New Zealand First - Your Insurance Policy for 2005
28 May 2004
“New Zealand First - Your Insurance Policy For 2005"
Speech to Hibiscus GreyPower Annual General
Orewa Community Hall (Hibiscus Coast) By Rt Hon Winston Peters
Friday, 28 May 2004 at 2.00pm
It has been a busy week in Wellington.
It started with the celebration of one hundred and fifty years of Parliamentary democracy in New Zealand.
And it is ending with the Budget delivered in the House yesterday and the post mortems.
If you look around at the rest of the world even the most cynical amongst us have to concede that democracy in New Zealand, inefficient and muddled as it is, is better than any dictatorship.
Today I want to outline how we see our role in New Zealand’s broader political context in the prelude to the 2005 election because it is clear that we will have a pivotal role in forming the next government.
First we want to make it clear that as a centrist party, New Zealand First provides an insurance policy against the return of unbridled power to New Zealand politics.
It is an axiom of politics in a modern democracy that the centre of gravity of the electorate is found in the middle ground.
The voting public have an innate – and well founded – distrust of political extremism whether it is on the Left or the Right of the political spectrum.
So where is the middle ground of New Zealand politics? Where is the centre?
One way to answer that is to say that New Zealand First is the party that understands the reality of the centre ground best.
Why can we make such an assertion so confidently?
Because we know that New Zealanders want a sensible and properly enforced immigration policy.
Because we know that New Zealanders want to be safe in their homes and on their streets.
Because we know that New Zealanders want an end to the corrosive and damaging influence of the Treaty Industry.
Only one party has consistently committed to deliver results in all three areas.
If you look at the at the direction events are moving in each of those key areas you will recognise they are moving towards the New Zealand First position.
Neither Labour nor National will honestly acknowledge the trend because everything points to the fact that New Zealand First is the only party that truly occupies the centre ground.
In terms of key policies the two old parties are coming to us and shamelessly copying our policy positions.
So although our opponents, and the media, like to brand us as extremists this is just a political ploy – it does not equate with the reality.
If you want to see the real extremists in New Zealand politics look at:
- the intellectual left who advocate and support policies that undermine our identity;
-the social engineers of Labour who insist that the state knows best on every aspect of our lives;
- the PC zealots who want to suppress legitimate debate by name-calling and smear tactics;
- the fanatics of the far right who believe that market forces must rule all our relationships;
-and the jingoists who want us to blindly follow Uncle Sam into battle anywhere, anytime!
In Labour and National the public is confronted by two camps of ideologues.
Both parties are short on common sense and have shown repeatedly how little they understand the aspirations of ordinary Kiwis.
New Zealand First is the buffer zone between these warring camps.
While we are not a party of extremes, we make no apology for being nationalistic:
-if that means defending New Zealand’s economic interests vigorously;
- if that means putting the interests of our citizens first;
- or if that means standing up for the rights of ordinary New Zealanders.
At the next election no single party, even if it is the largest party, will have the numbers to govern alone.
There will be a coalition government.
And in that coalition government New Zealand First will hold the balance of political responsibility.
This is because New Zealanders know that they need a political insurance policy because a successful coalition needs a strong centre party.
The last thing New Zealanders want is to find themselves being ground down beneath the millstone of a single party with a Parliamentary majority.
That is why FPP was dumped in favour of MMP.
Now we have an electoral system that ensures that neither of the old parties can monopolise power with all the associated risks and dangers.
It is worth remembering that neither Helen Clark nor Don Brash are among Nature’s moderates.
They are both comfortable on the ideological frontiers of their parties.
If we look at Labour on its own we see that party presenting a particular risk to New Zealand’s future.
That risk arises because of Labour’s fatal obsession with ‘diversity” – that curious creature born of political correctness and the race relations industry.
The relentless promotion of ‘diversity’ is not a recipe for nirvana but is actually undermining our sense of national identity.
Diversity is a wonderful all purpose word but what it really means is that New Zealand is becoming a society dissolving into competing ‘communities’.
