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NZ First - Open Letter to The Sunday Star Times

10 June 2004

An Open Letter To The Sunday Star Times

To whom it may concern,

I wish to report to you my grave concern that a lunatic has escaped from an Australian asylum, gained access to this country and is breaking into the Sunday Star Times office at 2:30 on a weekday morning and proceeded to write injudicious editorials on your behalf. I raise this because nobody in their right mind would possibly have allowed such an erroneous, bitter and ill-informed editorial as that which occurred on Sunday 5 June.

It seems clear that whoever wrote the editorial is both mad and a recent immigrant from another country.

The claim the New Zealand First is somehow negligent because it will not declare its post election options simply belies the facts. We are one of three larger parties. While some of the smaller parties out of desperation have hitched their wagons to larger parties, we have no need to display such insecurities.

The reality is that neither New Zealand First, Labour or National can or will declare their post election arrangements because we don’t know what the numbers will be or which options will be available.

Our approach is what the electorate wants. We are putting forward our policy programme for all to see. They will vote for us according to this. When we know our level of support we will negotiate with others in order to achieve our policy objectives.

This is not dependent on either Labour or National. It is about achieving our policy programme.

To portray the 1996 post election scenario as playing National off against Labour also ignores the relevant facts. In the first instance Labour, with 28 percent of the vote, was never in a position to form a majority government with New Zealand First. It was simple arithmetic, Labour’s 37 MPs plus New Zealand First’s 17 equalled 54 – not enough to govern, even under MMP.

For this option to work, it was always dependent on the support of Jim Anderton and the Alliance. When this was not forthcoming, then the only responsible course of action was to form a majority coalition with National.

To claim we campaigned against National only to go in with them shows a true lack of both understanding and sophistication on the writer’s behalf.

The National/New Zealand First government post the 1996 election was a very different complexion to the National government prior to the election. Its priorities were very different due to New Zealand First’s input.

This rabid lunatic posing as your editor clearly doesn’t know that, at our insistence, the superannuation surcharge was lifted, that funding for free healthcare for under sixes began, that immigration numbers were being decreased and the policies aimed a lowering the New Zealand dollar were implemented to aid exporters. This is to name but a few.

The reason we are now receiving so much support is that seniors and other New Zealanders know our track record and they know we keep our promises.

Indeed our influence was so significant in 1996 that some commentators claimed we wielded too much power. Now you can’t have it both ways. Either the New Zealand First/National government formed immediately after the election was markedly different to the pre-election National government, and the policy mix it pursued would seem to indicate this, or it was not.

If it was different then, clearly the pre-election National government was changed and its policy programme along with it. It is mischievous to claim New Zealand First simply propped up National.

Now I take great offence at the labels attributed to my caucus by this unhinged poseur. I could to a man and women list their particular virtues, but suffice to say that this team of MPs is as active and constructive on select committees, in parliamentary debates and out among the community of any group of MPs I have witnessed in Parliament.

Under any normal circumstances this publication would find itself on the end of a libel law suit (which this paper can clearly ill-afford given its current track record in this regard).

Perhaps the most prudent course of action would be to have this journalistic pretender arrested and for a retraction of those statements to occur. Clearly they were offensive and for those who know personally the members of my caucus, they were demonstrably untrue.

My caucus is made up of former lawyers, teachers (including two former principals), farmers, military servicemen and public servants. It is true there is not a rocket scientist among them, but this is the House of Representatives and represent New Zealanders they do.

Now has New Zealand First learned the tough lessons from 1996 – of course we have. We were the first to form a government, we were the first to go through the negotiating stage.

Did we keep our major policy promises last time? Clearly we did and we intend to do that again, but we will not be selling our souls, as others seem willing to do in pursuit of the baubles of power.

Perhaps having been alerted to this alarming fraud in your name, your paper might want to disclose who the impostor is.

ENDS

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