New Zealand First Annual Meeting

The general election will be held on Saturday, September 23rd this year. That is just 10 weeks from yesterday and many of us have not yet decided who we are going to vote for.

The National Party has been the government for the last 9 years, most of that time with John Key as Prime Minister. Now the Prime Minister is Bill English. National has the support of the Maori Party and United Future.

The main opposition party is the Labour Party with Andrew Little as the leader. Two other important parties held their Annual Meeting in Auckland this weekend, New Zealand First and the Green Party.

New Zealand First, with Winston Peters as leader, thinks that immigration numbers are too high. He would like to see the number of immigrants reduced from 72,000 a year to 10,000. In fact, that number – 72,000 – is the number of long-term arrivals in New Zealand in the past year and that includes international students, young people on working holiday visas and workers on one-year or two-year visas. It also includes New Zealanders returning home. Of course, it is true that these people all need somewhere to live, they travel to work on roads and put more pressure on infra-structure. Auckland and Queenstown, in particular, are having difficulty coping with the extra numbers.

New Zealand First would also like to get rid of the 7 Maori seats in Parliament and also reduce the number of MPs in Parliament from 120 to 100. Winston Peters said that having separate Maori seats gives the wrong message by suggesting Maori are not good enough to be equal.

New Zealand First currently has 11 MPs in Parliament. An opinion poll taken in the first week of July showed both New Zealand First and the Greens had 11% support when people were asked which party they would vote for.

Next post: the Greens

Vocabulary

• General election – voting to elect Members of Parliament; it is held every 3 years
• MP – Member of Parliament
• Opposition party – the party which has the second highest number of MPs
• infrastructure – includes things like roads, houses, water, sewerage, public transport, electricity
• cope (v) – manage something that is difficult
• get rid of (idiom) – remove, throw away
• currently (adv) – right now
• opinion poll – often by phone, people are asked who they would vote for






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