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Peters Speech: “What Makes a Leader?”

25 May 2005

An address by Rt Hon Winston Peters to members of Rotorua Grey Power on Wednesday, 25 May 2005 at 2.00pm - Rotorua Race Course, Arawa Park, Fenton Street, Rotorua

“What Makes a Leader?” Peters calls for DNA testing of ‘refugee family’

As we draw closer to the election campaign, it is becoming apparent that – at last – some of the media have decided that it is NOT a two horse race between Labour and National.

Sadly, even though this will be the fourth election under MMP of democracy, many media commentators are still stuck with First past the Post.

Let me predict from the outset with the utmost confidence that neither Labour nor National will get nearly enough votes to be able to govern on their own after the next election.

And we can all be very thankful for that because both parties have been unable to demonstrate that they have the political leadership this country needs.

That is why a third, moderate party like New Zealand First is so desperately needed.

Leadership is the missing factor in this country and leadership failure has unfortunately cancelled out all our other advantages such as our productive land and sea and our ingenious people.

You may have seen a story in yesterday’s New Zealand Herald which illustrates both my point about this country’s lack of leadership, and my concern about the standard of journalism.

Actually, you probably didn’t see it because the Herald these days is not even good enough for your fish and chips..

Featuring a photograph of our Prime Minister with a ‘happy refugee family’ the article sets out a refugee’s denial of accusations of deceit and welfare abuse.

They have been picked on!

Now consider this: the photo is an old one, having previously appeared in a Labour party newsletter- no doubt celebrating diversity!

But more to the point, the Herald’s ‘struggling family of 16’ is the very one which I informed the Prime Minister of, almost two weeks ago, who had entered the country on false documents, had claimed relationships that are patently untrue, and who had accessed two Housing New Zealand houses and other benefits.

Neither the Prime Minister nor the Herald have taken the time to investigate the matter at all.

If they had they would have found that in this family girls are ‘married’ to their cousins, some who are claimed to be children are grandchildren, the children of the eldest son have been admitted as his sister’s children and the mother of these children was brought to the country as his ‘new bride’ even though they had been together with their children at least three years previously. Two of the children are extras!

The documents relating to this family are as false as their claims.

Yet the Prime Minister simply takes her photo opportunity and runs.

Well let’s settle it. Let them be DNA tested. New Zealand First is prepared to pay for the tests.

The newspaper has bought the family’s line but the Prime Minister is guilty of the most serious neglect of duty. Not one official has been sent to investigate the truth of my allegations.

A burglary = complaint to Police = investigation

Immigration fraud = complaint to PM and her Minister = nothing but spin.

The effect is that the word of a long serving MP is questioned, or worse the MP is accused of lying.

Well we have laid our cards on the table – let’s now see their’s.

The Budget last week also provided a chance for Labour to demonstrate leadership.

New Zealanders were hoping to hear words of political wisdom, a blueprint for a dynamic future, a fair deal for the elderly.

Instead, we just got a few promises and glib words about something that might happen one day some time in the future.

It was a Budget of bizarre priorities that comes from Labour’s strategy of focused group polling and trying to keep everybody happy at once.

It appears the Government is more than willing to spend $4 million to keep ethnic communities happy but not one cent to increase the superannuation pittance.

In fact, Dr Cullen has not even set aside sufficient funds for the promised rates rebates to seniors if all those who will be eligible apply.

The Government must be counting on thousands of people not applying!

There is nothing in this year’s Budget which seriously addresses our border security issues, and the extra money going into health and education barely allow these sectors to tread water.

Where is the much needed money to reduce hospital waiting lists?

Just as baffling – and frightening – is the Government’s complete abandonment of any prospect of growing exports. In fact, Dr Cullen has conceded that they will even decline over the next few years.

That is a defeatist attitude that no true leader would accept!

The Government has finally agreed to increase funding to residential and home based care for older people but it is much too little too late.

And where are the policies or the plan to cope with our rapidly ageing population?

We cannot as a country simply wait and see what the next focus group comes up with.

National has said that it will bring in a new Budget before Christmas.

We can all remember the last time Dr Brash made a momentous promise.

He was going to change our nuclear policy before lunchtime.

Now he’s going to bring in big tax cuts before Christmas.

Billions of dollars worth but where is the detail.

We suggest that it is time to ask what spending he is going to cut.

Is it health? Education? Welfare? Superannuation – or all four at once like they did last time?

Where are the billions of dollars of tax cuts going to come from?

George Bush did this in America - gave big tax cuts to his rich and powerful friends.

America is now well and truly in hock – mainly to Asian banks.

Is this what Dr Brash is advocating?

Mark my words. National is desperate for power and will promise anything and everything to get there.

Of course we need a dramatic change to our tax regime but it must be targeted on wealth creation and exports.

When you survey the political landscape it is clear is that neither Labour nor National are providing real leadership.

