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Taking Auckland's Pulse -- Rodney Hide

Taking Auckland's Pulse

Sunday 22 Aug 2004
Rodney Hide
Speeches -- Other

Speech to "Taking Auckland's Pulse" public meeting; Bruce Mason Centre; Takapuna; Sunday August 22, 2004.

Thank you Gerry. Thank you ladies and gentlemen.

Gerry Eckhoff travelled the length and breadth of New Zealand mobilising support against the dopey fart tax. He won that one.

Gerry is now hitting the road again. This time against the Labour Government's attack on private property. Prime Minister Helen Clark is planning to make it ok to trespass. She figures that farmers don't vote for her. But those who want to walk across farmers' land without permission might.

We are hoping that Gerry can mobilise support against this latest bit of dopey socialism. I don't think Ms Clark would be so keen if it were her property being opened up to the public.

The next election is shaping up to be a real contest.

The Prime Minister now has a fight on her hands.

I believe that Don Brash head to head will beat Helen Clark.

He is more competent. He has better policies. He has a better vision for New Zealand.

We also have a contest amongst the minor parties. Which ones will survive? Which ones are the coalition partners?

The potential coalition partners for Labour are the Maori Party and the Greens. Scary stuff. Labour are bad enough on their own. Imagine them propped up by Rod Donald and Tariana Turia. That's the stuff of nightmares.

ACT has made it clear that we support Don Brash to be the next Prime Minister of New Zealand. That's because his values and vision most closely align with ACT's. ACT and Don Brash can work together for the good of the country.

Peter Dunne and Winston Peters are hedging their bets. They won't tell New Zealanders who they will support. They want to decide the government themselves after the election. I believe that voters will punish them for that arrogance. Voters should get to choose the government - not Winston Peters, not Peter Dunne.

In the meantime, we can only judge them by their actions. Peter Dunne props up Helen Clark. Winston Peters spends his time attacking Don Brash and the National Party.

I don't believe that a government with Winston Peters is stable. I certainly can't see him working constructively with Don Brash for our country's benefit.

The goal must be for National and ACT to do sufficiently well to be able to govern alone after the next election. Under MMP a Prime Minister needs a good mate. For Don Brash that mate is ACT.

My aim for ACT is to achieve seven percent plus of the party vote. I want New Zealanders to vote strategically for ACT with their party vote to provide Don Brash with the support that he needs to be the great Prime Minister for New Zealand that he can be.

A party vote for ACT is a vote that ensures that Don Brash doesn't have to compromise.

But a party vote for ACT is more than that. It is a vote for a free and prosperous New Zealand. It is a vote for individual choice and personal responsibility.

A vote for ACT is a vote to get taxes down. It's a vote to get our welfare rolls down. It's a vote for quality education where parents get a say. The more votes that ACT gets the lower we can get taxes. That's why a vote for ACT is so important.

Since taking on the leadership of ACT I have been travelling the country. I have been meeting members and supporters and everyday New Zealanders. I have learnt a lot.

New Zealanders appreciate being able to talk to their politicians. They don't hold back on what they think needs to be done. It's clear that there's a rising groundswell against Helen Clark and her government.

Today we are back in Auckland. Auckland is critical to New Zealand's success. It's critical commercially, culturally and politically.

It's so important that I have brought my entire Caucus to Auckland.

The ACT party started in Auckland ten years ago. We have always achieved our best support in Auckland. Auckland has been good to us as a party. We have always worked hard to return that support.

That's why we are here today. To launch a campaign over the next two months to take the pulse of Auckland.

Why? Because Auckland has been neglected by central government politicians for years.

We had Jim Bolger from Te Kuiti. Jenny Shipley from Ashburton.

Sure, we have now got Helen Clark from Mt Albert. But the best that she could do was give us Judith Tizard, Minister for Auckland Affairs. Has any Aucklander noticed any difference following that stunning appointment? I don't think so.

Finance Minister Michael Cullen in the Taranaki-King Country by-election declared Auckland an economic deadweight around the rest of New Zealand. That was his appreciation of Auckland back then. I don't believe that it has changed.

