Thanking loyal supporters for helping resurrect his party, NZ First leader Winston Peters has returned to hard-line immigration policies in his first major speech since the election.
Speaking to the party's annual convention in Palmerston North on Sunday, Mr Peters praised voters who sent his party back to parliament with eight MPs in last year's election, following three years on the sidelines after a humiliating defeat in 2008 - a period in which, he says, the Labour-led opposition let National "get away with murder".
"The first thing we had to do was to put some steel into the heart of the opposition, and the psychological impact of our return cannot be underestimated," Mr Peters said.
He attacked the government's asset sales plans and sale of the Crafar family farms to a Chinese buyer, promising strict new restrictions on foreign land ownership and changes to immigrants' entitlements if his party joins the next government.
"A young couple from China ... can bring in four elderly parents who don't have to work here in the 10 years before they turn 65, yet they will all receive full New Zealand super," Mr Peters said.
"They will also have access to free healthcare and all other welfare entitlements that New Zealanders work hard for all their lives."
Mr Peters says his party is "looking very closely" at that issue.
"We believe the welfare of New Zealanders comes first."
Mr Peters said NZ First will not support raising the age of superannuation entitlement "now", but did not say whether that position could change in future years as pension costs blow out beyond 2020.He also pledged that if NZ First were in power, it would take government banking business off Australian-owned Westpac and give it to a locally owned bank, and keep manufacturing work onshore, instead of outsourcing to cheaper labour overseas.
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