Peters - “It’s The Vision Thing”
27 April 2005
An address by Rt Hon Winston Peters to members of Grey Power Hastings & Districts and members of the public at 1.00pm on Wednesday, 27 April 2005 at St Andrew’s Hall, Cnr Lyndon Road & Market Street, Hastings
“It’s The Vision Thing”
Several years ago there was a popular movie called ‘City Slickers’.
It told the story of a group of city dwellers including Billy Crystal, being escorted across outback America herding cattle, by a weathered and wrinkled old cowhand named Curly played by Jack Palance.
In one of the more poignant moments of the film, the wizened old character Curly turns to Bill Crystal’s character and tells him that the meaning of life came down to just one thing.
And he then held up a single craggy weather-beaten finger to reinforce his point.
These were to be Curly’s final words as he closed his eyes, passed away, and left Billy Crystal’s character to ponder on what he meant.
What was this one thing that mattered most?
Let me tell you today that the election in 2005 will ultimately be about one thing and one thing only.
Unlike Curly, I am quite happy to tell you what that one thing is – it is leadership.
Leadership, particularly in a political context, is often hard to define.
Some people describe it as effective management – and the current Prime Minister is certainly adept at managing the flow of spin surrounding Labour’s agenda of social engineering.
And now thanks to Mr Tamihere if we were in any doubt about this agenda it is now out there for all to see. This Prime Minister has made a virtue of managing her people and resources to see that agenda through.
As a consequence New Zealand has experienced the most aggressive period of social reform in living history, with almost every social norm that we once accepted now turned on its head.
From gay marriage, which actually came into effect yesterday, through to legalised prostitution.
From banning our old soldiers from having a smoke at their RSA through to open door immigration policies.
From the burgeoning treaty gravy train through to the feminising of every key position in the country – every thread of what we once recognised of being a New Zealander has changed under this government.
One could say that the Prime Minister has cynically and deliberately managed this agenda.
In the other tired old party in New Zealand, we see the last vestiges of the ‘born to rule’ mentality as a form of leadership.
It is not based on merit or skill, but rather an arcane view that simply because they exist they should be in charge.
Sadly, much of our media still fall prey to this thinking and grant this party far more time and coverage than they deserve.
They are constantly trying to breath life into a political corpse, which has long since passed from political relevance and is now nothing more than a pale shadow of a once great party.
There is of course another type of leadership which will be one displayed during this election campaign.
It is not one based on cynical management or on a born to rule mentality – but it is one based on a vision which will inspire and uplift New Zealanders.
Ultimately it is this style of leadership which gives people hope.
It is this type of leadership that the current Prime Minister fears most.
She knows that if the people have hope, her subversive social agenda will be compromised.
Her government is like a black hole which devours light and hope and replaces it with first complacency and then despair.
We raise this point because it will be the defining element of this campaign.
This is because Don Brash is simply not capable of taking the Prime Minister on.
He is not strong enough – he is a political hitch hiker.
Politically impotent, devoid of original ideas, he lacks any spark or charisma.
In fact there is only one leader capable of taking on this Prime Minister and he is staring you in the face.
There is only one with the experience, skill and political aptitude to tackle her head on.
Political leadership is not a game for novices.
You would have thought the National party would have learnt from the last two novices they put forward to tackle this Prime Minister.
They have made the same mistake again.
We in New Zealand First know that there is no substitute for experience and political nous.
There is another reason this Prime Minister does not want to have to confront New Zealand First.
We are not like the doormats she is used to dealing with – like United Future.
What sort of Christian party allows prostitution to be legalised and gay marriages to go ahead on their watch and then has the gall to claim it provided the stability for the government to do it?
This Prime Minister knows she can placate these minions with a soothing word here and there – or perhaps it is as Mr Tamihere describes and she sends Dr Cullen to outwit them.
Either way, this Prime Minister knows that if it is New Zealand First she has to deal with then all the tossers, tuggers, and smarmers in the world will not stand in the way of us achieving what we promise those who support us.
We will be campaigning on providing hope to those people who have been forgotten – and that includes our seniors.
Earlier this month at the Greypower AGM we outlined our senior citizens policy.
It is a policy based on providing the deserving elderly with some optimism for their future.
