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NZ First against new parliament building

NZ NewswireNZ Newswire 13/09/2016

Reducing the number of parliamentarians would mean there is sufficient room for Members of Parliament without having to build new buildings, New Zealand First says.

Party leader Winston Peters has rejected claims opposition parties are supporting replacing Bowen House, saying it "ill behoves parliamentarians to consider their own comforts" when there are 40,000 homeless Kiwis and young people are struggling to buy their first homes.

He accused Speaker David Carter of an "11th hour epiphany" on Tuesday when he said Parliament should own its own premises, and rejected Mr Carter's claims to Fairfax that he believed opposition parties supported the idea.

Mr Peters admitted New Zealand First held confidential meetings with Parliamentary Services, Mr Carter and Leader of the House Gerry Brownlee last year, but said they made their position clear.

"However, that confidentiality has been broken by statements in the media that Opposition parties are keen on the new building, which we are not," Mr Peters said.

He said New Zealand didn't need 120 parliamentarians, and reducing the number of representatives to 100 would leave plenty of room in existing buildings.

Bowen House, which provides office space for MPs and parliamentary support staff, is leased by the government for more than $5 million a year.

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