'It's not Government policy' - Jacinda Ardern distances Labour from NZ First’s proposed immigrant values bill

Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern took steps today to distance herself from a controversial proposal by New Zealand First to subject immigrants to Kiwi values pledges.

Your playlist will load after this ad

“It’s not Government policy,” the PM told Breakfast today. “It’s not something the Labour Party would support.” Source: Breakfast

"It's not Government policy," she said on TVNZ1's Breakfast. "It's simply a New Zealand First bill.

"And it's not something that the Labour Party would support or that the Government would adopt. So it's really up to New Zealand First to pursue it if they choose."

The proposal, which was voted on Sunday at New Zealand First's annual conference, would include a commitment to respect freedom of religion, legal sexual preferences, gender equality and the right to consume alcohol.

"They're in our turf now and they've got to respect our rules," one party member told 1 NEWS at the Tauranga conference.

Another added: "Nothing's worse than going into a shop and going to the person behind the counter talking foreign language to you."

But even within New Zealand First, some worried over the weekend that "there could be racist implications" taken from the vote.

Your playlist will load after this ad

Some party members say the controversial bill is racist, but it has Winston Peters' support. Source: 1 NEWS

The party hasn't revealed the specifics of the bill, and Ms Ardern said today that she hasn't seen the full text either.

She emphasised that it's a long shot the proposal will make it to debate in Parliament anytime soon.

"It's a member's bill," she explained. "Every member of Parliament, it's their prerogative to put into a ballot a bill. If it gets drawn out of the ballot...then it gets debated by Parliament.

"This is obviously a bill that a New Zealand First member has drafted. It's not yet in the ballot. It hasn't been drawn."

Ms Ardern said she also tried recently to describe New Zealand values - during her speech last week to the United Nations General Assembly.

"You know we're a small nation, but we really do see ourselves as playing an important place in the world," she recounted saying. "We use our voice on things when we see injustice. We're very fair minded, we're pragmatic, we're innovative.

"There are values each of us might see and feel differently, so it's often quite hard to put one cookie cutter around New Zealand values. But I think those, at least, are the things we probably agree on."

Your playlist will load after this ad

The Opposition leader says Winston Peters is trying to distract from the “dysfunction junction” in Government. Source: Breakfast

Ms Ardern's statement comes one day after Opposition leader Simon Bridges offered sharp criticism of Deputy Prime Minister Winston Peters and party's values proposal.

"I think it's Winston looking for distractions," he said on TVNZ1's Breakfast, describing the proposal as "headline grabbing nonsense".