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The Right Talk, The Leader's View - 21 July 2003

The Right Talk, The Leader's view
21 July 2003

Saving the beaches for everyone

Today I launched the National Party website http://www.beachesforall.co.nz. National's policy is simple and emphatic: we will legislate to ensure the beaches and seabed remain in the hands of all New Zealanders. We will introduce a succinct Private Member's Bill to achieve this if Labour fails to act. Free beach access will be maintained for all. Labour initially tried to reassure the electorate by promising legislation, but has been in secret deal-making mode ever since. This has fuelled unrealistic expectations in Maoridom. That was most unwise and even Maori Affairs Minister Parekura Horomia is now, belatedly, trying to hose down expectations. These should not have been created. The Liberal Left commentators are sitting back on this, suggesting there is nothing to worry about and the beaches will remain in the hands of all New Zealanders. To this I would say: look at Mount Tarawera. Once we could climb the mountain for free, now access costs $100. Unless the Government acts to to ensure the Crown retains exclusive ownership of the foreshore and seabed, there could be a host of similar charges in the future, for our children, if not for us. The seabed claims, largely escaping detailed scrutiny, have huge potential in terms of mineral deposits, oil and gas.

One standard of citizenship

The beaches and seabed issue emphasises again why National's key plank of One Standard of Citizenship is essential to put a halt to the endless list of claims, counter-claims and bickering. As I told our Party Conference a fortnight ago, National will close the book on new Treaty claims 12 months after taking office. We will clear outstanding claims in five years. I have lived with the grievance industry for most of my life, but I want my children to live with the solutions. Wrongs were done and they are being corrected, but the grievance industry must not be allowed to become an eternal distraction. National will also abolish the Maori seats. Our future is as one country of New Zealanders, all with the same standard of citizenship. One newspaper last week described us as bi-cultural: we are multi-cultural, surely, unless we are to exclude those of Pacific Island, Asian and Indian descent. We are all New Zealanders.

More taxes and now more rates

I have explained previously how Labour, after promising no new taxes, has imposed 17 new taxes and levies since coming to power, the most outrageous being the deliberate slight to farmers, the flatulence tax on farm animals. Now we have astonishing hikes in local body taxes as a result of the Local Government Amendment Act, which National warned about. A National Government will wind back the excesses in this Act and the Resource Management Act and abandon the flatulence tax. Labour's overweening political correctness is now demonstrating its costs. It will only get worse.

Silver Ferns Go Gold

Our congratulations to our netballers for taking the World Cup. They were tough, determined and inspirational. And congratulations to Southlander Lesley Nicol on her 100 tests for New Zealand and finally a World Championship. Persistence wins.


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