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Opposition leaders scorn John Key's record

NZ Newswire logoNZ Newswire 6/12/2016

Opposition party leaders have heaped scorn and derision on Prime Minister John Key's track record.

They called a snap debate in parliament on Tuesday to rake through his eight years in office and deliver their verdicts.

NZ First leader Winston Peters said being prime minister for eight years was "a significant achievement" but Mr Key's legacy had to be questioned.

"The housing crisis has steadily worsened, the massive flood of immigrants has shut out New Zealanders from the market," he said.

"Poverty has become entrenched in New Zealand, and I want John Key to look at the homeless, the people in despair, and ask what they think."

Labour leader Andrew Little said voters put National in office believing Mr Key would lead the country for three years.

"Now that is in the hands of the National Party caucus ... but no matter what happens one thing will remain unchanged - too many New Zealanders are missing out," he said.

"Health services are not keeping up with population growth, 46,000 New Zealanders have been told they need hospital treatment but they've been turned away.

"There is a freeze on education funding, teachers are struggling to do their jobs ... the crime rate is rising while police morale declines."

Green Party co-leader Metiria Turei said Mr Key had never put families first.

"He refused to put their needs ahead of the wealthy ... thousands and thousands are worse off now than they ever were before," she said.

"And now National will continue with its evil programmes that deny the right of families and children to be civilised in this country."

Cabinet minister Gerry Brownlee described Ms Turei's speech as "nasty garbage".

"They called this debate and then pushed policies which have been roundly rejected for the last three elections," he said.

"They have no moment when they are in the present ... and if they are going to go into government they should stop insulting 50 per cent of the people (who supported National)."

Deputy Prime Minister Bill English, who wants to take over from Mr Key, said Mr Peters had delivered "a tirade of bitterness" .

"John Key's legacy is that our children, our families, now look at the rest of the world and prefer to live in New Zealand," he said.

"His way of being a politician was working with other people and conducting himself with gracious consideration - every single day I have worked with him."

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