to 67.

And within 100 days of being elected the party would raise the minimum wage and address the "dreadful conditions" of staff and residents at rest homes.

A new insurance entity, Kiwi Assure, would bring competition to the insurance market.

Jones grew up in Kaitaia and is Labour's Maori affairs spokesman.

He says the party is a "broad church" and he is pro-industry and supports mining for minerals, oil and gas.

"There are very few jobs in regional New Zealand, especially the part where I come from," he says.

Craig says he grew up in East Auckland and his party stands for honesty, hard work, accountability and the family unit.

If elected the Conservatives would form a government with whichever party got the most votes, he says.

"That means in this election that will be National."

A bottom-line policy in any coalition negotiation would be binding referenda, followed by changing the anti-smacking law and running a tighter financial ship.

Other policies include prisoners working in jail to repay victims, scrapping the Waitangi Tribunal and a tax-free threshold which would mean no tax on superannuation.

Responding to a question from Howick resident Bruce Waller on climate change, Craig says CO 2 levels have risen but whether the sun has a hot day or a cold day "is by far the biggest influence" on the Earth's climate.

New Zealand is a small contributor to rising CO 2 levels so it should not play a part in fighting climate change, he says.

"I think that some people use it as an excuse to start writing a whole lot of rules to tell everyone else how to live their lives," he says.

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"If you are driving a motor car, then that's okay with me, frankly."

The next Grey Power Howick and Pakuranga election meeting will feature Winston Peters on June 27.

Greens leader Russel Norman and a National Party representative will speak on August 29.

- Eastern Courier

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