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Peter Dunne Speech: NZ - "It's great to be home!"


Peter Dunne Speech: "New Zealand - it's great to be home!"

That feeling all Kiwis get when, having travelled the globe, they get off the plane sums up United Future's vision for New Zealand.

"It's great to be back!"

My view of this nation is encapsulated in our name.

We want a New Zealand that is not only united in family, and in community, but also in our vision for the future.

Our New Zealand is a safe New Zealand - in the physical sense, certainly, but also safe in the way that home is safe.

Warm, welcoming, non-threatening.

A place where we feel secure in our identity, in our opportunities to advance ourselves, in our opportunities to meet and greet our neighbours and where everyone feels welcome.

So ours is also a welcoming New Zealand, a creative New Zealand, a New Zealand where fresh ideas are encouraged, a 'can-do' country where patriotism and a sense of nationhood are not emotions to be ashamed of or hidden.

Our New Zealand is a positive place, an enabling society, where people take responsibility for their own actions, their own futures, their own opportunities.

Our New Zealand celebrates, and just as importantly encourages, success wherever it happens - in the arts, sport, business, in academic endeavour.

In our New Zealand, tolerance is a virtue and diversity is celebrated, not condemned.

All of these are attributes we would want for our own family - not just for our country.

That is why it is our passionate belief that the family is the very cornerstone of New Zealand.

That is not because of some quaint belief in family values - although there is certainly nothing wrong with that.

It is because strong and healthy families mean a strong and healthy New Zealand.

And strong, healthy families live in vibrant communities and neighbourhoods.

Vibrant communities are much more than any dry economic statistics or the daily parade of health and welfare horror stories.

They are what will ensure we have economic growth and prosperity, rather than a consequence of it.

They are rich in their diversity, bold in their willingness to take on new things, confident in themselves, but also places where all their members, whatever their status, are nurtured, respected and encouraged.

So how do we make vibrant communities?

We make sure communities have the facilities that make them work, like schools, swimming pools, green parks and clean beaches, public transport and security.

We encourage the essential volunteer groups that are the glue of our communities, through grants and other assistance programmes.

We encourage the many events - large and small - that bring communities together - be it Carols by Candlelight, or street parties for Waitangi Day, local festivals and market days, and so on, the list is endless.

This facility we are opening today is exactly the sort of centre that helps to make our communities strong.

Further, strong and vibrant families are the key to strong communities.

They are the engine room of so much of our economic and social development.

And that is why United Future will continue to champion the cause of the family - because it is also the cause of New Zealand.

When you ask New Zealanders why they come home their reasons are invariably the same: it's where my family is; it's a neat place to live and raise the children; and it offers a great lifestyle.

Our country will succeed and prosper only when we make those objectives the end point of our policy direction, rather than continue to treat them as merely coincidental.

And we have much to do here.

Family breakdown is costing us billions of dollars a year.

We have the world's second highest rate of single parent families.

Divorces have doubled in the last 30 years, while marriages have fallen 60%.

321,000 children - a third of all children - are raised on a benefit, twice what it was 15 years ago.

Child assaults are up almost 200% in the last decade and 40% of our criminals are aged between 14 and 18.

As New Zealanders we all possess a unique gift, no matter what our status is, where we come from, who we are, or how long we have been here.

We possess the unique of gift of being a New Zealander and thereby knowing that taken together our individual elements of that gift weave the tapestry that makes New Zealand the place we are all proud to come home to.

When you look at things that way meaningless current slogans like getting back into the top half of the OECD, one standard of citizenship form all, or cutting immigration to the bone, are shown up for their trite absurdity.

It's time to stop wallowing in the mire, and celebrate afresh what makes this country great and why Kiwis are proud to come home to it.

They say nothing promotes success like success.

Promoting our successes is the best way I know to ensure we have more of them, and to ensure that our families and communities prosper and grow stronger as a result.

That is United Future's vision for New Zealand and I am determined to provide the leadership to achieve it.

Let me now turn to the very pleasant task of opening the Tauranga Youth Academy's recreational facility. Ladies and gentlemen, it gives me great pleasure now to open this building. May you enjoy it for many years to come and I wish you well in your efforts to make Tauranga, and New Zealand, a better place in which to live.


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