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Dependence Day - Winston Peters Speech

Rt Hon Winston Peters

Leader, New Zealand First

Baptist Church Centre

3 Dodson Avenue

MILFORD

1.00pm 4 July 2002

Dependence Day

New Zealand First is an unashamedly one country party.

That is the starting point for all of our policies.

Because we take the view - and all of history confirms it - that a house divided cannot stand.

We want to see a cohesive and united nation.

That means getting the foundations of our society secure.

To that end, our campaign is clear:

We say this election is about the rights of ordinary Kiwis:

- The right to walk the streets of this country in safety.

- The right of all New Zealanders to stand together as equals.

- The right to stop being swamped by a flood of immigrants

Compare the issues we are campaigning on with what the big city media and political establishment talk about.

New Zealand First’s campaign is about serious fundamentals.

The things we have to get right if we and our children are to enjoy a civil and a prosperous society.

Because:

- If we allow the descent into lawlessness to worsen,

- If we continue to subsidise the polarisation of our society,

- If we do not regain control of our country’s borders

then all that we have been bequeathed, all that we have built, all that we aspire to, will count for nothing.

And that is why our campaign makes three pledges to the people of New Zealand.

We will:

- restore safety to the streets of New Zealand

- derail the racially divisive, tribally divisive Treaty Industry

- put the brakes on immigration

And we say whether you are Maori, a descendant of those who came last century, or you arrived in Auckland three months ago - you have only one choice - New Zealand First - if you want action on the critical issues facing this country.

Let us talk about New Zealand First and Maori - because there has been a deliberate propaganda effort by our opponents aimed at misleading New Zealanders on where we actually stand.

We are regularly attacked by our political opponents as “bashing” some group or other.

We are criticised as Asian “bashing” if we dare to talk about immigration

And of course we are criticised as Maori “bashing” if we say anything about the Treaty Industry.

The smear is the oldest trick in the book.

It means our opponents:

-Can avoid answering legitimate questions

-Evade challenges to their policies, and

-Hide the truth of the situation

Let us expose these lies right now.

The exact opposite is the case - because there are good reasons why Maori should vote New Zealand First - just as there are for other New Zealanders.

But unlike National or Labour we will not engage in trendy tokenism.

We respect Maori too much to indulge in those antics.

The Labour party thinks by gushing forth with a torrent of Treaty talk and sprinkling dollops of public money among its mates in the Treaty industry Maori voters will be conned into supporting them.

But Maori have a sense of history.

They remember it was the Labour party that unleashed in 1984 the era of so-called reform that decimated many of the industries and communities where Maori were most strongly represented.

Labour has a track record with Maori alright - promising much and then failing to meet expectations.

The National party - when it is not slinging accusations of racism among its candidates - is offering to settle all Treaty claims by 2008!

Heaven help New Zealand if the Treaty Industry has not been stopped in its tracks well before then - at the rate the Industry is growing by 2008 we will all be working for it!

There are two very obvious reasons why Maori would not want to vote for either Labour or National.

Why would Maori vote for parties that have conspicuously failed to stop the descent into lawlessness?

Why would Maori vote for parties that permit the mass influx of immigrants?

But even in the area of policy relating specifically to Maori the two old-guard parties have been appallingly inept.

Remember the Government’s short lived “Closing the Gaps’ fiasco of 2000?

Well - the gaps are still there:

- Maori health status is considerably lower than that of non-Maori across a range of health indicators including life expectancy;

- Maori are concentrated in lower paid occupations;

- Maori unemployment is well above the national average;

- Maori are disproportionately involved in the criminal justice system;

These are depressing and disturbing facts - nobody who has the slightest concern for the future well being of New Zealand can be complacent at this situation.

These are conditions that demand action. They must be faced up to and tackled.

And New Zealand First will not accept that any group of New Zealanders - whoever they are - should face the prospect of enduring disadvantage.

