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It’s The Dark Horse You Have To Watch Out For

23 June 2005

An address by Rt Hon Winston Peters to Otaki Grey Power, Thursday 23 June 2005 at 2pm at the Senior Citizens Hall, Te Rauparaha Street, Otaki

In A Three Horse Race, It’s The Dark Horse You Have To Watch Out For

There was an interesting newspaper article last week in which one of Labour’s little helpers in the media claimed that the Prime Minister and other senior Labour Ministers were going to go on a charm offensive in July to try and arrest their declining fortunes.

The notion of the Prime Minister and a charm offensive is a true political oxymoron.

Apparently she is going to address a few Grey Power meetings because New Zealand First is making too many inroads into the ranks of our seniors.

Well we want you to spread the word that she is coming and we have a series of questions that we would love you to ask her when she arrives.

Ask why it was that Labour set the rate of superannuation for a married couple at or near 68% in 2000, 2001 and 2002, and why they are now allowing all those gains to be lost by resetting it at 65% and below.

Ask her why if they could afford to pay seniors at the 68% rate three years ago, why it is unaffordable for New Zealand First to propose it now.

Ask her why for three out of four quarters last year the rate of superannuation fell below 65% of the Net Average Wage.

Ask her when her government is going to put in place a Golden Age Card which recognises the valuable service seniors have made to society and provides assistance with healthcare costs, prescriptions, rates, power and telephones prices and savings incentives.

Ask her why given the fact that power prices keep rising, petrol keeps going up and a host of the other costs keep rising faster than inflation and yet she insists on raising superannuation only on outdated inflation figures.

Ask her why her government was prepared to spend more than a billion dollars on its so-called working for families package and yet could not find one single extra cent for seniors.

Ask her why many seniors are living frightened in their homes because she will not provide enough police to do their jobs properly.

Ask her why more than 1300 people, mainly seniors, are dying on hospital waiting lists, while she says things are getting better.

Ask her what her vision of what a future New Zealand looks like and ask her why she hasn’t consulted you about this future.

Ask her why her government prioritises gay marriage and legalised prostitution over treating our seniors with dignity.

Ask her why she spends so much time out of the country signing up to Free Trade Agreements with large Asian nations, which will destroy our manufacturing base, rather than protecting New Zealand jobs.

There are many other questions you could ask, but the point is this.

This Prime Minister likes to come and tell you what is best for you, but she doesn’t want to listen.

She has no interest in your concerns or needs, only in foisting her ideas on you.

You see, we in New Zealand first believe in leadership with compassion. We believe that we should listen to the concerns of those you serve and then reflect them in your policy.

This is what we have done with our seniors policy.

We have listened and we will deliver.

Now I want to talk to you today about the nature of the three horse race which in unfolding in this election. Both Labour and National now know we are on the move and we just keep rising.

As the polls are showing, nobody will govern the comment of others.

This is great news for seniors.

This means following the next election you can be sure that we will honour our promises and reap all of the benefits of our golden Age Card.

Now I want to talk about political leadership today.

You see political leaders do not shy away from making tough decisions.

When there is something that needs fixing they front up and make the hard call that needs to be made.

Sadly, such political stoutness is lacking from the leaders of New Zealand two tired old parties.

Our current Prime Minister is perhaps the worst exponent of political obfuscation and avoidance in our political history.

Her first question in a crisis is: “What is the minimum I have to do to make this go away?”

She is not interested real solutions, only in spin and diversions aimed at limiting the political fallout.

Such an approach has worked for a while, but this government is coming apart at the seams as all its chickens seem to be coming home to roost all at once.

From the NCEA debacle, through to the 111 police crisis. From the flaws in the immigration system through to the Kyoto disaster. From the failings of one incompetent Minister to another, almost daily the failings of this government are being exposed.

They will not front up to tough decisions and now they are paying the price.

Equally sad is the lack of political courage in the National party. They are meant to lead in opposition.

But ask yourself this question – who is always leading the charge in exposing government failure.

It sure isn’t the National party, except on one front and we must give credit where it is due.

Bill English, the guy National dumped after that last election, has been a true nemesis for Trevor Mallard in education – but he is a lonely figure fighting a lone fight.

It is New Zealand First’s Ron Mark which led the charge over 111.

It is New Zealand First which exposed the roading and infrastructure fiasco.

It is New Zealand First which makes the running on immigration issues.

It is New Zealand First which constantly fights to eliminate race based policies.

It was New Zealand First which highlighted the inequality of our superannuation system.

In fact although it seldom gets publicity – it is New Zealand First asking the tough questions on hospital waiting lists and wasted health bureaucracy.

Now I could go on – but my point is this, we front up when National doesn’t.

Now let me put it to you another way.

Other parties shy away from the tough issues confronting New Zealand in race relations and immigration.

We confront them head on.

We are the only party willing to lead these debates.

We put our policy solutions on the table and say to New Zealanders – this is what we believe should be done.

No weasel words, no spin – just plain speaking policy.

And New Zealanders are responding in ever increasing numbers.

The response of other politicians is also revealing.

You see when we outlined our immigration policy we had the usual suspects, including those from within the government, claiming we were racist and xenophobic.

The irony was that they could not dispute our facts or the reality that there were flaws in the current system.

No, they resorted to personal abuse.

But what is even more interesting was what this government has been doing with its immigration policy.

You see we proposed a ‘flying squad’ which would be a forensic team specifically tasked with rooting out fraud and immigrant crime.

There was an outcry and yet within days the government set up essentially the same type of unit but just gave it a different name.

We claimed immigration consultants needed to be registered and within two weeks the government was now going to do that.

We said that foreign nationals should not be processing visas in off shore posts. Guess what – now they won’t be.

We said there needs to be an undesirables category for those from oppressive regimes – and again they set this in place also.

There are many more coincidences in government policy based on ours, but the point is made.

However, like most of what this government does they take the band aid approach, the minimum amount to make it go away.

And so they think they can take the heat out of the issue before the election, but what they fail to understand is that like all short term solutions, it isn’t long before they rear their head again.

You see immigration requires fundamental change and no amount of piecemeal short term policy adjustments will provide the lasting solutions which are required.

This is also true of our policy on race relations.

You see Labour is too scared to confront these issues and National does not know how.

Only New Zealand First understands that when we talk about eliminating special treatment for Maori we are not saying they have to be the same as other New Zealanders – only that all New Zealanders must be treated the same by the state and before the law.

It is not the benign neglect of the left or the assimilationist view of the right, but rather the idealist view that if the state is to deliver equality it must be colour-blind and that goes both ways.

That is the basis of our Treaty policy.

We are willing to make the tough decisions to root out special treatment from the public service, but we remain equally committed to ensuring that Maori and all New Zealanders have equal access to health, education, housing and other social services.

We are also equally committed to ensuring that Maori culture and language – the indigenous culture and Language of New Zealand, which can be found nowhere else, is preserved.

So going to the doctor or getting a job should have nothing to do with race. But expressing our culture is all about preserving what makes us unique.

We can have both and that is what our policy aims to do.

So you can see, there is one party in parliament prepared to confront the tough issues and make the tough decisions.

That party is New Zealand First.

If that is the type of leadership you want following the next election then you need to use your party vote wisely.

New Zealand first is your choice for change – and a change for the better.


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