We highlighted our intention to introduce a Golden Age Card which encapsulates many of those aspects necessary to improve the quality of life for our seniors.
The first point was to raise the level of superannuation from the current rate of 32.5 percent of the Net Average Wage individually for each married superanuitant to 34 percent.
This will put nearly $10 a week extra in your pockets.
In the long term our aim is to lift superannuation to 72.5 percent of the Net Average Wage for couples.
We will also address the anomaly which exists in relation to the non-qualified spouse and bring their rebate rate down from 70 cents in the dollar on income over $80 to 30 cents like other benefits.
The card also includes improved subsidies for healthcare and pharmaceuticals.
We intend to ensure that the subsidies currently available to those enrolled in a Primary Health Organisation are extended to all GPs to ensure that location does not dictate the cost of your doctors’ visits.
We also intend to:
improve the rates rebate scheme;
lower charges for power, gas and telephone;
improve access to savings incentives in the form of bonus interest rates on term deposits;
and extend transport and other discounts available to seniors.
We are proposing that the card be developed as a ‘smartcard’ as this will enable the card to be ‘loaded’ with all of the relevant information associated with the benefits available to the cardholder.
For example when you go to the doctors or the chemist, all the benefits and subsidies you are entitled to will be automatically recorded on the card so you won’t have keep filling out forms.
This will also apply to your lower charges for power, gas and telephone – it will all occur automatically by swiping the card.
The current rates rebate scheme is not accessed by all who might be eligible because many people are not aware of its existence or how to access it.
It provides too little to too few.
Labour has belatedly acknowledged this, but has done absolutely nothing about accessibility.
With our plan a swipe of the card will establish eligibility and credit the appropriate amount.
You won’t have to play hide and seek with officials to get your entitlement.
Our aim is to see this card become a universally recognised symbol for all of the associated discount schemes, including travel.
What it means in brief is this – “the holder of this card is a valued member of our society. Please give this person every courtesy”.
Also included in our policy, but not part of the Golden Age Card, is the need to dramatically increase funding to the eldercare sector and to remove income and asset testing.
This policy is based on a vision of our seniors living with dignity.
We do not want to manage them, but rather we want to empower them to manage their own affairs.
This is the type of leadership we need, leadership which inspires our people to a better way of life.
It is the type of leadership that others shy away from.
Already the leaders of the two tired old parties have come up with umpteen reasons of why we can’t afford to treat our seniors with dignity.
We say with a little leadership and refocusing priorities it can be done.
Helen Clark won’t provide this type of leadership and Don Brash can’t.
Only New Zealand First can and will.
Leadership with vision, leadership with hope.
They say why it can’t be done – We say why not!
With your collective voting power, remember there are nearly one million of you over 55, you can make this vision a reality.
But it is not only our seniors that require genuine leadership.
We have a confused situation among Maoridom unfolding, with some offering a vision of the past and others offering no vision at all but token gestures.
Maori are crying out for leadership to inspire them and as our track record shows we are the only party capable of providing Maori with the leadership they need.
We strip the political correctness away and promote strong educational standards, improved health outcomes and positive employment prospects.
This is the vision Maori need.
We do not denigrate their culture, but nor do we allow race to be an accepted excuse for failure.
We provide leadership that understands what it means of be a New Zealanders of mixed heritage.
We are the only party willing to show leadership on immigration issues.
When others hide behind the shroud of political correctness, we say that the numbers and type of migrant are all wrong.
We say that if you want to address the skills shortage, bring in migrants with skills, or better still train a young New Zealander.
We don’t want people who will only build ghettos in South Auckland and abuse the family reunification policy to bring in more of their ilk. As the strain of this on our infrastructure becomes clearer all we can say is that we told you so and that we will fix it when we are in the next government.
You will probably see National produce another borrowed policy, this time on immigration, in the near future.
After all they have tried to pilfer our Treaty, law and order and roading policies.
But we suggest you read the fine print of what they are saying and look at their track record.
Your choice now is to decide which type of leadership that you want to follow.
A party vote for New Zealand First will secure you strong and effective leadership.
It will deliver you leadership committed to seeing through its promises.
If it is leadership and vision backed by action that you want then you really only have one choice – a party vote for New Zealand First.
We look forward to rewarding your trust.