Lost Leadership Crisis Hits New Zealand - Peters
4 May 2005
An address by Rt Hon Winston Peters to Rangitikei GreyPower, Friendship Hall, Morris Street, Marton at 11.30am Wednesday 4 May 2005
"Lost Leadership Crisis Hits New Zealand"
Today I want to raise some issues about political leadership in this country - and also explain our senior citizens policies.
The reason that I want to talk about leadership is because at present there is very little of it.
In fact, there is a deep chasm in New Zealand politics and it is all about the lack of real political leadership offered by the two tired old parties.
People of the Rangitikei area know what leadership is about.
They know that when a crisis hits, leadership is ultimately about those who are willing to stand up and be counted - not when its all smooth sailing - but when the proverbial has hit the fan and it's overflowing into your gumboots.
People in the Rangitikei know that Labour's agenda of social engineering is of no real benefit to them.
They know that civil unions are no substitute for action in helping rebuild a region devastated by floods.
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 this month, 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.
Now ask yourself how much has this benefited any of you?
Sadly we really don't get anything better from the so-called Leader of the Opposition.
Instead we see the last vestiges of National's "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.
The media are constantly trying to breath life into this 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.
Leadership based on a vision which will inspire and uplift New Zealanders.
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.
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.
What is worse is his chauvinistic attitude to women and his complete devaluing of their role in the home.
Sadly New Zealand is confronted with two political leaders who do not value mothers or motherhood - although one clings to the holey pyjamas that kindle memories of his childhood.
(What would Freud say about that one?)
We in New Zealand First know that there is no substitute for experience, political nous and most importantly of all a respect for basic social values.
One of those basic values we support is the right for our senior citizens to live in dignity.
A few weeks ago we outlined our senior citizens policy at the Greypower AGM.
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 extra 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 to 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.
This is the type of leadership we need, leadership which inspires our people to a better way of life.
Already the leaders of the two tired old parties have come up with umpteen reasons 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.
With your collective voting power, remember there are nearly one million of you over 55, you can make this vision a reality.
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 when there are projections from Statistics New Zealand showing Asians outnumbering Maori in around 20 years time because of immigration that something should be done about it.
We say this is not inevitable - we do not have to have high Asian immigration.
We say you have a choice on this issue and we are not afraid to speak out about it.
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.
But I make this prediction and it lies at the core of leadership - that if National tries to copy New Zealand First as they have on Treaty, law and order and roading policies - then Don Brash will lose another female spokesperson just like he has on every other major policy speech he has made.
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.