Ask yourself what do National and Labour actually stand for – apart from their naked lust for power?

The end result of treating politics as a popularity contest is that Helen Clark and Don Brash will say and do just about anything if there is a vote in it.

Instead of reaching out to the public Helen Clark and Don Brash seldom venture forth to see the reality of life in the trenches.

They are isolated from reality – out of touch.

The truth is National and Labour don’t want to deal with real people – the general public.

Because real people have a habit of asking embarrassing – direct – and difficult questions.

Real leadership calls for courage – something that Helen Clark and Don Brash have forgotten.

A real leader has to tell it like it is even if upsets and offends some people.

New Zealand First will not indulge in make believe.

Other political parties can play the “let’s pretend game” but we will not go along with the so-called consensus when it denies New Zealanders the real story.

As everything we have done over the past three years affirms, we are not going stand by silent while New Zealand’s interests are sold down the river.

This is our commitment.

We will make a stand – based on what we see as New Zealand’s true interests.

Because we do not serve the unions, big business or any other sectional interest – we serve New Zealanders.

People like yourselves who have given a lifetime of service to your families and the wider community.

People who give rather than take.

They say that there are none as blind as those who will not see.

Nowhere is the failure of leadership in Labour and National more glaring than in their willingness to ignore the human consequence of their decisions.

Time and time again the interests of ordinary New Zealanders have been cast aside as being of no importance.

The agenda of both Labour and National is driven by doing favours for those who bankroll them.

For Labour it is the unions and their camp followers in all sorts of politically correct fringe groups.

For National big business calls the tune, and this will always be the way.

Both parties consistently put the globalisation agenda ahead of the interests of ordinary New Zealanders.

So it has not bothered either Labour or National that here has been pitiful growth in real wage levels for most Kiwis - despite endless talk of how well the New Zealand economy is performing.

Remember the total silence from National and Labour on immigration until New Zealand First put it on the agenda?

They refused to see the connection between an open door immigration policy and overloaded services and infrastructure.

And they pretended that a mass influx of migrants would not depress wages.

Labour and National’s addiction to globalisation means they are eager to sign New Zealand up to free trade agreements without adequate safeguards.

It means that both like foreign ownership of New Zealand assets and infrastructure.

The economy is supposed to be booming but ordinary Kiwis are not benefiting from it – certainly not students facing crippling debts, working families struggling to buy a first home or the elderly surviving on basic superannuation.

In the time, effort and expense that Labour squandered on Zaoui – hundreds of Kiwis could have had genuine needs met.

In New Zealand First we do not take it for granted that New Zealand can hold onto our values and our standards.

Like most New Zealanders, we do not live in an ideological monastery.

We come to issues with an open mind.

We can apply a simple – clear and effective test.

What does New Zealand’s national interest require?

And that is why we are opposed to so-called free trade deals with low wage Asian countries that leave our manufacturing sector wide open to a tsunami of unfair competition.

New Zealand workers will not win from these deals.

Nor will they benefit from the Treaty Gravy Train.

Labour gave the Treaty Gravy Train its initial head of steam.

Then National happily stoked up the boiler.

Then Labour back after 1999 opened the vents.

This was its way of buying Maori votes.

Remember how Labour was intent on spraying money around in their so-called “Closing the Gaps” policy.

It was New Zealand First’s stand again the burgeoning Treaty Gravy Train that is starting to actually derail it.

We exposed it – we let the public and Maori in on this shameful scam.

And that dose of daylight has had a remarkable effect.

Now no one ever uses the phrase “Closing the Gaps” in Helen Clark’s hearing if they value their job!

In New Zealand First we see our primary purpose is providing Parliamentary leadership for New Zealand.

One of our first tasks after the election will be to provide assistance to the senior citizens who have made such a big contribution to this country.

We’re going to give each and every person over the age of 65 a gold card that says you are a valued member of the community – and this is how we value you.

We will 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 or 68 percent per couple. This will put nearly $10 a week extra in your pockets.

In the long term our aim is to lift superannuation from 65 percent or below of the Net Average Wage for couples to 72.5 percent.

We will also correct the anomaly related to the non-qualified spouse and bring their rebate rate down from 70 cents to 30 cents in the dollar like other benefits.

Our gold card also includes improved subsidies for healthcare and medicines. 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 propose that the card be developed as a ‘smartcard’ so it can be ‘loaded’ with all of the relevant information associated with the cardholder’s benefits.

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 those eligible because many people are not aware of its existence or how to access it.

It provides too little to too few.

With our plan a swipe of the card will establish eligibility and credit the appropriate amount.

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”.

You can gauge a society by the way it treats the elderly. And you can gauge leadership by the way it responds to a challenge. A party vote for New Zealand First will secure you strong and effective leadership and give you and your families a better life.

Our record is reason to trust our word on that.

ENDS


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