Besides, Helen Clark's values aren't Auckland values. She is not about getting ahead. She is not about making business. She is not about creating wealth.

Helen Clark is all about carving up the economic cake. Her policies are all about making it tougher to be in business and harder to get ahead. That's not the Auckland way. That's not the New Zealand way.

Let me make one thing clear: ACT is committed to Auckland. We know that policies that are good for New Zealand are good for Auckland. We know that policies that are good for Auckland are good for New Zealand.

Over the next two months we are going to be taking the pulse of Auckland. We want to find out what the critical issues are and what can be done to make our great city an even better place in which to live, to work and to play.

I have asked Muriel Newman and Deborah Coddington to head up the project. It will involve each and every ACT MP getting out and about in Auckland. We will be having meetings with community leaders, educators, business leaders, local body politicians, and Aucklanders at work, at play and in their homes.

Auckland is a city of success and achievement. ACT is the only party that wants to see that success and achievement celebrated and rewarded. That's why we opposed Helen Clark putting the tax rate up to 39 cents. We opposed that tax rate then. We oppose it now.

ACT believes that to succeed and achieve, we must celebrate and reward success and achievement. That's why we want taxes down. The surplus in the Budget was sufficient to drop income tax - both personal and company - to a top rate of 20 cents, without cutting government spending. No other measure that government could do would give Auckland and the country such a boost.

But what did Michael Cullen do? He kept your money but will hand it back to you if you apply - and if he deems you needy. Turns out under Labour you are needy if you earn $100,000 and have six children. I believe that. But why not just let people keep more of the money that they earn in the first place? That would be so much simpler and easier.

But that's not the Labour Party's way. They would rather make you apply to get your own money back. That makes you dependent on them.

ACT will ensure that families have more money each week by keeping more of what they earn. ACT will ensure that every business is more profitable by allowing each business to keep more of what they produce.

But there is much more that we must do. Our government has an ideological aversion to private enterprise. The result is Aucklanders queued up in pain unable to get treatment. It's wrong to let politics get in the way of much needed health treatment. We are fortunate to have Heather Roy as our Health spokesman.

Our future success depends on how well we teach the next generation. Our politicians are making a hash of it, but Deborah Coddington, our Education spokesman, is going to let parents have a real say in education.

How's this? We have businesses screaming out for workers that they can't get. But 10 percent of Aucklanders are trapped on welfare. Muriel Newman has put the urgent need of welfare reform on the political agenda.

When I first came to Auckland the city ran out of water. The downtown was then blacked out, no power. We have now run out of roads. There has been a total failure of political leadership on Auckland's infrastructure. There is no one more able to get Auckland moving than Richard Prebble.

The Resource Management Act is stifling business in Auckland. It is making it next to impossible to develop and prosper. It can be fixed. Ken Shirley will explain how we can prosper and look after our environment.

We need to make our streets safe again. We need to make our homes safe. We need to make our places of work safe. Stephen Franks has led the charge on cracking down on the bad guys so that the rest of us can be safe.

Auckland is a glorious city. It makes up just 60 square kilometres. And one-third of all New Zealanders choose to live and work here.

It's easy to see why. The beautiful beaches. The harbour. The business. It's international feel and cosmopolitan flavour. It's a great city.

ACT wants to make it even better.

Over the next two months we will be finding out more about what the issues are in Auckland. We will be coming up with common sense solutions to take to Parliament and on into government.

Our goals are simple enough:

· We want to make Auckland the safest city in the world

· We want to provide a first rate transport system

· We want to ensure a first class education system

· We want a health system that delivers

· We want a welfare system that helps the needy, but doesn't trap people in poverty and despair

· We want Auckland to be the easiest city in the world to do business in.

We have seen how cities like Athens and Sydney can overcome problems and political paralysis. We can do the same here for Auckland.

With ACT MPs in government, Auckland will have a strong voice, and a commitment to making the great city of Auckland an even greater city.

That I can assure you. Thank you.

ENDS

For more information visit ACT online at http://www.act.org.nz or contact the ACT Parliamentary Office at act@parliament.govt.nz.


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