Security, Super, And Success
Rt Hon Winston Peters
RSA Hall, Studholme Street
12.00pm Monday, 24 June 2002
There is an election coming. A winter election. A winter election following one of the shortest Governments of your lives. There is no constitutional reason for this election being held now.
The scenario is clear: Labour wants to govern alone¡K.does that scare you?
It should. Remember 1984-1990 when they didn’t need anyone else?
Remember the asset sales? The hospital closures? The endless restructuring? The “great economic experiment’ that was supposed to make us all better off?
Remember what National did when they followed Labour and governed on their own?
Remember the surtax?
Can New Zealand afford more of the same?
So who can keep an eye on these old parties?
The Greens? They want to be in coalition but they threaten to bring the government down if they don’t get their way.
Jim Anderton? Jim has gone back to Labour in everything but party name. Then he will have had SEVEN different names since 1989: Labour, New Labour, Alliance, The Alliance in Government, the Progressive Coalition, Jim Anderton Progressive Coalition, and now again, Labour.
The Alliance will wither and die.
ACT need National to win if they are to hold any sway and their economic policies and financial backers should really frighten you.
So, when you think about it, deep in your hearts, ¡K¡Kyou really need Winston Peters and New Zealand First.
We may not win many electorates but your Party vote is your chance to invest in a better future for all New Zealanders.
Let me first remind you about what the Party has achieved in its short political life and then let me remind you of what we stand for. Among a long list of achievements in our short time in Government we are proud to list:
- Free doctors visits and prescriptions for children under six
- Low inflation and lower interest and exchange rates
- 500 additional frontline police
- pay parity for teachers
- removal of the superannuation surtax
- maintenance of retirement incomes
- nationwide targeted screening for hepatitis B
- an extra $252m for elective surgery, funding for 32,000 more operations
- increased minimum wage
- $1.5b additional education spending over three years and $55m for early education
- $1.5b additional funding to strengthen public health over three years having removed the profit motive and replaced CHEs with hospitals
- free influenza vaccines for the elderly
- stopped the privatisation of strategic assets
This election is about the sort of Government you want for the next three years.
It’s about your rights and the sort of country you want to live in:
- it’s about the right to walk safely down the street and be safe in our homes.
- it’s about the right to stop being swamped by a flood of immigrants.
- and it’s about the right of all New Zealanders to stand together as equals.
New Zealand First will be focusing on these three key issues.
The violent crime has to stop - the flood of migrants has to stop - and we have to stop the racially based policies that are creating two New Zealands.
Let’s deal with the issues of security and consider two matters which must surely concern you here in Morrinsville: law and order, and superannuation.
Law and Order
You sent a clear message to the Government at the last election that you wanted a crack down on crime.
Nobody in the Government heard you. They play with words on crime levels, clearance rates, percentages and perceptions but nothing has changed.
We have too much crime - too much violence. We have a generation of violent criminals who think nothing is sacred - not even human life itself.
Sadly, we are a country in which delivering pizza or working in a bank is a high-risk occupation. The rash of armed robberies being experienced throughout New Zealand, and including this weekend’s robbery of Tauranga’s Te Puna Tavern, are the very incidents the New Zealand First Law and Order plan is designed to confront.
It is imperative that the Police are given the dedicated resources to permit them to concentrate on robberies of this nature as they strike at the very heart of our communities’ basic security- and you in Morrinsville know that very well.
Fifteen armed robberies in the last week, in a country the size of New Zealand indicates that something is seriously wrong and current initiatives are simply failing to attack this issue at its core level. And the role of drugs in these mad crimes is increasing. Why would anyone consider decriminalising cannabis use when we are daily reminded of the desperation of criminal drug users? The young executioner in Auckland was getting money to feed his drug habit.
We have tried all the soft options - like putting the offenders first and making prisons into five star hotels.
It’s time for some tough love. And time for some tough discipline.
We have to address the underlying and root causes of delinquency - to instill self- discipline in our youngsters and to bring back into line those who have gone off the rails.
We must have a police force with the powers and equipment to do their job. We must have police officers back on our streets where they can be seen - and not just in a police car in the distance.
We must have just punishment for offenders and rehabilitation for those prepared to mend their ways.
For the vicious killers - the worst and most violent offenders - we will lock them up and keep them locked up. They do not deserve a second chance. The safety of our citizens comes first.
It is true that the devil finds mischief for idle hands to do.
We will introduce military or community service training for the young unemployed and for some first time offenders. This will foster discipline and self-esteem and bring order into their lives.
There will be no more soft options. The Government did not hear your message last time - but we heard you:
Can we fix it?
Yes we can!
Do you remember who removed the superannuation surtax?
Superannuation has always been a major issue for New Zealand First.
As you know there have been more twists and turns in superannuation policy than in the plots of an Agatha Christie novel.
But the New Zealand public is tired of games.
New Zealanders need to be able to plan their lives knowing where the State stands on pensions.
