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Packed out crowd for Ardern’s speech to Grey Power Nelson

An estimated 450 people turned out to hear Jacinda Ardern deliver a speech to Grey Power Nelson on Wednesday as part of the Labour leader’s whistlestop tour of the city.

Extra seats had to be brought in for the meeting at Annesbrook Church in Stoke, with the crowd by far the biggest of a series of Grey Power meetings with political leaders on the campaign trail in Nelson.

Last month 260 people turned out for the Prime Minister, National leader Bill English, and 220 for NZ First leader Winston Peters.

Loud cheers and whooping greeted Ardern as she entered the church.

Unlike the previous two events, the crowd was not all grey heads.

Younger voters greeted Ardern as she entered, and there were families and children standing at the back of the room.

Earlier on Wednesday morning, Ardern visited Nelson College for Girls, where she discussed issues from exams and career aspirations to sanitary products with students in the library.

Ardern is scheduled to visit Tahunanui Community Centre and Playgroup/Pre-school on Muritai Street at midday, where she will answer questions from the media.

She then heads to the West Coast, with her first appointment there at the Pike River Memorial at 4:30pm.

Nelson Grey Power hasn’t ‘had enough’ of Winston Peters

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”.

 – Stuff

PM to face questions at Nelson Grey Power election meetings

Prime Minister Bill English is on Tuesday scheduled to be the first leader of a main political party to face 2017 pre-election questions at a planned series of Nelson Grey Power-hosted events.

Nelson Grey Power treasurer George Truman said the public was welcome to attend the election meeting at Annesbrook Church from 2pm, where questions would be accepted from the floor.

Members of Nelson Grey Power had been asked to provide written questions, which the National Party leader was due to receive when he arrived. There would also be a “roving mic” for queries from the audience.

On Thursday, it would be the turn of New Zealand First leader Winston Peters from 3pm, followed by Jacinda Ardern, of the Labour Party, on September 13 from 10.30am. All meetings were scheduled to be held at Annesbrook Church on Saxton Rd West, Stoke.

Truman said Green Party co-leader James Shaw had also been invited to a meeting and was keen to attend but a date was still to be determined.

With 8000 members, Nelson Grey Power had the largest membership of all Grey Power associations in New Zealand, Truman said.

There would be a gold coin collection at the door.