But the current approach from both Labour and National holds no prospect of improvement - just more of the same.

Yet these parties have the audacity, the cheek - despite their failure - to accuse New Zealand First’s policy as being “Maori bashing.”

Their flawed approach to race relations - which consists basically of throwing prodigious amounts of taxpayer money at a selected group of mates, consultants and lawyers has not only patently failed to resolve the genuine problems facing Maori but has sown discord, distrust and disharmony.

For this reason New Zealand First has been a constant and vigorous opponent of the growth of the divisive Treaty industry.

Because the chief victim of that industry has been the very people it purports to help - Maori.

What else can we conclude from two apparently contradictory facts:

One - over the past 15 years, a huge amount of this country’s wealth and resources has apparently been devoted to overcoming Maori disadvantage:

Two - Maori disadvantage - the infamous “gaps” persist.

What is going on?

How can this woeful result be explained?

What has happened to that avalanche of money?

The failure to overcome Maori disadvantage, despite so much spending, is a tragedy not only for Maori but also for New Zealand.

And the main cause and culprit for this failure lies with the misguided thinking and the fraternity that has grown up around the Treaty of Waitangi over the past 15 years - the Treaty industry

The Treaty Industry is big business - a billion dollar industry.

Most people are aware of the major settlements of Treaty claims that started in the early 1990’s such as the Tainui and Ngai Tahu settlements. These settlements were around $170 million each - in current dollars now worth much of course.

Such sums are not trivial - but especially for Tainui ordinary Maori seem to have seen little benefit of it.

Then there is the saga of the Waitangi Fisheries Commission.

For 10 years the main beneficiaries of the Commission’s $700m of quota, shares and cash have been lawyers, consultants, and now a huge Japanese fishing company, Nissui - at times the Commission has been at risk of drowning in a sea of litigation going all the way to the Privy Council.

The Crown Forestry Rental Trust is another facet of the Treaty Industry. The Trust was created in 1990 to hold rents from land under state forests in trust until forestry-related claims under the Treaty were settled.

At the time the trust deed stated: “it is expected that the tribunal will have heard most of the claims relating to forest land by the middle of 1992.”

Great expectations! This little known organisation has now accumulated more than $300m in cash and securities - and generates funding revenue of $20m a year.

Today we will prove that the Crown Forestry Rental Trust (CFRT), like the Treaty Industry as a whole, has turned into a perpetual money machine for the favoured few.

The Treaty Industry can be compared to vultures circling over the African plains.

And when you get close to the heart of that Industry something strange happens - under the spotlight it vanishes in a sea of self-righteous indignation!

This money, we remind you, has been set aside to settle forestry claims by Maori, but the CFRT - the Trust - has been funding anything and everything.

Let us outline a particular example.

There is a funding contract between the Trust and the Volcanic Interior Plateau Project Taumata - a project that covers three regions: Northern (Rotorua), Central (Reporoa), and Southern (Taupo).

It is a contract to “enhance the cultural, commercial, and social development capabilities needed to achieve VIP whanau and hapu community prosperity and well-being’.

Sound good?

Mean anything?

The contract is also to “restore and enhance the cultural, commercial, and social capabilities needed to achieve VIP whanau and hapu community prosperity and well-being’ and to “facilitate creation of the best Treaty pathways¡K.’

A specific task is to complete “sufficient hapu claims research for the Crown to acknowledge its past breaches of the principles of the Treaty of Waitangi.’

What principles?

All this year in Parliament New Zealand First has been trying to get some straight answers from Government Ministers on what the mystical so-called Treaty principles are all about.

Let me quote something I said in Parliament earlier this year because it encapsulates my frustration at the evasion and prevarication of Government Ministers:

“What on earth is this country doing, with hundreds of quasi-governmental groups making all sorts of interpretations, which the Minister, the Prime Minister and the Government are not prepared to own up to, and how are ordinary New Zealanders to understand where they fit into this long term policy making, when the Government has no idea what the principles are?”

