Todd Muller commits to National's pledge to raise superannuation age, bring back oil and gas exploration

New Party leader Todd Muller is sticking to National's pledge to bring back oil and gas exploration and to raise the retirement age to 67. 

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Mr Muller rolled former leader Simon Bridges last week. Source: Q+A

The Bay of Plenty MP rolled former leader Simon Bridges last week, but says the party has not changed its stance on previous promises.

"That is absolutely National Party policy," Mr Muller told TVNZ1's Q+A with Jack Tame, when asked about the Government's 2018 policy to stop issuing new offshore oil and gas exploration permits.

The ban did not extend to current permits.

"I have a strong view the New Zealand economy needs to decarbonise over the next 20 to 30 years and I think that is not in opposition to capturing natural gas, which can assist to other centuries to reduce their emissions profile."

Mr Muller was asked how, if National were in Government, his party would pay for the bill racked up by Covid-19. 

"We do not see tax increases need to be the pathway forward," Mr Muller said. 

"We don't quibble with the fact that this is a time in our history where money needs to be spent. But (the Government is) not spending it in the right areas.

"They are more focused on people who have lost their jobs, which is understandable... but they are less focused on keeping businesses afloat."

Mr Muller said the wage subsidy helped with elements of labour costs, "but it hasn't dealt with the wider array of costs businesses have to confront". 

The Government earlier this month announced the $50 billion Covid-19 response and recovery fund, consisting of a $4 billion business support package that includes a targeted $3.2 billion to extend the wage subsidy scheme.

It also brought in the Small Business Cashflow Loan Scheme, which was interest free if paid back within a year.

"With our approach we would put cash in the hands of business today," Mr Muller said. 

When pushed on if he would spend more or less than the current Government, Mr Muller said "we'd be spending money, I'm not going to quibble over more or less". 

Mr Muller said he would stick to National's promise to raise the age of superannuation up to 67, starting in 2037.