In this situation, what actually develops is a culture of grievance, in which each community sees themselves as a victim.
What was wrong with us all being New Zealanders?
Now we are told the term New Zealander has to be qualified – we are of European descent – Maori - Indian – Asian – Pacific Island peoples - anything but New Zealanders.
New Zealanders are being left with nothing to hold in common – nothing to identify with.
The majority are growing resentful at what it sees as the special treatment that some groups get – a resentment National seeks to fan and exploit.
Meanwhile, minority groups are clinging ever tighter to their own distinct communities.
New Zealand First is totally opposed to Labour’s idea of “balkanising” our country into a set of rival cultural interests.
We do have a distinct culture that we can be proud of that has itself evolved from our proud history.
Our values are built around our democratic heritage – our belief in the rule of law – -freedom of speech - our sense of fairness and toleration.
Despite what the media tell you, we should be proud rather than apologetic of being Kiwi.
And that is why New Zealand First says migrants need to become truly equal citizens - not by denying their heritage but by joining mainstream society rather than staying locked into their own communal enclaves.
And we say that when immigrants arrive in such numbers that they can’t be harmoniously absorbed then common sense demands that the brakes be applied.
However, common sense is not something that can ever be taken for granted with either Labour or National.
Both of them have a habit of listening only to those who confirm their prejudices.
-For Labour it’s the unions, the pinky fingered liberals, social activists and the do-gooders.
-For National it’s big business, Uncle Sam and the rednecks.
So what does National offer?
National appears to have escaped their near death experience.
But it is too early to say whether the patient will make a full recovery or whether it will stay in post operative care.
There is one rather large insect in the ointment of National’s revival.
Its name is Don “Hurricane” Brash.
Dr Brash has a number of qualities – but being a leader for all of New Zealand is not one of them.
Something odd happened on the way to Orewa but one plagiarised speech doth not a campaign make.
And it is interesting to observe that Don Brash minders and spin-masters go to great lengths to keep him away from the real cut and thrust of politics.
He has the same fatal weakness as one of his predecessors – remember Jenny Shipley?
Like Dr Brash she thought politics was all about standing at a podium with a prepared statement.
The New Zealand electorate is too smart to embrace the pitiless market-worshipping ethos of the National Party and the sale of our remaining state assets.
New Zealanders know they will need a strong centrist party to curb National’s rapacious instincts.
Because the Brash vision is for a New Zealand characterised by inequality and division and that is why ACT is disappearing from the political landscape.
Everyone knows that Don Brash is the finest leader that ACT never had.
ACT’s woes are terminal and their Parliamentary days are numbered.
Similarly, the Greens are of limited value to anyone as a serious coalition partner because they are more like a street parade or protest march than a Parliamentary party.
When you look beneath the surface of the passing floats what you see is that the show rests on an odd assortment of rather ramshackle trucks and trailers.
The Greens are more of an assembly of causes than a party – and those causes range from the sensible, through the mildly bizarre, to those that are off-the-planet.
The trouble is - it is never clear whether you are seeing the sensible or the nutty end of their parade!
To sum them up – the Greens oppose smoking, unless it’s marijuana - and guess which party supported the mad idea of 12 year olds having legal sex. Yes – it was the Greens.
There will be many twists and turns on the road to the 2005 election.
We believe that the next government cannot be formed until New Zealanders first cast their vote.
That’s why we do not play media games and work out coalition positions before the people have their say at the ballot box.
But, we will play a constructive part in the task of forming the next government.
Because we believe that only a strong centre party can counteract the extremes of both Labour and National.
New Zealand First
will keep the old parties’ ambitions and fantasies in
As we did in the last election, we will be putting a concrete policy agenda to the public
Because we are the one party that has the freedom to respond to specific situations realistically and based on what the national interest requires.
We helped set up the much needed Superannuation fund and more recently the Government adopted our ideas to resolve the foreshore and seabed issue.
New Zealand will need a clear sighted and clear headed centre party in 2005.
We are that party.