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Pride Not Prejudice - Winston Peters Speech

RT HON WINSTON PETERS

Kelston Community Centre

Cnr Awaroa and Gt North Roads

Glendene, AUCKLAND.

1.00pm Saturday 13 July 2002

Pride Not Prejudice

Ladies and Gentlemen, many of you will have seen the televised leader’s addresses broadcast last week.

They may not win many Oscars but those broadcasts did give an opportunity for the public to compare the political products on offer in this election.

Whatever opinion you had about the style and delivery of each broadcast what can be said without fear of contradiction is that New Zealand First has the most direct campaign.

What you saw from the other parties was a lot of warm and fuzzy stuff

- lots of feel good, soft focus words - awash in a sea of generalities.

In contrast, New Zealand First brings something to this election that’s lacking in the other parties.

Something that is becoming a lost art in New Zealand politics.

A loss we see as ominous

Plain speaking.

Compared to the other parties the New Zealand First campaign is spartan.

Because our campaign is built around just three issues

And we stand or fall on these -

Our colours are right there - nailed firmly to the mast

We see this election as being about the rights of ordinary Kiwis:

- To walk our streets in safety.

- To stand together as equals.

- To stop being swamped by a flood of immigration

Our campaign is built on these issues because they are foundation stones

Imagine this country if we fix these three issues!

For if we fail to fix these things you do not need to be psychic to foresee dark days for our country.

Because we all know that this land is under threat from:

- rampant lawlessness

- a Treaty industry that foments racial division and discord

- out of control immigration

We have been branded by our opponents as being prejudiced - against Maori - against immigrants - against Asians -

It is rubbish of course, as anyone who actually knows our policies can confirm.

We are not prejudiced but we are proud!

- Proud of our country

- Proud of the New Zealand birthright

- Proud of what this country once achieved

The Labour-led Government - which is more ashamed than proud of New Zealand’s history given its keenness to apologise - has confused pride for one’s country with prejudice.

One feature of this election is already clear

Labour and National share one overriding aim in this election - to extinguish New Zealand First .

They want the political landscape to fit their agenda.

And they resent the voice we bring to Parliament, the colour, the sanity, the common sense - because it is the voice of ordinary Kiwis - of the people Labour and National have forgotten over the past 15 years.

The last thing they want is New Zealand First upsetting their cosy little deal - their pact to keep immigration from scrutiny.

And -make no mistake - both National and Labour are committed to large-scale immigration.

Although they won’t be brash enough to let the public in on that little secret.

If you want to know where Labour and National really stand on immigration you have to read between the lines.

Rather than campaign honestly on their position of favoring high levels of immigration to disguise the effects of their failed economic policies they prefer to use subterfuge.

Their strategy is to attack the one party - New Zealand First - that is totally and unequivocally clear about where it stands and how it intends to curb immigration.

So one of the few areas on which Labour and National display common cause in this election is in attacking Winston Peters.

The fact that National and Labour are singing from the same song sheet on immigration - the refrain of which is to vilify New Zealand First - should alert all New Zealanders to their hidden agenda.

The old guard parties know they have to shut down the immigration issue before it starts to get traction in this election.

Because if New Zealanders wake up to what is happening with immigration and its impact on this country they will demand urgent answers and action.

Action that Labour and National refuse to take.

Throughout this campaign New Zealand First has been alerting New Zealanders to the true state of immigration - the numbers - the consequences - the risks.

We have pointed out that this year we are granting permanent residence to almostas many people as are being born here each year.

And this is in a country where already one in five is overseas born - one in three in the Auckland region.

Relative to our four million people no other country in the first world is allowing a fraction of such an influx.

And we are portrayed as alarmist!

For those with eyes to see the warning flags are already up.

When New Zealanders fully realise what immigration is doing to this country the political impact will be the equivalent of an earthquake - strength 9 on the Richter scale.

At current levels - immigration is an explosive issue - it’s not a question of if - but of when it explodes.

