Winston Peters Address & Reply Debate Speech
Rt Hon Winston Peters
PARLIAMENTARY SPEECH – Tuesday 10 February 2004
There are times in this Parliament when one is truly moved by the eloquence of impassioned and sincere speeches given by inspired orators who lift the standard of this place and give Parliament a purpose and meaning for which the public are grateful.
Thus far – this is not one of those occasions!
The Prime Minister’s speech reeked of smugness and complacency while the response from my right was a B grade speech read out word for word by a B grade leader of a B grade team and crafted by a B grade research team.
It was devoid of feeling and devoid of fact.
A lot of what the National party leader said was both true and new – sadly what was true was not new and what was new was not true.
It was the verbal equivalent of the Prime Minister being mauled by a Chouhauhau.
We all know that there is an arsenal of ammunition for a political assault on the Prime Minister’s speech.
The Prime Minister once again failed to deal with the issues that worry New Zealanders.
It was an appeal to apathy and offers no hope.
Our inexorable slide to the Third World continues.
The soaring cost of electricity and a Minister who promises further increases of 15 percent;
The escalating cost of running the family car – as the dollar goes up so too does the price of petrol;
Closing schools – just like she closed hospital after hospital when she was last Minister of Health.
A sick health system – exporting women for treatment abroad and corroding a free health system that we brought in for young children.
A skyrocketing New Zealand dollar on the verge of causing meltdown amongst exporters and government paralysis in reacting to it.
So one wonders from whence comes the conceit to suggest that she is a victim of her own success as a popular and competent Prime Minister.
History of course, will take another view of her government.
Already the signs of failure are growing from behind the feel-good façade, the spin and the propaganda carefully cultivated by Ministers and their minders.
It is a facade of prosperity born of the politics of consumption and a property boom the key driver of which has been an open-door immigration policy.
But try as they might nothing can obscure the fact that this government is failing on the most fundamental issues.
Our standard of living against the OECD countries is in decline. Nothing that Labour has done or what the Prime Minister has just said can stop that.
Our quality of life as New Zealanders is deteriorating every day and nothing Labour has done can stop that.
More and more New Zealanders are time poor, they live now to work and not work to live and nothing Labour has done can stop that.
Three years ago the esteemed British publication the Economist warned that: “New Zealand looks to be the first country in fifty years to go from the First World to the Third World…” and nothing Labour has done can stop that.
We are treading water economically and in foreign policy we have become a lonely group of islands at the bottom of the world.
Former friends are now purely acquaintances.
LAW AND ORDER
One of the most fundamental issues to any society is law and order and if there is one area where the government’s smugness is totally unjustified it is here.
We New Zealanders have a right to be safe in our own homes and on our own streets.
Things do not get much more basic than that.
But Helen Clark and Co are not much bothered about what actually matters to New Zealanders because in a long speech, only one paragraph is devoted to crime.
One paragraph out of 97!
We are being hit by a crime wave that mars the lives of tens of thousands of New Zealanders and Helen Clark and Labour dismiss it with one paragraph of clichés.
This Government’s response to crime is characterised by resignation and defeat.
Its crime strategy reminds me of Dusty Springfield’s famous line - remember it? “Wishing and hoping and thinking and praying” – for things to get better!
New Zealanders have had enough rhetoric –enough navel gazing – enough rationalising and excuse making, enough wishing, enough hoping, enough thinking and enough praying!
They want action! They want the police to be out there fighting crime – not hiding in the bushes on the side of the road taking photographs of cars going past.
Why was there nothing new in the Prime Minister’s speech about tackling crime?
For unless the Government takes drastic action,
Crime will go on increasing;
Crime will continue to be a paying proposition in New Zealand;
Crime will take on new and ever more dangerous dimensions such as the infiltration of Asian criminal gangs and the growth of Maori gangs.
And let’s face an unpleasant fact – the biggest growth industry under this government is child prostitution. Girls as young as fourteen working in the brothels established under this government.
THE TREATY OF WAITANGI
And now to the Treaty. For Labour and its acolytes the Treaty is the measure of all things – the Holy Grail, the touchstone – the alpha and the omega.
