Larger role for Kiwibank; Immigration limited to 10,000; no foreign ownership of land
New Zealand First Leader Winston Peters pulled his punches at his Party’s National Convention here today, saying that if given an opportunity to be a part of the next government, New Zealand would be a different place.
Addressing the delegates to the Convention, he outlined a number of proposals that covered almost all major issues confronting New Zealand; they included banking and finance, immigration, employment, foreign investment in property and environment.
Those of us who have known Mr Peters for long, especially when he bargained with Helen Clark to form the second-term government in 2002, would know that he does not issue empty statements.
Those who believe that New Zealand is in a chaotic situation created by unrestricted flow of migrants and foreign ownership of ‘almost everything’ would have found his forthright speech music to ears.
“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,” he said.
Mr Peters believes in speaking out even if it is unfashionable.
“At 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,” he said.
Mr Peters has since long been a strong advocate of ‘taking migrants the country needs,’ not those ‘who come here as per their choice.’ He has often been accused of being xenophobic, migrant-basher and even as a ‘hypocrite.’
However, there is growing feeling among people that New Zealand should have a well-planned immigration strategy and not allow people just to fill ‘jobs that New Zealanders do not want to do.’
“What sort of a Government allows an unprecedented flood of migrants running at a net 73,000 a year?” he asked of the National government.
“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,” he said.
Mr Peters has proposed restrictions on foreign ownership of property saying that they have contributed to the erosion of local ownership.
His speech (which we have posted in its entirety here) was also directed toward the National-Government’s action or otherwise in the housing sector.
“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,” he said.
Mr Peters also spoke about reducing the total number of MPs to 100 (enforced if a referendum approves), eliminate special seats for Maori (since more Maori occupy seats from general electorate), strict enforcement of Employment Law to eradicate exploitation of labour.
Battle for New Zealand
Winston Peters is clearly on warpath and no one has ever taken him lightly; certainly not this time. He has brought back credibility to his Party. His views on some issues may not be popular, but he is not known to play to the gallery. If the current trends are any indication, New Zealand First may be in a place of importance – not just in forming the next government – but in leading the Opposition.
Political parties elsewhere- including India, the largest democracy in the world, where the Congress Party has been humiliated and reduced to insignificance in the nation’s Parliament – have suffered worse defeats.
Mr Peters is engaging in what he calls, ‘The Battle of New Zealand.”
The Battle can change the face of New Zealand.
Winson Peters speaking at the NZ First Convention on July 16.