General Election Campaign
Auckland, July 16, 2017
New Zealanders are asking themselves the obvious question – will we have a stable government.
Political stability will be what the National Party tries to argue in this election that they represent.
Well, the world’s most stable, unsinkable ship was the Titanic, until it sank.
- Is there anything stable about Nick Smith’s housing policy?
- Is there anything stable regarding our First Freedom – the freedom to be secure in our homes and businesses, and on our streets?
- What is stable about National’s policing policy when the police are short-handed everywhere.
- What is stable about a society with worrying mental health issues, as Mike King pointed out – what is stable about a system where one has to prove they are suicidal to even access the little services that are available?
- What is stable about an economy when over 130,000 cannot even get one hour’s work, when 92,000 young people are not in education, training or employment? Where another 100,000 are desperately seeking more work hours?
- What is stable about an economy with the most volatile currency in the whole wide world?
- What is stable about an economy where imports way exceed exports, or where manufacturing is declining?
- What is stable about an economy when the level of home ownership is the lowest in 63 years, or where Maori home ownership has declined by a massive 38%?
- What is stable about an economy when hundreds of GPs write to the government saying they cannot get a lunch break, they are so overloaded. And where so many district health boards are in debt?
- What is stable about an economy where education sees kids packed into libraries, corridors or worse for their lessons?
- Or students leaving university with more debt and no job than their parents with a job?
- What is stable in an economy that signs up to the Paris Agreement and paying $1400 million a year offshore when we could fix our climate change obligations back here all by ourselves?
- What is stable about a government that is converting railways from electricity back to diesel, and shutting down lines everywhere, preferring roads instead?
This government wreaks of instability from the top all the way down to Todd Barclay.
When we launched our Campaign for the Regions Tour bus around the country, we settled on the slogan, ‘Together For New Zealand.’
Since then the National Party has adopted the slogan ‘Let’s Get Together.’
But not a word about what you are going to get when you get together.
And then the Greens launched their slogan, ‘Great Together.’ On the question of great – what, when, how, where – not a syllable, not a sound, not a mutter, not a murmur.
And Labour’s slogan, ‘Let’s have a fresh approach.’
We chose ‘“Together for New Zealand’ to tell the regions when we get back they are getting into every area of thinking in Wellington, but it is not our slogan for this election.
This country is headed for a political upset.
What is happening in New Zealand is that people have simply had a gutsful, where the poor have been bypassed and the middle-class have been left behind.
People are sick of worrying about bills, or rather their inability to meet them.
They are sick of the feeling of just being swept along by life – we have middle-class families barely treading water, let alone getting ahead.
They want to know why as working men and women they are so damn poor, and why so many ‘shiny bums’ in Wellington are not doing anything to help them.
They are really brassed off at having worked for over 45 years to find their Super stretched to meet their very modest expectations.
They want someone not afraid to speak out and say the things that need to be said and do the things that need to be done.
They want someone to keep other parties honest, who actually cares about New Zealand.
They have had too many governments of late that have not been straight with Kiwis.
They have had enough of political parties that are just simply out of touch.
The 33-year-old model of Douglas and Richardson is utterly broken.
These two promised to work, not just for a few, but the many.
Then they barely managed to talk the talk – but they could not walk the walk and neither can the rest of them.
Who really believes that the National Party is going to stand up to privileged few?
When they represent them, when they are funded by them, when they are the mouthpieces of them?
And out of the crypt from 2005, they have got the Brethren back praying for them.
Home ownership in New Zealand is the lowest it has been in 63 years.
We are building fewer homes now than we built in 1974.
State homes have been sold off without replacement.
And they are paying hundreds of millions a year to private landlords for rentals.
Instead of investing in state or private housing they subsidise private landlords.
The Minimum Wage
National is the Robin Hood party in reverse.
They are taking off the poor to give to the rich, many of whom are foreigners.
Under National we are a country that does not invest in its people and itself. Under them our country will have given up.
What sort of government is National?
What sort of a Government allows an unprecedented flood of migrants running at a net 73,000 a year?
What sort of government allows in a tsunami of low skilled immigrants and puts their interests first?
What sort of government allows massive population growth from immigration when public services are already grossly overloaded and stretched to breaking point?
What sort of government allows a housing crisis that not only threatens the financial stability of the country but also has killed the home ownership prospects of most young Kiwis?
What sort of government would destroy the liveability and quality of life of Auckland in its obsession with massive population growth?
What sort of government would deliberately use the trick of mass immigration to inflate GDP growth numbers while concealing the enormous costs this influx imposes on ordinary New Zealanders?
Government of the elite
What sort of government has happily seen the sale of hundreds of thousands of hectares of New Zealand land into foreign ownership along with the sale of many other valuable property and business assets offshore?