So in attacking the Treaty Industry, New Zealand First - far from Maori “bashing” as our political opponents claim - is actually trying to dislodge a blood- sucking leech that has attached itself to the Maori community.

The Treaty industry is a bloated leech that is gorging itself on a geyser of public money that Labour and National have seen fit to squander - but that has brought no significant benefit to Maori.

But back to the Volcanic Interior Plateau Claims Project.

We have analysed their budget (appendix 1) and we are making this and a funding contract (dated 20 May 2002) public today.

This is a Donna Hall project which proposes “regional’ expenditure to cover meetings and staff and the like of $1.89m and “head office’ costs of $1.11m.

That is, a little over $3m to be paid to the VIP Claims Project¡K¡Knot as a forestry-related settlement but for a set of ill defined activities - all manner of regional co-ordinators, claims co-ordinators, hapu team workers and administrators with no explicable or definable logic to their activities are being paid millions without the knowledge of the claimants.

The Woodward Law office is budgeted to receive $680,000 of that for professional services and disbursements.

The CFRT’s budget (appendix 2) provides for total expenditure of $18,784,122.

This Trust is going to spend just under $19m.

We know where $3m is going.

How much is budgeted for claimant funding?

They are going to pay claimants $2, 577,264

Less than the VIP expenses.

That is around $2.58m of $18.78m in expenditure is going to claimants.

So $16,206,858 is to be spent by themselves on themselves.

Much of it unexplained, unmandated, at their own discretion, and on their own volition.

The most transparent figure in this budget is $1,024,000 for “occupancy’ - just under $20,000 per week rent.

And remember, these figures are for the current year. What have Graham Latimer, Donna Hall, Karen Waterreus and co. done in previous years?

This is the worst conceivable example of third world aid: less than 14 cents in each dollar reaches the claimant. A black African dictator would be proud of this result.

But worse, this planned rip off of Maori, of New Zealanders, is known to the Government that sits on its politically correct hands and does nothing.

This is information that CFRT reported to the Government and which went to the Maori Affairs Select Committee

Did you know this?

Do the Maori who are awaiting settlements know that?

No, but they should, you should.

And it is in this omission that we must point the finger at the Maori Members of Parliament.

Because they must know, or at least they should know what they are doing.

What were those Members of the Maori Affairs Select Committee doing? Or were they so inexperienced that they didn’t know what was going on and couldn’t read the budget statement in front of them?

You might ask what in Hades the Minister of Maori Affairs was doing?

Or what on Earth the Cabinet and the Prime Minister were doing?

Why are they silent?

How can they sit there and allow the bulk of the Trust’s income to be siphoned off in this way?

You have a chairman of the Trust on $110,000 plus expenses plus perks who is a law unto himself, accountable to no one - European or Maori.

This is a rip off and only one example of what has been going on.

Is this racist or is this racist?

And it is the worst form of racism because it maintains the dependence of the many on the few.

The next time someone calls me a racist or accuses me of Maori bashing they should examine these figures and tell me why they are allowing this to happen?

My challenge to National, Labour and others is: how on earth is this helping Maori?

No wonder New Zealand First is attacked - in trying to derail the Treaty gravy train we are putting a lucrative racket in jeopardy.

The choice facing Maori is whether they want empty rhetoric or real improvement.

Maori can continue to endure a barrage of words and Treaty talk - or say - this Emperor has no clothes!

And Maori like all New Zealander must ask themselves when they vote: do we want to put an end to this Treaty racket - and clear the decks so genuine progress can be made on the real issues that face Maori - employment, education and health?

If the answer is yes - then the choice is clear.

Make up your mind today.

Make the fourth of July the day we ended the dependence of New Zealanders on myth over substance, and the dependence of the many on a few fellow travellers who line their own pockets at the expense of the rest of us.

Give New Zealand First your party vote.

Can we fix it? Yes we can. And we will.

ENDS


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