Winston Peters has appealed to Nelson Grey Power, telling members New Zealand First is the only party committed to defending the elderly.
More than 200 Grey Power members turned out hear Peters speak, greeting him with applause as he entered Annesbrook Community Church, flanked by Nelson’s NZ First candidate Sue Sara.
Peters launched straight into his party’s history as “defenders of the elderly” and said other political parties were busy telling New Zealand “we can’t afford you”.
“[I hear] you’re greedy, that you don’t deserve it, normally by young people who don’t know what you did,” Peters said.
He told them they were a hard-working group who had built New Zealand up, and they deserved to be looked after.
He spoke against means-testing superannuation, and said “if you’re alive and you’re 65, you qualify”.
“You are not going to go away and you’re a serious electorate power,” he said.
Peters received applause for his comments about a limit on the number of foreigners coming into New Zealand.
He said parties shouldn’t be suggesting they couldn’t afford superannuation without looking first to the number of migrants.
He jumped from housing to homelessness to water tax; all the time making jibes at his political opponents’ approaches to these issues and endearing the crowd with his one-lines.
“No one owns the water until you get a flood,” he quipped.
He also said his opponents were “spraying promises around like an eight-armed octopus”.
As Peters answered a question on housing, one attendee yelled out; “What’s your view on immigration?”
To which Peters replied, “I’ll answer that one next, because I’m famous for it”.
“We’re going to have an immigration breather… only bring in the people we need, not the people who need us,” he said, to applause and a “hear-hear” from the crowd.
Prior to the meeting, attendee Warwick Chandler said he was keeping an open mind and was attending all of Grey Power’s political events.
“I want some straight-forward answers,” Chandler said.
He was interested to hear what Peters had to say, given he’d been in politics a long time.
“What’s worrying me most is the open-door policy for immigration,” he said.
Another attendee, said he didn’t want to be named, and had just come to “understand the policies”.