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Latest Polls Make Choice Critical - Winston Peters

Rt Hon Winston Peters

Notes for Speech to Rotary


26 July 2002

Latest Polls Make Choice Critical:

Khmer Vert Or Export Growth

New Zealanders are about to cast their votes for the future of our country.

They have a stark choice. Labour attempted to sneak an election through in the middle of winter to get a majority. The polls and the pundits say they have failed.

The pundits and the polls also say that ACT and National have failed to compete in policy or performance. National’s vote is in free fall.

What this election campaign highlights is the simple fact that democracy is too important to leave to politicians. Labour tried to manipulate a result but the voters have the power. And that is as it should be.

So who should keep an eye on Labour? The choice comes down to the Greens or New Zealand First.

The Greens are like Churchill’s description of Russia: “a riddle wrapped in a mystery inside an enigma.” Beneath the bland and reassuring faces of Rod and Jeanette there lurks a strange menagerie of causes, - ideologies - fads - therapies and obsessions.

Have a care! There are some nasty surprises lurking in the Greenhouse: like Maori sovereignty and a policy of two nations and two systems, like decriminalizing cannabis, like destroying crops, and like opposing international trade.

To keep Labour under control it has to be New Zealand First. That is the only political insurance that you have in this election.

You will know that we have been campaigning to fix three things. These are major concerns for New Zealanders, as is growing our economy so that we can afford first world education and health services. Our plan to grow our economy at far above the current 2-plus% rate is based on a plan to treble our exports well before 2020.

How? New Zealand First will:

- promote a balanced and flexible monetary policy of low exchange and interest rates conducive to real export and employment growth;

- amend the Reserve Bank Act and make export, growth, and employment objectives part of the policy targets agreement between the new government and the Governor of the Reserve Bank.

We will not accept the continuing inflationary pressures of largely unskilled immigration that is out of control - If bringing in half a million people to fill our skills gaps was working then how is it that we have a bigger skills gap in New Zealand than ever before? Neither will we accept a rapidly appreciating Kiwi dollar that is detrimental to our export goals.

The export focus of New Zealand First’s plans provide the base from which a re-orientation towards high technology and further processing industries will lead the way to an export performance that builds on the best of the present and provides growth for the future.

- The focus on our trading performance will be supported by an expansion of development banking facilities and venture capital opportunities.

- We will consult with exporters to ensure that we have an export credit guarantee scheme that does work, unlike the bureaucratic maze it is now. Every other leading nation has one that works except New Zealand where not one application has got through the system!

- We will ensure that New Zealand’s Trade Development Board maintains and expands our present markets whilst developing emerging markets.

- We will require the promotion of industries where New Zealand has a clear competitive advantage.

- We will ensure innovation through tax incentives for research and development comparative to other first world nations.

- We will make sure that technology transfer occurs within both the public and the private sectors.

- We will increase the international competitiveness of New Zealand business by reducing red tape and compliance costs - we will conduct a full-scale independent inquiry into all Government red tape and compliance costs requiring that they be justified or if not jetisoned. The Committee of Inquiry into compliance costs will be required to report to Government within one year of the next election.

- Our long-term objective is for all New Zealanders to pay less tax.

We don’t have an election year general tax cut in the offing, but New Zealand First does undertake to reduce corporate tax in the short term but our economic priority in campaigning for exports next year, 2003, is clear and will be given impetus by one further element in our plan:

- The tax rate on new incresed export net profit will be reduced to 20%.

If Company A has net income from exporting of $10million this year, and if it achieves $12million next year then the tax on the additional $2 million will be at 20%.

- We will put the machinery and legislation in place to ensure that this system is honest and kept honest. Within five years we plan to put all exports on the same footing (of 20%).

And this not just a message for exporters.

- Buy New Zealand First is another means of improving our balance of payments and of helping New Zealand business. It is an area where a government can provide leadership (by requiring government departments and SOEs to buy New Zealand made) and funding. The decision has to be taken: do we actively pursue a policy of import substitution or do we remain ideologically pure and watch our producers disappear?

We became far too reticent about giving a helping hand as a result of the New Right swing of the economic pendulum.

- Instead of going all out to remove tariffs ahead of the rest of our major trading partners we should emulate them in placing a buy New Zealand priority internally and on our foreign aid . If we are to build industries that are truly internationally competitive then we must be prepared to help them get established.

Why do most of our significant food processors now operate plants in Australia? What requirements and advantages lead to that situation?

New Zealand business must be given the conditions to compete from here.

With more production, more employment, and dramatically more growth taking place onshore then the government will take more tax, pay less benefits, and be able to afford a range of incentives.

It’s just common sense really.

What is your choice? New Zealand First and export growth or the Khmer Vert?


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