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PM Christopher Luxon tells Mike Hosking he wouldn’t accept a National MP holding councillor’s role simultaneously

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Prime Minister Christopher Luxon says he would not accept one of his MPs simultaneously drawing salaries as an MP and a local councillor – as NZ First MP Jamie Arbuckle is doing. Arbuckle has kept his job as a Marlborough district councillor despite being elected to Parliament last year.

Speaking to Newstalk ZB’s Mike Hosking this morning, Luxon said NZ First leader Winston Peters was responsible for his own MPs – but “if it was a National Party person, it wouldn’t be acceptable to me”.

He did not directly answer a question over whether he would address that with Peters directly.

Luxon says he disputes some parts of the OECD report into New Zealand’s economy that came out yesterday, including its call for a capital gains tax – telling Hosking “We ain’t doing that.”

But he agreed with aspects of the report including improving the education system and increasing competition and deregulation.

He agreed there was a lot of work to do on foreign investment, with the OECD noting New Zealand’s rules were some of the most restrictive.

While the Fast Track Bill would help on that front, the Government would also be building its National Infrastructure Agency so it could attract foreign funding and financing for infrastructure.

Public-private partnerships were a key way to pull investments forward, he said.

”There’s a lot of big international investors out there that actually want to get consistent returns for their pension holders over time, and they’re looking for good solid returns, and those kinds of [infrastructure] projects are very attractive.”

The OECD report also criticised markets in New Zealand being controlled by a few key players. Luxon said the Government would be working hard on improving competition and removing red tape – pointing as an example to the recent change in building product regulations which will allow Australian-approved products to be used here, which he said would push down building costs.

Yesterday, the Government pledged to train 470 corrections officers and add a further 810 beds to Waikato’s Waikeria prison expansion as part of the $1.9 billion investment in the upcoming Budget.

After some confusion about the total beds that would mean for Waikeria, Police Minister Mark Mitchell’s office subsequently clarified that the 810 beds were additional to the 600 bed already planned for by the former Labour government. Waikeria already has 455 beds, so once the expansion was completed it would have a capacity of 1,865 beds.

The $1.9 billion in spending over years was $1.5 billion in new funding and $442 million in savings made as part of Corrections’ cost-savings exercise. That was as part of the Government’s savings exercise where agencies and departments are required to find 6.5 per cent or 7.5 per cent in spending cuts.

Luxon said restoring law and order was a government priority. “I’m sick of hearing stories about Kiwis who are the victims of attacks,” he said.

He said violent crime was up 33 per cent and retail crime had more than doubled since 2018. He said reducing the number of victims was how the government would measure its success, as set out in its public service targets.

Luxon set out steps taken already, including measures against gangs and three strikes. He said the approach to crime would be linked to social investment, to try to steer people away from the life of crime.

On Sunday night’s Ponsonby Road death, Luxon said it was a tragic set of circumstances but it would be inappropriate to comment further given the ongoing police investigation. He said he had only been briefed on what had been reported publicly.

Police are hunting for this man in relation to the fatal shooting in Ponsonby Rd on Sunday night. Photo / Supplied
Police are hunting for this man in relation to the fatal shooting in Ponsonby Rd on Sunday night. Photo / Supplied

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