Election 2023: National makes play for student vote while Greens promise plan to return stolen land to Māori

There are 89 sleeps until the election and the parties and policies are starting to fly.

National on Monday made a play for the student vote by changing Kiwisaver rules so it can be used for rental bonds while the Greens promised a plan to give all stolen land back to Māori.

Scraping together savings for a rental bond can be a struggle for some students.

The Nats are looking for their vote.

"We’re going to let people aged under 30 use their KiwiSaver balance to pay for their bond for accommodation," said housing spokesperson Chris Bishop.

The median rent for a three-bedroom house is $775 a week - the maximum bond a landlord can charge is four weeks, so $3100.

"It’s a commonsense law change we think will make it easier for young people in particular to get together the quite large amounts of cash that young people struggle with," said Bishop.

While there would be a five-year cap on the scheme, Kiwisavers borrowing from their investments will be worse off.

That's because of compounding interest. 

With a 6 percent interest rate, over that five years that $3100 would have grown to more than $4000 so that person could have lost more than $1000 worth of interest.

"They will lose that while it’s out of their KiwiSaver, that’s true," said Bishop. 

Labour's Chris Hipkins said: "It's just another example of National raiding KiwiSaver all of the time".

Bishop said: "It’s not mandatory, it’s an option, but we think it make a difference for some young people and some young people will choose to take it up."

Politicians flooding back to Parliament this week for the final stretch before the election and the policies are starting to fly thick and fast. 

As well as National’s KiwiSaver rental bond borrow, the Greens are promising to give tangata whenua their stolen land back.

They'd do that by repealing the deadline for treaty claims and investigating the extent to which land was taken from Māori.

"New Zealanders understand what fairness is," said Greens co-leader Marama Davidson. "New Zealanders understand that when something is taken, there needs to be redress. New Zealanders understand that when injustice has happened, there needs to be restoration."

As private land, which was originally taken from tangata whenua, comes up for sale it would first be offered to iwi and hapu, and if they want it, the Crown would negotiate to buy it.

"What we are not setting out to do is create further injustice and breaches the way that Māori have been subjected to for 180 years," said Davidson.

National's Christopher Luxon doesn't support the policy.

"I think it's incredibly divisive. We all signed up in this country to treaty settlements. It's important that they come to a close. I would like to see them closed by 2030. I don't support anything in that Green policy."

Labour leader Chris Hipkins said the treaty settlement process is a "full and final settlement process".

"I have no intention of reopening that."

But the Greens say it's a priority, arguing you can't be tangata whenua without whenua.