National Party to have a new focus on poverty - Luxon

Source: 1News

National leader Christopher Luxon says his party should care about people, not just the economy, in the first caucus retreat under his leadership.

Meeting in Queenstown, Luxon said they had "reset the party”.

"What we have to demonstrate to the New Zealand people is that we care deeply about them,” he said.

In contrast to the party’s usual sell of economic acumen, the National leader said he saw poverty as a priority.

“We care deeply about the vulnerable and the poor that are consigned to welfare for the rest of their lives,” Luxon said. “It just can't be that we are the party for the economic stuff.”

During Luxon's media conference, he was questioned by 1News about what National's policy was to pull people out of poverty. The party leader said it was work that the party would "get into''.

"We have ideas and I'm not ready to talk about them publicly, but what I can tell you is that we're doing the thinking around that, and actually saying what is the best way and the good way to get people into work from welfare."

"There's a whole bunch of scenarios, you could look at around earned income tax credits," Luxon said.

The leader also suggested that his MPs put their phones down so that they could talk more with people face-to-face.

"I have a new year's resolution to get off the echo chamber that is Twitter,” MP Chris Bishop said.

National’s caucus retreat is happening after the release of the latest 1News Kantar Public Poll which found new leader Christopher Luxon edging ahead of Jacinda Ardern in overall approval ratings.

Read more: National rises, Ardern’s preferred PM result drops

The poll also showed the National Party gaining four points since the last poll, with Labour in a steady decline since the last general election.

Speaking to reporters, Luxon said: "We cannot be an old, crusty National Party.”