What sort of government has not lifted a finger over nine years to reduce the 95% foreign ownership of the New Zealand banking sector – with the huge outflow of profits and dividends this entails?
The answer to these pertinent questions is plain.
We have a government that works only for the elite few – not for you!
We have a government that always puts the short-term profits and greed of its cronies ahead of the interests of New Zealanders as a whole.
We have a government that serves the globalization agenda of its mates in big corporates and international business
Some of us can remember when we governments that took their role as stewards and guardians of New Zealand’s collective interests seriously.
Unlike Bill English and his mates, a responsible government
· Works in the interests of the country as a whole.
· Does not fabricate the facts and deceive the public about its real motives and agenda.
· Informs the public of its policies in an open and straightforward way.
· Looks to the long term and the many, not just the short term advantage and benefit of the few.
These are not unreasonable expectations.
These are not pie-in-the sky ideals.
This is not an unrealistic fantasy.
Because anything less does a grave disservice to current and future generations of New Zealanders.
That is a standard of government that New Zealand First holds to.
We are asking New Zealanders to think for a moment.
Not about support, but about trust.
When did they last have a leader, they could actually trust.
Not just to run the country but who could actually be trusted.
The way you trust a friend to pick your kids up and take them to Saturday sport, or someone, when you are away, knows where you hide your house key.
Where trust is unreserved and you are glad you know that person.
Tell me, did you ever feel that way about John Key, Bill English, Steven Joyce or Judith Collins or Paula Bennett or Nick Smith or Simon Bridges?
In New Zealand First, we know trust has to be earned.
The Greens and Labour
It has emerged that the Greens’ attack on me was not a surprise to their Memorandum of Understanding partner.
What the Greens co-leader’s outburst confirms is that there are Greens and Labour members who actually want to curb, curtail and silence views they don’t agree with.
New Zealand First’s policy is clear
· To stand for a sensible immigration policy is not racist.
· To stand for equality before the law for all New Zealanders is not racist.
· To stand for free and open discussion of the issues facing all New Zealanders is not racist.
Who is the Real Racist Here?
If it is not migrants who are driving down wages – then it is employers that exploit them and politicians who defend them in the cause of a low-wage economy.
If it is not migrants that have helped cause a housing crisis – then the blame must lie with the government and politicians that failed to first build houses for them to come to.
If our health and education services are not under stress because of migrants – then it must be governments and politicians who failed to invest in both to ensure those services were available when they came here.
So, who is the real racist?
Those politicians who did not give a rat’s derriere as to what environment immigrants were walking into to.
Can one of these other parties and politicians show us just one report they prepared on Migrant Impact before they flooded the country?
A Flavour of New Zealand First policies
All our policies are about protecting and promoting the wider national interest and improving the lives of ordinary New Zealanders who are the great majority.
Let us mention just some of our policies to show how we will get New Zealand back on track.
Bill English goes around boasting that people want to come to New Zealand because we are a growing economy. Much of the world is a hell hole.
Talk about post-truth politics!
English is brazenly trying to con the public.
New Zealand has a superficially growing economy – but only because of massive population growth through immigration!
NZ First will drastically reduce net immigration to a sensible level. That means going from National’s net 73,000 level to well below what Labour wants (40,000 to 50,000 a year) to around 10,000.
And that is a common-sense number that would still allow New Zealand’s genuine skills shortages to be met
NZ First will put the brakes on the wholesale flogging off of our land and other sources of wealth to foreigners.
We will turn the Overseas Investment Office from meaningless window dressing – from a toothless poodle – into a real watchdog with real teeth.
Under NZ First, foreign investment will mean just that – new investment in productive assets not just the transfer of ownership from New Zealand into foreign hands
And NZ First will begin the long overdue process of bringing the banking sector back into New Zealand ownership
Having almost all of the banking sector in foreign ownership is a crippling burden on the NZ economy as our wealth floods overseas
As a first step, we will make Kiwibank the government’s official trading bank. It is absurd that a foreign bank (Westpac) should be clipping the ticket on all the New Zealand government’s business and financial transactions.
In New Zealand First, we say what we think, we are not afraid to speak out.
We have a voice and we use it.
Political correctness is threatening free speech in New Zealand
It aims to shut down debate and we are living in an age when seemingly everyone is offended.
We live in age of hypersensitive political correctness and we constantly see quotes of people saying, “I am offended” and playing the “hurt feelings card.”
Whatever happened to sticks and stones can break my bones but words can never hurt me?
You have an opinion, do not be afraid to share it.
Do not let anyone tell you that your opinion is not valid because it is not acceptable to the PC brigade.
