The Herald reports:
Some of the Conservative Party’s key policies are so similar to New Zealand First that leader Colin Craig has been accused of plagiarism.
The two parties will outline their vision for New Zealand and their election plans this weekend at their annual meetings in Auckland.
The Conservatives have begun laying their election platform in a series of billboards and leaflet drops over the past month.
The four key planks of their campaign will be tougher penalties for criminals, a tax-free band below $20,000 of income, making referendums binding and scrapping Maori entitlements.
A few of their priorities so closely resembled New Zealand First’s manifesto that leader Winston Peters said they appeared to be stolen.
It is true that the Conservatives and NZ First have many similar policies – they are both competing for socially conservative and economically conservative voters. That’s not plagiarism, just a reality of where they are on the political spectrum.
Both parties want to end asset sales, stop the sale of farmland to foreigners, scrap the Emissions Trading Scheme and introduce tougher sentences for criminals.
Mr Craig told the Weekend Herald it was inevitable some of their policies would be similar because they were both competing for a similar pool of centrist voters. But he emphasised key points of difference.
Conservative is more radical on Maori issues, saying it will scrap the Maori parliamentary seats, repeal the foreshore and seabed legislation, and wind down the Waitangi Tribunal while not allowing any new claims.
New Zealand First says it is up to Maori to decide whether Maori seats remain.
Which is my policy also. Gulp.
Conservative is also more sceptical about climate change. Mr Craig has not prioritised reducing carbon emissions, while New Zealand First says it is important to switch to cleaner fuel and introduce environmental “bottom lines”
So some differences, but a lot in common. I suspect most voters will decide between them on the basis of what they think of their leaders.
Both parties are hardline on law and order issues. New Zealand First would introduce a 40-year minimum non-parole period for murder, and a “castle doctrine” law which allowed deadly use of firearms by homeowners against burglars.
40 years non parole is too much, even for me.