ACT is promising to make it easier for foreign skilled workers to get into New Zealand as the parties were out in force today pitching for business votes at a finance debate.
With the economy in freefall, fighting for the business vote is high on the agenda, but not before National's Paul Goldsmith delivered a special welcome for Winston Peters.
“This could be the last time you get to see him live, it's a bit like Elton John's farewell tour, so let's make the most of it,” Goldsmith said.
The audience at the debate, which included Labour’s Phil Twyford, Chlöe Swarbrick of the Greens and ACT leader David Seymour, was eager to know what the parties were serving up to businesses struggling post-Covid.
ACT today released its suite of SME policies, promising to make it easier for foreign skilled workers to come to New Zealand.
The party is also pledging a freeze on increases to the minimum wage and a GST reduction from 15 to 10 per cent for one year.
Seymour says lots of businesses need the foreign skilled workers.
“We've heard their concerns about capability, cashflow, employment law, I think we can make this an easier place to grow a business,” Seymour said.
Peters was doing his best to try to brush NZ First’s Serious Fraud Office saga aside and finally delivering its policy manifesto, promising a return to 90-day trials, continuing the Provincial Growth Fund and establishing a ministry for works.
“More and more New Zealanders are adjusting to living with job insecurity.”
NZ First policy was unashamedly pro trade and pro-business, Peters said.
Twyford defended Labour’s Wage Subsidy Scheme while in Government through the Covid lockdowns, adding that his party would continue to support people.
“There wasn’t a playbook for Covid-19 but when it mattered, our Government stepped in.”
It wasn’t obvious where NZ goes from her, according to Greens’ Auckland Central candidate Swarbrick.
She said New Zealand is currently facing three long-term crises – the climate crisis, the biodiversity crisis and the crisis of deepening poverty across New Zealand.
“They must be solved together,” she said.
“Why not address all these challenges at the same time? We don’t have to pretend we have to get back onto business as usual.”
Goldsmith reiterated the priorities of National’s fiscal plan - tax, jobs and infrastructure.
“[There’s a] Very, very clear distinction – Labour and Green want to put up taxes during a recession. I also thought love was voluntary, but tax is not so voluntary.”
“We are the party focused on getting things done. “