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Is This Really The Way You Want It? - Peters

Extracts from a speech given by Rt Hon Winston Peters
Capitaine Bouganville Theatre
Forum North, Whangarei
12.30pm Wednesday, 10 July, 2002

Is This Really The Way You Want It?
Time For National And Act Voters To Get Real

When I was growing up in Northland, our world seemed a very safe place.

We lived in the country, on a farm not very far from here.

As young people, we were concerned mainly with milking the cows, getting our homework done and playing sport.

Sport was a major part of our lives.

In those days everybody seemed to know everybody else – and that meant if you started to kick over the traces someone always noticed.

Invariably, that someone told your parents or your teachers, and there was usually a painful outcome.

But – there were not real threats to us personally.

We did not bother locking our door at night, or when we went out. We could
walk around anywhere near here and feel perfectly safe.

To some extent it was the same in the major cities.

Our society was not crime free, but it was free of the fear and insecurity that grips many people today, particularly those elderly members of our society who live alone.

They barricade themselves in their homes at night. They set alarms. They belong to Neighbourhood Watch groups and some even pay for security services to check on them.

This is a sad and sorry state of affairs and it is why we in New Zealand First have made law and order such a priority this election.

The time of soft options for violent offenders and five star prisons was over – or so they thought.

Unhappily, how wrong they were and the most recent example of the big softie Labour-led government is right on your back door here in Whangarei.

A young man bashes his mother to within an inch of her life with a hammer and sets her house on fire.

The judge sentenced him to nine years in jail. That was a very light sentence considering that the mother will spend the rest of her days being cared for.

Under the old system this young man would have served six years before he was eligible for parole.

Under the tough new laws brought in by the Labour Alliance coalition he will only have to serve THREE years before he can apply for parole.

And last week Labour said in its election policy that it would entrench tougher sentencing and parole regimes for serious and high-risk offenders.

If getting tough means that violent criminals who bash people with hammers can apply to get back on the streets in three years the tough new laws are nonsense.

New Zealand First knows the answer.

We have been listening very carefully to what ordinary New Zealanders have got to say about law and order.

We know that people have had enough and we know that the soft warm cuddly methods are not working.

It is time to get tough on offenders right from the very start – when they are young.

We have to address the underlying and root causes of delinquency. We have to instill self-discipline in our youngsters and we have to bring back those who have gone off the rails.

It is true that the devil finds mischief for idle hands.

That is why we will not allow our young people to go from school to the dole.

We cannot create another generation growing up without discipline or direction because that is the best way to create even more young offenders.

We will introduce military or community service training for the young unemployed in trouble and for some first time offenders.

This will foster discipline and self-esteem and bring order into their lives.

The biggest tragedy for young people in Northland is the high level of unemployment.

The last time Labour governed alone their policies threw thousands of people out of work and the country is still trying to recover from those days of economic lunacy.

Maori were the hardest hit and now young Maori are particularly affected.

What is being done about it?

The Government is prepared to spend $100 million building a new prison up here, for mainly Maori offenders, and spend another $11 million a year running the place but it won’t invest a fraction of that amount creating jobs.

They are saying to our young people that we are prepared to spend more to keep you locked up than we are to give you a job and help make you a valuable member of society.

It works out at more than $31,000 a year for each prisoner.

Just imagine the boost it would give the local economy if 350 jobs were created at $31,000 a year.

And what a boost it would give to the North if the $100 million went into housing for people living in rural slums in the North.

This area needs the basics. Jobs, housing and adequate health services.


Some sections of the media would tell us that this election is all about whether the Greens can get into government with Labour so they can pull it down over genetic modification issues.

This election is actually about the rights of ordinary New Zealanders and the sort of government YOU want for the next three years.

There is a fundamental dishonesty about Green policies.

Brian Donnelly, my colleague here, did some research on the way the Greens have been voting in Parliament on GE and cloning issues.

The Greens voted AGAINST the introduction of legislation to ban human cloning
in New Zealand. (So they are for human cloning)

The Greens have voted FOR on-going funding of GE field trials on three
occasions. So they are FOR field trials.

The Greens REFUSED TO VOTE at all on legislation which tightened up the
regulations on field trials. So they are AGAINST tightening up regulations of field trials.

The Greens refused to vote at all on legislation, which imposed a statutory
moratorium on applications for commercial release of GE materials.

Now this does not make any sense at all.

We have to ask ourselves whether this voting pattern is the result of hazy caucus meetings or whether the Greens are genuinely confused.

You see they also insisted that the Government set up a Royal Commission on genetic modification. As we in New Zealand First did.

But now the Greens blindly oppose what the Royal Commission recommended – and have threatened to bring down the Government if it adopts the recommendations.

And today they are running the line via Nick Hagar that there have already been GE releases through corn crops on at least 3 occasions.

Well, some of us have heard that rumour for a long, long time.

