Rodney Hide's Trust The People Speech
Trust The People
Rodney Hide Speech to ACT Upper South Regional Conference; The George Hotel, 50 Park Tce, Christchurch; Saturday October 2, 2004
Ladies and Gentlemen.
The ACT Party trusts the people of New Zealand.
The Labour Party doesn't.
That's the difference between the two parties.
I trust Kiwis to look after themselves and each other. Helen Clark doesn't. Helen Clark believes in busybody government bossing people about.
Helen Clark wants to tell every Kiwi what to do. I want every Kiwi to be free to do what they want to do.
I believe that individual Kiwis have far more sense than government. Helen Clark thinks all the brains and care rests in government.
I believe the brains and care rests with individual Kiwis. I find government heartless and stupid.
The evidence of the Clark government backs me up.
What Kiwi would spend $500,000 sending a braying port-a-loo to Venice as art?
Who would give murderer and rapist Andrew Ronald MacMillan $1,200 compensation because his jailers apparently hurt his feelings by not showing him the full contents of a letter a worried father sent them?
Who on earth would think a fart tax was a good idea? Well, Helen Clark did.
And how heartless is a government when the health minister tells a dying girl's mum to go and see her local MP about getting higher up the waiting list? That young girl died before her mum could even get an appointment.
Government is heartless. Government is stupid. It's too big too care. It's too rule-bound to think.
Helen Clark doesn't employ any one with her own money. But she wants to tell everyone who does how to do it. That breathtaking arrogance is found only in government.
Helen Clark has never run a business. But she presumes to tell everyone who does how to do it.
Helen Clark wants government to do everything. The result is that it does nothing well.
I want government to do just a few things well.
Things like keeping us safe from the thugs and the bullies.
Things like having simple laws that we can all understand, which are reasonable, and which are enforced.
Things like providing basic infrastructure like roads and transport systems.
Helen Clark doesn't care for the basics. She wants government deciding what's art, what's a family and what we can and can't do in our own home, in our places of work, and with our own money and our own resources.
Helen Clark is a control freak. She wants freedom for government to do what she wants. But no freedom for people to make their own choices.
Helen Clark is anti-success and anti-achievement. Those who work and produce are penalised. Those who don't are rewarded. Hardworking Kiwis pay tax so that vicious killers get compo.
Helen Clark doesn't trust Kiwis with their own money. She has put up taxes, wasted millions on failed programmes and presides over an obscene $7.4 billion surplus.
The $7.4 billion surplus represents 16 percent of the total tax take. That surplus isn't Helen Clark's. It belongs to every taxpayer. It belongs to everyday Kiwis, not government, not politicians, not bureaucrats. The government didn't produce that surplus. Hardworking kiwis did.
Returning that surplus to New Zealanders would drop taxes to a top rate of 20 cents and GST to 10 cents. That would still leave the government a surplus of $500m. Everyone would benefit from that.
Helen Clark's solution is always to take more money from people.
Since coming to power she has put up income tax, fringe benefit tax, trust income tax and withholding tax.
Helen Clark has increased taxes on petrol, tobacco, alcohol and an introduced an import fee.
She has increased ACC levies, Driver Licence fees, the Fire Service levy. She has introduced an Export Education Levy, a levy on power generators and line owners, and a gambling levy.
Helen Clark's answer to every problem is the same one: government must take more money.
Under Helen Clark, the total tax taken from Kiwis has increased a third. Back in 1999, the total tax take was $34.4 billion. Last year it was $45.5 billion.
I asked the Parliamentary Library to figure out how much extra tax the average family is paying under Helen Clark. The answer? A whopping $2,900 a year. That's a 15 percent increase.
The average household is paying an extra $56 a week.
Helen Clark then complains that Kiwis aren't saving enough. It's easy to see why. The government doesn't let them keep enough of their own money to save.
The average household last year paid $21,872 in tax. That's 35 percent of the average household's total income. No wonder they don't save - they don't have any money left after government's taken its whack.
Helen Clark's solution to Kiwis not saving enough is to take even more of their money. She's taking an extra $2 billion a year to stick in the so-called Cullen Fund. That's another $1,300 a year per household.
Helen Clark's solution is to have the government save for everyone.
But she knows that $2 billion is still not enough.
So now government is going to make it easier for us to save. Not by letting us keep more of our own money. But by taking even more. The proposal is for the IRD to take more money out of each worker's pay packet. The IRD will then send that money off to some central administrator who will then invest the money on your behalf.
But it won't be compulsory. The default position is that government will take it. But if you ask not to have it taken and invested for you then you will get to keep up. Notice the presumption: it's for the government to decide what to do with the money you earn unless you nominate otherwise. I wouldn't mind that if that was the rule for The 35 percent of kiwi's money the government is taking now.
And think about this? Once that apparatus is set up, how long will Helen Clark leave it with an opt out? Helen Clark is not into choice. She is into compulsion. And not this: the money to be invested on you behalf is not coming out of any tax reduction - it is coming on top of the money that you already pay in tax. It's an extra impost.
That's Helen Clark's solution to every problem. She simply doesn't trust people with their own money.
Kiwis would be far better off if Helen Clark just allowed them to keep more of what they earned. So too would the economy. We could have more money in our pay packets each week and a more prosperous. I trust Kiwis with the money they earn more than I trust any government with it.
True to form, Helen Clark's approach to crime is to make the police another revenue-gatherer for the government.
I believe that it is a fundamental duty of government to keep people safe from the thugs and the bullies. Helen Clark hopes that photo opportunities and glib answers in Parliament can fix it.
ACT knows the solution is to stop crime from paying.
ACT wants this to be the safest country in the world.
We want the elderly to feel safe in their homes. We want women to feel safe in the streets.
ACT wants the police to catch criminals, not make money for the government.
Helen Clark wants government to "close the gaps" and make for better race relations. Her strategy has probed a total disaster. Her plan was to take more money and spend it "closing the gaps" She's still doing that - but has given up on it ever working. She now believes we can "close the gaps" between Maori and non-Maori with shorter powhiri.
Tariana Turia says that she wants Maori to be independent. But independence doesn't come from clinging to government handouts. There is little hope, and no freedom, when you rely on Helen Clark to fix all your problems.
True independence comes when you stop being a victim of chance, a victim of government, and take responsibility for your own life.
ACT doesn't believe Maori are any less capable than other New Zealanders. That's why we don't believe Maori need special treatment.
Political parties based on race cannot bring people together. They bring division and despair.
We want to settle legitimate Treaty grievances and to let Maori have their day in court. And when the verdict's in, we want to move into the future as a united nation.
ACT trusts the people of New Zealand. Sure, we know we all make mistakes. But we learn from them. That's a difference between people and government. Government never seems to learn.
Commentators have been keen to label the ACT party radical. Maybe they are right. Up against Helen Clark's policies, trusting the people of New Zealand does appear radical.