For National – after Orewa – the Treaty is to be air brushed out of history like one of Stalin’s henchmen who has been denounced.
So who was it – own up – who was it that gave Doug Graham a knighthood and what was its justification?
A leopard does not change its spots.
Both Labour and National in their different ways are seeking to perpetrate massive fraud on the rest of us on the Treaty issue.
This year’s National leader rises at Orewa in his so-called state of the nation address, seemingly oblivious to history and fact, and claims that he and his MPs have been asking questions in Parliament about what the principles of the Treaty mean.
Is that so – is that true, is that a fact?
For I have here a record of NZ First asking scores of questions challenging the Government on this very issue.
Pray tell me when did Mr Brash ask any question of any minister on this subject?
This leader’s record on this issue is not a syllable not a sound not a mutter not a murmur.
We are not criticising his attempt to plagiarise NZ First’s position on this issue.
After all imitation is the most sincere form of flattery.
But how about an acknowledgement – a bit of honesty?
We in NZ First want to tell the National Party this.
Steal our policies if you
will – we don’t mind.
Steal our phrases, steal our language, and steal our speeches, we don’t mind.
But to be sincere on this issue one has to have courage, one has to have conviction, to have commitment and one has to have an alternative vision.
And their record on those four things is one of moral vacuum.
The Treaty, which should bind us, has become a source of division and real leadership is needed to overcome this.
We are losing sight of the fact that those who signed and supported the Treaty had something that is in short supply right now – vision.
Their vision was of a united nation – a people at peace with each other – and respecting and acknowledging each other.
When you look at the world of 1840 and the record of human affairs since then, New Zealand got a far better start than anywhere else!
To Labour we say stop treating the Treaty like some sort of all-purpose gap filler that has to appear in all legislation, all policy and every official document.
To National we say that owning up to their past conduct in promoting the burgeoning Treaty industry is well overdue.
And as for the Orewa doctrine – let’s all ask ourselves this question: what doctrine disowns the daughter of New Zealand’s esteemed Maori family who gave the jewel of the central North island – the National Park for all New Zealanders - and whose political record has always been one of moderation and respect?
We say again to National, plagiarise our speeches, plagiarise our phrases, our questions in Parliament but you can’t plagiarise our principles, our courage and our vision for this country.
For the past sixteen years we have warned about separatism and the Treaty industry.
National – ignored those warnings and helped set it up. I know – I was there – and now you are trying to play Pontius Pilate!
New Zealand First’s position is that the Treaty Industry is unravelling the social fabric and cohesion of this country and we said it long before this “Donny come lately” appeared on the scene.
We in New Zealand First represent New Zealanders of all backgrounds who believe in the future of this country – and who want the Treaty to contribute to that end not undermine it.
In January this year a NZ Herald –DigiPoll survey shed light on what New Zealanders actually think about immigration and they think too many immigrants are coming.
The results of the poll ought to give Lianne ‘head in the sand’ Dalziel something to think about.
New Zealanders know that the rate of immigration has been and continues to be excessive.
Let us put the situation into context.
Allowing for births and deaths New Zealand had a natural increase of about 27,000 in the year ended June 2003.
With migration flows running well in excess of that number the government is pursuing an undeclared policy of rapidly replacing Kiwis with foreigners.
What sort of government runs a settler policy aimed at swamping its own population? And National supports that!
The Prime Minister and her colleagues prefer to live in their own politically correct never-never land.
A never-never land that throws a Sri Lankan rape victim back to the abuse she came from and yet spends millions to keep a suspected terrorist in New Zealand.
That’s right. Send home a sick teenager and keep a terrorist!
Helen Clark confirmed today that the Government has lost sight of what is important to New Zealanders.
We are the only party in this Parliament that is committed to addressing the concerns and priorities of all New Zealanders.
Because we do not share this government’s view that New Zealand is nothing more than a collection of sub-tribes – Pakeha –Maori -Pacific Peoples – the Indian Community – the Chinese Community and so on.
We say to the Government -- give political correctness a rest and work on the basics.
And we say to the B team – stick to banking!