This Government is just hoping that they can reach the safe haven of the election before the immigration bomb goes off.

Our Government is in denial - and has a tame media in support - but the reality is that immigration - legal and illegal has now become a major global issue.

It’s up there on the international agenda like issues such as global warning and the spread of Aids.

When leaders of the European Union met in Spain recently what was top of the agenda?

Yes - immigration.

Massive movements of population are underway around the world - from the underdeveloped to the developed world.

And responsible Governments around the world are preparing their response.

Inevitably that means tightening up border controls and shutting down loopholes.

Australia - which is on the front line for illegal immigration from Asia, has acted.

Can you imagine the consequences if Australia had allowed entry to those picked up by the Tampa last year?

Australia would have sent a signal - come on in!

The blunt fact is that Australia had no choice.

To vacillate would have been fatal. Australia had to act firmly and resolutely.

This is not a time for sentimentality - liberal guilt - humanitarian hand-wringing.

This is a time for clear thinking - and decisive action.

Qualities - incidentally - of which our Minister of Immigration is totally devoid.

We know New Zealand is already being targeted by people smugglers.

But what is our Government doing?

It has prepared a pamphlet.

A pamphlet!

Brilliant!

That is the Government’s response to the tidal wave of illegal immigration that faces New Zealand along with all developed countries.

If it were not so phoney it would be funny.

This pamphlet - called - Avoid a Tragedy - is being distributed, all 25,000 copies, in settlements of millions, in Indonesian towns and ports and you may be interested to hear the sort of thing it is telling people:

“A voyage to New Zealand is dangerous. New Zealand is 8000 kilometers from Indonesia across rough, open oceans. The voyage would take at least a month and you would be cold, ill and miserable. But you probably won’t even make it. You and your relatives would most likely drown in the attempt.”

Then it goes on to say:

“Even if you do make it, New Zealand law provides for those arriving illegally to be detained. You face that prospect while your asylum claim is processed. Most claims made in New Zealand fail. If your claims fail you will be sent home.”

You can just visualise this being written in the Ministry of Foreign Affairs over cups of cappuccino.

You can just see the interminable debates over the choice of words, the size of the printing - the background colour.

No doubt consultants were hired at great expense to advise on this inspired communications strategy.

But what is the bottom line of this pamphlet?

“If your claims fail you will be sent home.”

Is that meant to deter?

When I saw Mr. Goff proudly waving his little pamphlet around I was reminded of Neville Chamberlain’s infamous “Scrap of Paper”

At the time of the Munich crisis on the eve of World War 2 Chamberlain flew over to Germany to meet with Hitler and avert war. When he returned to England he stepped off the plane brandishing the document Hitler had signed and proclaiming “peace in our time.”

Chamberlain touted it as triumph. Churchill called it an unmitigated disaster.

Mr Goff’s pamphlet is as worthless, empty and pitiful as Chamberlains “scrap of paper.”

This Government needs to get real!

People who consider illegal immigration are desperate.

Asylum seekers know they are not taking a voyage on a luxury liner!

They know the dangers and the risks - but they also know their fate if they cannot reach a promised land like Australia or New Zealand.

The reality is that there are millions of people in the developing world who will face just about any risks to escape to a better life.

For example, between France and Britain illegal immigrants hide beneath the trains that cross under the Channel at terrific speeds.

The courage, determination, persistence and ingenuity of illegal immigrants is not in question.

These are not bad people - they have a perfectly human aspiration to better the lives of themselves and their children.

Who can blame them for wanting to come to New Zealand?

New Zealand First certainly does not.

Despite the repeated attempts by Labour and National to muddy the water by making immigration a moral issue - New Zealand First’s position is clear:

Immigration is not about good or bad people;

It is not about demonizing or castigating immigrants;

Its not about racism -Asian bashing - Iranian bashing - Iraqi bashing or any other sort of bashing;

The only bashing that is happening in this election is the bashing of Winston Peters and New Zealand First by Labour and National for having the bad taste to put the issue and the facts before the people.

