Rodney Hide Speech: Best Team Parliament Has Seen
Hide Speech: The Best Team That Parliament Has Ever Seen
Speech to ACT New Zealand Auckland South Regional Conference, Barrycourt Conference Centre, Auckland
Thank you members for coming on a beautiful Auckland day, and to thank you too for all the hard work that you have done on behalf of the ACT party and for your country.
I want to thank you for something else because you have seen the calibre of your MPs. You have delivered to Parliament the most outstanding team of MPs ever seen in our Parliament. We spend long hours in Parliament and MPs from every party talk with each other. And they all come across to talk about the ACT MPs and how good they are, on the committees, in the debate, their speeches that they give, and the contribution that they make.
And it is the nature of the democracy that, even at best, the Labour Party always has half a caucus of misfits and space wasters and ACT New Zealand has got none. And I always tell the Members of Parliament that come across to talk to me about the calibre of our team that we have a list chock-a-block full of people every bit as good as our caucus in Parliament.
You have made a tremendous difference to Parliament not just by getting ACT there, but by getting the calibre of people we put into Parliament. And you should be very proud of that. Next time ladies and gentlemen, and I see the faces in this room, we are going to put a whole lot more in to lift further the performance of our Parliament and our Government.
Your team carries more fire power than the entire National party caucus in any debate in Parliament. Reflect on that. We have a team led by Richard Prebble where each of us is allowed and able to contribute. It may well be that there are some talented people in New Zealand First's caucus but we will never know because Winston never allows them to speak or to contribute. He is mindful what happened when he last had a caucus speak its mind.
So you should be very proud of your team. You should also be proud that you have delivered to Parliament a party that has a clear philosophy of what it stands for. And you can see how hard it is to achieve that because none of the other parties have got it. Helen Clark can't tell us what the Labour Party stands for and keep a straight face. The polling shows that she can't tell New Zealanders what Labour actually stands for.
The National Party has a philosophy but their caucus don't believe in it any longer. And I think it is a huge achievement that in our third term in Parliament our President has run the Liberal Project to remind us what we believe in, and why, and what we are there for.
It makes a huge difference to the performance of the parliamentary team because we believe in individual freedom. Believe in individual freedom and you will find that half of what a Government is doing is immediately eliminated because they are taking our freedoms away every day, every which way. And we believe in something else - personal responsibility. And you put personal responsibility alongside freedom and you eliminate about another forty percent of what a Government does in Parliament. And we should always remember that freedom without personal responsibility is no freedom whatsoever.
And so imagine this now. We have an extremely talented team in Parliament and we have a strong philosophy of what we believe in and what we stand for. And it is true that we are not fifty percent of the vote, but we have representation in our Parliament and I ask you to look around the world and see where that has been achieved.
Add something else which is lacking in New Zealand's Parliament, and that is a vision of what we could become, of what we could be. And we have that vision for our country, and we have that vision for ourselves and our fellow New Zealanders. Because we believe that if we allow people more freedom, more room to move, more of the money that they earn, they will be better people as a result.
We believe that if we allow people to carry the burden and the consequences of their decisions they will be better people as a result and we believe that if we do that we will have a better country.
Helen Clark doesn't believe that. She believes that you are going to have a better country by giving herself and her Ministers and her civil servants and her friends more say about each and every one of us. Helen Clark does not trust New Zealanders. She doesn't trust her own Ministers!
And we look ten years ahead, fifteen years ahead and twenty years ahead at what we could be as a nation - the fastest growing country in the OECD, growing at 4 percent plus each year. A country in which everyone who wants to work has a job and an expectation that if you can work, you do work. A nation in which we have a first class education system because the wealth of the next generation will be determined by how well we will have educated them. An education system that is driven not from Wellington, not by the unions, but driven by parents and students needs. And we will have that education system only under ACT's policies where teachers can be in the top five percent of income earners if they are good. Why shouldn't they be able to be in the top five percent?
And a nation where once again you can walk the street safe at night, where once again we can feel safe in our homes and know that our mums and dads are safe because the perpetrators of crime will be caught and will be punished.
A nation in which it doesn't matter if you are Asian - or any other race, religion or creed - where it doesn't matter if you just stepped off a plane or arrived on one of the first four ships, arrived on one of the first waka, a nation of people where the laws and policies of this country are applied the same, to each and every one of us.
We can have that country and that is why we are here on this sunny day.
Another thing ladies and gentlemen looking out fifteen years, we can have a nation that stands tall in the world and accepts its international responsibilities. We can't sit here and enjoy the benefits of a western civilisation unless we are prepared to carry some of the burden. And think of Ken Shirley who has raised that debate in Parliament. Why can't war ships in which young men and women are going into danger - that hold no risk to us - but protect us - why can't they visit and be our friends? There is no rational reason why they can't.
And I find it extraordinary that Helen Clark can have a bob each way and maintain that we live in a benign environment, that we have no need to worry about our military, and, in the next breath, send our young service men and women on Te Kaha with a lone Orion into harm's way. We need to shoulder our responsibilities. But first we have to support the young men and women we are sending into harm's way with decent equipment, proper training, and with the full support of our allies.
Auckland has always looked after ACT well and the ACT people in Auckland have done well with the vote. And at a personal level I am working hard exposing "hands on" Government for the fraud that it is. I am helped by the dopiness of it all. Imagine putting The Warehouse on welfare and calling that an economic strategy.
And I want to tell the President and the Board that once again I will be asking them to allow me to stand in the seat of Epsom and take that seat for ACT at the next election. I am working very hard in Epsom and receiving great support from the people of Epsom. Next time I hope to get the nod to contest the seat.
Richard Worth's National Party colleagues like to call him Richard of Arabia now. I have been to see him. He told me that he had heard that I am doing very good work in Epsom. I said that is right and said, "I should explain this to you Richard, I am going to take your seat off you in the next election". And he said, "Yes, you probably will". I don't think his heart is in it.
I believe that the ACT party should have an electorate seat and we should reward the good voters of Epsom with a decent MP for a change rather than the camel riding hapless Harry Worth.
And we have one other job, ladies and gentlemen. It is very important that we remind ourselves of this. We are a political party and we are chasing votes and we are chasing power. But we are after something much more than that. And that is what puts us a cut above everyone else. We are out to win the hearts and minds of New Zealanders. Not just their votes. We are not interested in tricking them into voting for us. We are interested in explaining to them what we can all become and putting in their hearts the hope of what their country can be. And so it's hearts and minds that we are after - and the votes will follow. We are not just interested in power and Government, ladies and gentlemen, but we are interested in a fundamental change in direction of this great country of ours.
That is what we are after. And it will take each and every one of you to win another heart and another mind for what we can all become.
I thank you for that effort. I thank you for believing in yourself. I thank you for believing in your country, and I thank you especially for providing us with the best team that Parliament has ever seen. Thank you.