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Rt Hon Winston Peters - Speech In Reply

1 February 2005

Rt Hon Winston Peters – Notes prepared for Speech In Reply

Mr Speaker, looking around this chamber one can see on the faces of a number of members, expressions of disturbance, disillusionment, dismay and disbelief.

The others, to give them credit, are either bewildered or showing the symptoms of a long hot summer.

It’s easy to understand why some politicians give politics a bad name.

My advice to visitors to Wellington this week is that if you're hanging around with nothing to do and the zoo is closed, come over to Parliament, you'll get the same kind of performance and you won't have to pay to get in!

The speech by the Prime Minister was promoted as a “state of the nation” address – but she conveniently forgot to give us the full picture.

We heard about the few successes of her government, whatever they are, but the failures are spun under the carpet.

In this government by focus group for support groups hundreds of thousands of New Zealanders are forgotten.

This was meant to be a speech of vision – but what we got was a blend of myopia and badly constructed sound bites.

Given this sorry state of affairs, one would have thought those members of the Opposition to my right would have ripped big holes in this government’s defence.

Instead we heard the death rattles of a political corpse, continuing turgid monetarist nonsense.

We need real solutions – not the ghosts of right-wing government’s past.

The once great National party is heading down the same path that Brian Mulroney and Kim Campbell did with the Progressive Conservatives in Canada.

With the same policy prescriptions in 1993 the national party leader is promoting the Canadian Progressive Conservatives went from 169 seats out of a 295 seat parliament, to just two seats.

That’s right - after filling an airliner they were down to riding a tandem bicycle.

New Zealanders don’t want failed market policies.

Dr Brash seems to want to destroy his party with these same policies.

To give him credit he has one new idea.

He seems to have extended his policy of bashing those on the DPB to his own caucus. If a woman opposes him give her a whack.

If they disagree with him – they are gone by lunchtime!

Georgina Te Heuheu, Linda Scott and now Katherine Rich.

The good news is that there is a party ready, willing and able to be the real Opposition.

It’s called New Zealand First – that’s right New Zealand First!

Someone has to take this government to task for its non-performance.

Listening to both Labour and National over the past weeks – they appear to have decided that the institution of motherhood is a great evil.

On one hand Labour says we should solve our labour shortage by sending the mothers back to work while National proposes punitive measures to ensure that women are not lying around slacking in the home.

New Zealand First says that of all the groups, mothers make the most valuable contribution to New Zealand.

We stand here firmly on the side of mothers.

We think that they deserve more than being just a cheap source of labour for big business or whipping persons for failed politicians of the eighties.

Unlike the Prime Minister and Leader of the Opposition we in New Zealand First do not believe that most mothers just sit around idly wasting their time.

We know that bringing up children is a valuable, time consuming and often thankless task.

While it may not receive monetary rewards, it is a hugely valuable contribution to society.

Mothers also make up a huge proportion of the voluntary workforce in our society.

They support their children’s education, their sport and cultural activities and a myriad of other endeavours.

They fill the role of nurse, taxi driver, psychologist, housekeeper, cleaner, cook, diplomat and storyteller.

And yet neither this government nor the national party truly values them.

New Zealand First says if mothers want to work fair enough - but this should always be a choice and never an obligation.

It is not the role of mothers to fill our labour shortage and it is a desperate government that knows nothing about families, which promotes such thinking.

Thank goodness there is one party in parliament, which cares about mothers and values their contribution.

That party is New Zealand First.

Unlike us, the government is completely out of touch with ordinary people.

It has constructed a façade around its so-called economic management.

Well let me ask you this question – when is an economic boom not really an economic boom?

The answer – when nobody but a select few get to benefit from it.

People are starting to wake up to this.

The Prime Minister claims that economic indicators are positive and that we can’t improve our current performance.

Hang on – does she really mean we can’t do better?

What ever happened to her goal of getting New Zealand in the OECD Top Ten? What about our balance of payments crisis?

Since the Labour disaster of 1984, Australia has performed 35 percent better than New Zealand in real terms and even they say they can do better.

Every year we export thousands of debt-ridden young New Zealanders to Australia – and beyond. Student debt now stands at seven billion dollars!

We replace them with Third World immigrants. Like, how many taxi drivers do we need at the airport!