Immigration is about numbers.

New Zealand could throw open its borders tomorrow and let every seaworthy boat in Indonesia sail here but what we would actually achieve?

- We would destroy the very thing they are coming for - a stable and affluent society.

- We would not scratch the surface of Third World poverty.

As most ordinary New Zealanders have noticed - this country’s infrastructure is already under severe strain in areas such as education, health, and transport.

If we want to help alleviate poverty in the developing world using immigration is an absurd response - it actually undermines our capacity to provide meaningful aid.

But the total fiasco that is the Government’s immigration policy was revealed in the recent High Court ruling that the Government decision to detain refugees last year, following the events of September 11, was unlawful.

Apparently we are in breach of the United Nations Convention on Refugees.

Although it is also astonishing to learn that our policy on refugees was so slack we hardly ever bothered to detain asylum seekers before last September.

And now detention is deemed unlawful.

So one asylum seeker has already lodged a claim for $150,000 alleging wrongful arrest given the numbers who could bring such a claim we could be up for $6m compensation!

This must be an example of those enterprising immigrants of which this Government is always boasting.

And more claims are expected to follow.

The effect of the High Court ruling is like an iceberg ripping open the side of ship.

A ship that was far from watertight to start with -given the gaping holes in our immigration laws and feeble enforcement.

But now we have no effective control over our borders.

People can come to New Zealand - flush their documents down the dunny at the airport, stroll into our country - and disappear.

Unbelievable!

Only in New Zealand!

What next?

Is the Government planning to have asylum seekers met at Auckland airport and chauffeur driven to a five-star hotel?

The High Court ruling has left the Government’s credibility on immigration in tatters.

But where is our Minister of Immigration?

What has she been doing for the past two and half years?

Why were no plans made to sort out this fiasco?

Instead she has chosen to let the situation drift and become more and more farcical and outrageous.

And she complacently presides over an Immigration Service that is dysfunctional and deliberately misleading.

A New Zealander spoke to my office recently. She is married to an immigrant and now mixes in “different circles’.

As a result she is now aware of many of the things that we have been saying but which she could scarcely believe before.

An immigrant friend of their family divorced his wife and then married his niece.

The man and his “former wife’ continue to live and work together.

The newly-wed niece is now bringing her family into New Zealand.

The Immigration Service were evidently informed of these events - months ago.

Action?

None, zilch, nothing, naught!

Despite the evidence of thousands of such scams.

They are considering writing a letter. A letter!

They “haven’t got time to investigate properly because there is so many of them’.

We don’t know who is here, let alone who is coming.

All Lianne Dalzeill does is wave her hands around and say she need more legal advice!

New Zealand First will give her advice:

Just go!

Go, and leave the job to someone who is actually capable of making a decision in the interests of New Zealand.

And the Minister of Foreign Affairs Phil Goff is another arch hand-wringer.

The media should label Goff the Minister for Righteous Indignation.

After the High Court ruling he duly deplored the situation - muttered all the usual platitudes about it being deplorable, unacceptable and outrageous - but then comes the inevitable excuse to the effect that the Government’s hands are tied.

How feeble! - how craven!

What are ordinary Kiwis to make of this pantomime over refugees?

- the people who pay taxes

- the people who abide by the law

- the people who show up and do the job

Right now the message New Zealand is sending out to the world and would-be refugees is this:

- It’s a long sea voyage to New Zealand - make sure you use a seaworthy boat.

- But why take a boat, come by plane, because any way you come here we have an open door for asylum seekers.

Ladies and Gentlemen

One party has a clear immigration policy.

One party has immigration as the central plank of its election campaign.

One party is committed to a drastic reduction in fraudulent immigration numbers.

That party is New Zealand First.

Can we fix it? Yes we can!

And, if you give New Zealand First your party vote, we will!

ENDS


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