Because superannuation is about the very long term - decisions made now or not made will echo across future decades.
The adequacy of income in retirement is critically important to all New Zealanders, not just those who are actually receiving a pension today.
And the issues are becoming more, not less critical, as the demographic transition to a population with a much greater proportion of elderly gathers pace.
From now on we have to put common sense first.
Common sense dictated that we supported the New Zealand Superannuation Fund introduced by the present Government.
The Fund is not the perfect or ideal solution to superannuation
- all schemes have their limitations and drawbacks and this one is no exception.
Specifically, there is a need to introduce individuals accounts.
New Zealand First voted in support of the legislation setting up the Superannuation Fund because the time for indulging in endless theorising about the perfect superannuation scheme was past.
New Zealand First was not prepared to go along with further indecision and procrastination.
We wanted to see something in place - something to build on and improve.
Having got the Fund under way what do National, Act and the Greens now want to do?
You guessed it!
Their brand of brilliance is to scrap the Fund and have us start all over again.
In the area of pension security, common sense suggests that anyone who is approaching or over 50 would be daft to vote National, ACT or with the Greens.
Those parties want to abandon the progress that has been made on superannuation and cast the country back into to another decade of debate.
New Zealand First’s view is that there are three parts to a successful superannuation policy:
- First, ensuring that the elderly have the income they need to live in dignity and security
- Second, getting the economics of paying for pensions right so it is sustainable over the long term
- Third, building a superannuation scheme that addresses the underlying psychology of saving and retirement planning and not just the financial aspects.
Adequacy of Income
In relation to the adequacy of the public pension, New Zealand First will incrementally raise the base rate for New Zealand Superannuation for a married couple from 65% to 72.5% of the net average wage. (With a similar adjustment of rates for single people)
This is the level we see as a minimum to ensure all New Zealanders can expect to retire with dignity.
To maintain the adequacy of income provision we will:
- cement in place the age of entitlement commencing at 65 years
- ensure that the real purchasing power of the pension is preserved through appropriate indexing
- Facilitate the transition from the pay-as-we-go scheme through the cost smoothing mechanisms of the newly established Fund to a new save-as-we-go scheme
- Provide, on a pro rata age basis, that entitlements of superannuation at death will form part of the deceased estate - there will be no requirement to make repayments.
New Zealand First will put the Superannuation Fund to work in growing our own infrastructure and economy
We will use the Fund to give New Zealand a greatly expanded savings base.
To this end we will require the Fund managers to invest in New Zealand infrastructure and to assist the expansion of New Zealand industries and businesses.
We would only agree to offshore investment when the Fund grew too large for exclusive investment in New Zealand.
We are not going to be at the mercy of smart young men with cell phones playing the overseas stock markets with New Zealand’s precious capital when there is a desperate need to fund worthwhile investment right here in New Zealand.
New Zealand First policy will go directly to the underlying motivation for saving.
As most New Zealanders know the most powerful tool in moving towards a goal is having clear measurement of what progress is being made.
For this reason, New Zealand First wants every adult New Zealander to be able to measure their progress towards individual savings goals - giving people a sense of ownership of their pension plan.
Aggregated schemes can come and go.
As things stand the Superannuation Fund can be demolished the moment the Government changes, or it changes its mind.
The only way to ensure that the progressive build up of funds is not squandered to meet some short term political agenda is to turn it from a huge, amorphous and essentially meaningless series of naughts into personalised accounts for every adult citizen of New Zealand.
New Zealand First will amend the legislation relating to the Superannuation Fund to tag individual entitlements, guaranteed by the state and to make them untouchable by future generations of politicians.
When what we propose is in place woe betide the politician or Party who threatens to tamper with people’s personal savings!
In addition, New Zealand First will add, over time, tax incentives for personal savings in the name of the saver and thus ensure that the national interest will served to the maximum through enhanced domestic savings.
In other words, the Fund becomes individualised for all New Zealanders supported by tax breaks.
The amount of funds in an individual’s account will be part of that individual's estate
We will provide on a pro rata age basis that receipts of superannuation at death will form part of the deceased estate - there will be no requirement to make repayments.
We will also insist that the contributory scheme must contain portability provisions over time and between jobs and that it must be able to be drawn upon if the recipient is outside New Zealand.
We would ensure that any modified scheme would not affect any person who at the time of introduction was aged 55 years or older and thus maintain certainty for that group currently closest to retirement; and, as a final protection, legislate to ensure that any modifications to the superannuation scheme can only be made with the support of 75% of Parliament.
And finally we would take serious steps to encourage the development of good savings habits for our children - something completely lacking at present.
New Zealand First will not adopt the ground zero approach to superannuation of National, ACT and the Greens.
New Zealanders have been through too much anguish already over superannuation.
We say, enough is enough.
What we propose to do is move forward, and build on what is now in place in a constructive and common sense way.
The net result of New Zealand First superannuation policy would be a State pension that is:
Can we fix it? Yes we can!
And you can join us by giving New Zealand First your party vote.