And what about the Prime Minister’s views on savings? They are nonsense.

Many New Zealanders are not earning enough to save for their retirement, let alone the deposit on a house.

Having just got through Christmas, many parents are paying through the nose to send their children to school for their “free” education.

It is not free – and everybody knows that this government is leaving our schools with a shortfall of at least $500 million dollars.

People also know that despite this so-called economic boom, more people are dying on hospital waiting lists.

In fact, since 2002 more than one thousand people have died on waiting lists each year. In the last year to August 2004 it was nearly twelve hundred.

This is an outrage and a sign of a callous, heartless government.

The Prime Minister claimed to have spent an extra 40 percent on health.

Who got it? Certainly not the patients dying on waiting lists.

In fact Treasury papers reveal that waiting lists are longer, the number of operations are fewer but the health bureaucracy is exploding.

This government talks about lowering the cost of pharmaceuticals but in this case you really do get what you pay for – cheap drugs for the Third World.

Now, only the rich can get the best drugs on the market.

We have a housing crisis.

Housing has become less affordable for the average Kiwi family and this government has brought in more migrants to keep house prices rising.

It has shortsighted monetary policy programmes, which keeps our dollar high, interest rates high and strangles both the homeowner and the exporter.

These same households that are struggling to find an affordable home have not seen their wages rise in real terms for five years.

They have seen all of their extra productivity siphoned off into dividends for mainly foreign owners.

Telecom is now considering making huge payments to its shareholders – on top of their bloated dividends.

This is a company with the slowest Internet service in the world but the fastest billing service.

This is a government that promised lower power prices.

Yeah right!

Consumers are paying up to 40 percent more for electricity that they were two years ago.

This is not keeping pace with inflation; this is simply ripping the consumer off.

How does this government expect the elderly to find the money for this price gouging by state owned power companies.

Especially when they are being ripped off with their super – now $35 a week in arrears.

And what about families, with no extra money in the wage packet ?

This government tells people it will give them an extra $80 a week in benefits but in a strong economy we would see wages go up two hundred dollars a week.

New Zealanders want fair pay – not welfare that can be taken away any time.

And speaking of fairness, at the core of this government’s failures is its lack of understanding of what policies bring true dividends.

It is an obsession with an approach based on immigration-fuelled consumption to prop up their façade.

It is an obsession with political correctness at the expense of reality.

The result is that hard working New Zealanders are missing out.

Look at the fishing industry where New Zealanders are being shunted out to make way for cheap foreign labour.

This situation down in Nelson of a fishing company swapping New Zealand labour for cheap immigrants is just the tip of the iceberg.

There are now about 3000 cheap foreign workers in the fishing industry now – all here at the expense of New Zealand workers.

It’s a disgrace – and some of these overseas workers are living in old containers on the waterfront.

Perhaps this is a new idea for housing – put everyone who can’t afford a house into a container!

We now have the situation in New Zealand of having to buy our own fish in tins, which were processed, overseas.

How can that be? Why is New Zealand fish processed in Thailand?

Who profits from this? Well its not us I can tell you that.

The government’s formula is to use cheap immigrant labour to force New Zealand wages down – but to keep consumption artificially up.

Foreign owners make their profits – New Zealand workers are forced to fight for third world wages.

This is an outrage.

This is not the New Zealand way.

When will this government understand that the key to our economic success lies in building our export sector?

That the basis of an effective economic plan must be to have a dollar that helps increase exports.

We must have an export plan, which targets potential markets and a government attitude that supports export growth instead of having a Reserve Bank that stifles it.

We must end this government’s style of token gestures and half measures aimed at papering over the cracks.

Since when has gay marriage ever been more important than reducing hospital waiting lists and educating our children?

The Prime Minister says building a strong New Zealand requires leadership, commitment and good policies.

We agree. And there is some leadership, commitment and good policies ready and waiting right here.

We also would add HOPE.

New Zealand First is here with a plan for those who Labour and National have forgotten.

We value the mothers in society.

We have a plan, which values our senior citizens.

We have an export plan for our business sector.

We value New Zealand workers and want to reward them with First World wages.

We want to rebuild New Zealand for New Zealanders.

We are sick and tired of this government turning this country into cheap labour for so-called foreign investors.

We want to return this once great country to the people and we will not rest until we have done so.

ENDS

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