What is new is that the Green say they have the facts. There in Hagar’s book being released. So if they known this for long enough to write a book about it then they have been involved in a cover up, the same cover up they allege the Prime Minister has been involved in. But they have saved it up to use this at election time. How opportunitistic can you get and how sincere are their policies?

And look at their drug policies.

They want marijuana legalised and non-profit cannabis farms set up. You don’t have to look very far from here to see the effects of marijuana use and farming excepting they can’t even be honest about that. Nandor wants the use of cannabis decriminalized, but their pamphlet asks for “a review of drug-harm minimization”. In short, they say take it and it’ll have no effect. They can’t even be honest about that.

At one stage it was the fastest growing industry in the North. It is a serious cause of crime and mental health problems.

Many offenders with psychiatric problems have been drug users.

The thought of the Greens holding the balance of power is the worst nightmare of every mother and father in this country.

The number four person on their party list is a self confessed cannabis smoker.

He is the Greens spokesman on youth affairs and he is trying to get the youth vote.

This drug can and does have disastrous consequences. School principals say that cannabis use is a consistent factor in youth suicides.

It is also a common factor in many of the tragic and violent cases involving mental patients.

Yet the Greens want to make this drug more freely available. How can you trust a party like this with the future of our young people?

They simply cannot be allowed to force their dishonest policies on the rest of the population.

New Zealand First stands firmly against drug use and we will oppose any attempt to make cannabis more freely available.

We are focused on law and order and our manifesto includes tough measures to combat crime and we want to give our police force the powers and equipment to do their job.

We must have police officers back on our streets. We must have enough police so they can be seen – and not just in a police car disappearing into the distance.

It is now possible to walk through the main streets of our major cities and not see one police officer.

Police are short of staff and are finding it hard to attract top recruits.

We have it on very good authority that the Auckland central area – one of the roughest in the country is EIGHTY staff below strength.

EIGHTY front line officers.

That figure was dead accurate just over a week ago. And it does not include the fact that the area is also short of SIX senior detective sergeants.

How can a situation like this develop?

We should be boosting our police force, not running it down.

New Zealand First would immediately provide the extra front line police that are required.

We would also ensure that the police have the best equipment possible to do their dangerous job in the safest way.

The outpouring of grief and emotion at the funeral of Detective Constable Duncan Taylor in Palmerston North, just yesterday, stands as a stark reminder to us all of the high esteem and regard which members of the New Zealand Police are held.

The horror of Duncan’s shooting, gunned down by a 17 year old youth last Friday, and shown nationwide on the television news as the tragic events unfolded, had the population expressing disbelief and shock that the life of a Police officer carrying out his duty could be extinguished so readily and quickly.

The news media has since been filled with speculation of the events leading to the shooting and alongside that speculation, the revelation that Duncan’s death represented the 26th police officer to be killed in the line of duty.

I am also mindful at this time of the comments of the President of the Police Association Mr Greg O’Connor, who reminded us that the Police officers most at risk of this sort of tragedy, are those doing everyday Police work.

Given this most recent event and the escalation of violence in our society, New Zealanders need to be concerned that they may wake up and find their police force wearing guns.

What would once have been unthinkable may be the only way we can ensure our front-line police are put on equal footing with armed criminals.

Some of our criminals are ready and willing to use firearms against anyone whether it be a bank officer or a pizza delivery man.

We are sending young men and women, unarmed into dangerous situations.

Most other countries have armed police. This has been forced upon them.

Police in Australia are armed.

Regrettably, New Zealand now has some very dangerous people in our communities.

Unless we attack the causes of crime and take a genuinely hard line on our criminals then we may be faced with a fundamental change in the equipping of our police force.

Since the 1980s, the time of the last Labour government, psychiatric patients have been thrown out of mental hospitals on to the streets.

They are supposed to go into a form of community care but unfortunately this often means community neglect.

Some stop taking their medication. They go on to drugs and alcohol and the police are the only 24 hour a day social institution available to pick them up if things go wrong.

Why should we expect police officers to do this at great personal risk? We have seen many cases in recent years of horrific consequences.

Where else in the world would this happen?

In rural areas and small towns there is sometimes only one officer on duty.

Going out alone at night to deal with some offenders in New Zealand must be one of the highest risk jobs in the world.

There will no doubt be a call for an immediate review of police firearms policy. That is alarming for we never thought that we would ever see our police armed in the way you see them abroad.

It is certainly time for some action to bolster the thin blue line and to make our country safe again.

Can we fix it?

Yes we can.

Take out your insurance policy on election day.

Vote for New Zealand First.

We appeal to all National and Act supporters to get behind New Zealand First’s campaign for a safer society. Bill English clearly cannot do the job and Richard Prebble has past his “use by date” and neither of them can front Helen Clark or match Labour.

Even my worst critic in the media knows I and New Zealand First can.

Can we fix it ?

Yes we can!

And we will.

Join us and join us now.


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