We are sick to death of New Zealanders with legitimate concerns around immigration, or one law for all being called racist or bad, or that their views are not valid.
We are none of those things. And you are going to hear them every day until September 23, 2017.
The age of New Zealanders being told to shut up because of their views are not popular in some quarters are over.
Who are these people who view us this way and what makes them so high and mighty?
Who appointed them judge? Well nobody actually.
What is clear is that these people think they are better than us
These “shiny bums” in Wellington and latte sippers in Auckland, who think people in the regions, the middle class and blue collar New Zealanders, are thick because they do not think like them.
You know, these people who think a BA in sociology studies entitles you to more opinions than a tradeswoman or tradesman?
A long way back in 1867, the Maori Representation Act introduced the four Maori seats.
Land ownership was tied to voting rights and back then the Maori Land Court was given five years to sort out land title for Maori – Whereupon the Maori seats would expire.
The Act and the seats were extended, and the extended again, this time indefinitely and the rest, as they say, is history.
Since 1867, all the way into the early 1980s only four Maori ever got to Parliament; not in Maori seat.
In 1986, the Royal Commission on the electoral system recommended that the Maori seats should be abolished, should MMP be adopted.
Today I see a numberof Maori in Parliament who are the match for anyone else there.
And their combination of political skills will place them in the elite in Parliament.
Today, as we look at the state of Maoridom, we see that the four things Maori want:
A safe, affordable home; An easily accessible health system; An education system with escalators onto which any child can step, and go as far as they wish; And, First World jobs and incomes
These four things everybody wants.
These four things are for so many Maori, what they want, yet have not got.
The reason, in short, is the burgeoning treaty industry that Parliament has become, the preoccupation of an elite group of Maori, at the expense of the great majority of Maori.
Hence, these four needs are gathering dust on the table of recent Maori history.
Increased Maori Representation
MMP was adopted effectively from 1996 and the increase in Maori representation has been dramatic as the royal commission said it would be.
In 2014, 22% of MPs identified as Maori.
With the arrival of Ria Bond MP from Invercargill that percentage is greater now.
But what is happening with the Maori vote?
Maori are voting with their feet and leaving the Maori roll in droves. Today, a majority of those entitled to be on the Maori roll are not they are on the general roll.
The fact is that Maori do not need to be told that they are not good enough to be equal, or that some-how they should be handicapped, that some-how they should be pigeon holed.
That is a terrible message to send young Maori.
In the future that is coming, and it is here already, Maori do not need the Maori seats. They do not need tokenism.
NZ First and Maori
NZ First will be attacked on this but the attack will come from hypocrites. If it is from National, that will be because hypocrisy is their middle name.
If it is from Labour, it will be because they do not have a single Maori in their top 15,
If it is from the Greens it is because as political scientists are pointing out, they are largely white and do not have a Pacific person until you get to 19.
In other words, the “do as I say, not as I do,” crowd.
They are all tip and no iceberg.
They need to start practising what they preach.
I am therefore announcing today that the next government we belong to will offer a binding referendum mid-term to do two things:
Retain or Abolish the Maori seats.
And there will be second referendum on the same day and that will be to Maintain or Reduce the size of Parliament to 100 MPs.
The last time a question on this issue was put to the New Zealand people 82% supported it. When it is next put to the people it will be for a commitment for it to be binding.
We are nine weeks out from the election.
A sea-change event that will change New Zealand for the next 30 years.
In the coming nine weeks, we will lay out our policy and manifesto in the ‘Battle for New Zealand.’
This country has often been a world leader, in economics and social equality, but not for a very long time.
We in NZ First do not accept this decline, and to use the analogy of another great battle we will have every plane in the air to save this country’s future.
That means tens of thousands of New Zealand First supporters working not for themselves, but for their family, their community, and their country.
I want you to go home to your electorates, recharged for the trying electoral confrontation that is coming.
Be under no illusion the money the privileged and the special interests will do everything to stop us and use every tactic to stop do so, by fair means or foul.
Be uplifted that their response, in a perverse way, will be a compliment.
But our message to them, to quote another great fighter is, “If you even dream you are going to win, then you should wake up and apologise.”
Winston Peters is elected Member of Parliament from Northland and Leader of the New Zealand First Party. The above is the speech that he delivered at the New Zealand First Convention held at the Vodafone Events Centre, in Manukau Auckland this afternoon (Sunday, July 16, 2017).
Read our analysis on Mr Peters’ speech coming up shortly.
1. Winson Peters speaking at the NZ First Convention today (July 16)
2. Anne Degia-Pala, NZ First Candidate for Kelston, at the Conference
3. Winston Peters with the Press after the Conference