Hannah Tamaki calls for 97 percent immigration cut

Political novice Hannah Tamaki has called for immigration to be cut by 97 percent.

But in an interview on The AM Show on Friday morning, Tamaki appeared to have little idea on how many people actually come and go from New Zealand each year.

"I know that we have an immigration gate, doorway - I'd love to see that narrowed down a wee bit," the new Coalition NZ leader told host Duncan Garner.

"I actually don't know the figures but say if it was 2000 a year - I'd love it to come down to 200 a year so New Zealanders get jobs, so New Zealanders get houses."

Garner told her in recent years, it's been more like 70,000 net.

"Okay, well then people may not like me but I'd love it to be dropped right down to say 2000," she replied.

Tamaki announced on Thursday she'll be running for Parliament as leader of the Destiny Church-backed party Coalition NZ.

Both Judith Collins from National and Labour's Kris Faafoi weren't keen on Tamaki's immigration proposal.

"That would be a bit harsh," Collins told The AM Show. "I wouldn't be here if it weren't for the immigration of my ancestors."

"Likewise," chipped in Faafoi, whose family is from Tokelau.

Hannah Tamaki.
Hannah Tamaki. Photo credit: The AM Show

Tamaki's justification was there aren't enough houses for New Zealanders.

"Are they built? We've been promised houses, where are those houses? ... Why aren't they doing something?"

While the Government's flagship KiwiBuild programme is struggling to get off the ground, there has actually been a surge in residential building consents. Auckland had more dwellings completed and consents issued in 2018 than ever before. In the year to March 2019, consents nationwide were up 10 percent on the year before, according to Statistics NZ.

The Government last year actually made it easier for construction firms to hire workers from overseas because there aren't enough Kiwis to keep up with the demand for new builds.

Collins said if Tamaki wants to have any chance at getting into Parliament, she'd be better off focusing on what she and her church are best-known for - social issues.

"My advice would be, stick to one or possibly three policies and only have those policies for a small start-up party, and then know those policies inside-out... It's a tough business, and unfortunately, if you're coming into it from quite a well-known base in terms of your views on social issues, that's what you're going to get asked about."

Judith Collins and Kris Faafoi.
Judith Collins and Kris Faafoi. Photo credit: The AM Show

Faafoi said if she's going to tackle tough issues like immigration and housing, she needs to do her research.

"You can't turn up here and say you want to cut immigration down to 2000 and not understand what that actually means."

Coalition partners for Coalition NZ

Christian-based parties haven't had much luck getting into Parliament in recent decades. The last attempt, but Colin Craig's Conservative Party, stalled at 4 percent in 2014 - just below the 5 percent threshold required for getting into Parliament without an electorate seat.

But if Coalition NZ somehow got over the line, Tamaki hinted she'd lean towards National.

"I suppose by the time we get our policies by the end of August, it would be the ones that would fit closest to that. I don't know if Labour would like us. I think I'm more centre, and I'm probably more centred in my position... I really love Judith."

Collins reciprocated the affection, revealing the pair used to be neighbours.

"I know she comes from a very good place and a good heart."