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Don Brash Speech To National's Annual Conference

National Leader Don Brash Speech: Annual Conference Introductory Comments

Comments at the opening of National Party Annual Conference, Duxton Hotel, Wellington.

Madam President, Parliamentary colleagues, candidates, fellow members of the National Party.

Welcome to our election year conference for 2005.

Tomorrow I shall have the opportunity to formally address you.

Today I have just one simple message for you: Don't pause, even momentarily, to take comfort from recent polls.

The only conclusion that can be taken from the several polls in the public arena is that we are now locked in a tight contest for the privilege of leading this country after the next election.

The public is losing confidence in a tired, increasingly discredited Clark Government.

The opportunity is there for a National victory.

But let me be very clear about this: They will not go without a fight.

The Labour Party has the massive resources of the taxpayers at their disposal.

And they are utterly shameless about using those resources.

You may not know this, but Steve Maharey alone has more advisers on his staff than I have for the entire National Opposition.

Labour has 30 press secretaries in the Beehive alone, while National has but four to try to counter Labour's spin.

The Auditor General may have shamed Labour into slimming down their $21 million Working for Families advertising programme – to a modest $15 million.

But over the months leading up to this election they will spend literally tens of millions of dollars of taxpayers’ money on their re-election.

Well, the good news for taxpayers is that it won't happen again.

If I’m elected Prime Minister in a few weeks, I will implement the report released by the Auditor General this week, and tidy up the shameless abuse of taxpayers’ money on party propaganda which Labour has turned into an art form.

The bad news is that we won't get to do that until after this election – and only then if we win!

And that means that we all have to work that much harder if we are to win what, by anybody’s definition, is a very unfair contest.

But I have confidence that the public of New Zealand is smart enough to see through the taxpayer-funded spin.

And every time a voter walks past a taxpayer-funded billboard proclaiming "You're Better Off With Labour", I hope they feel the same sense of outrage that I do.

Well, my advice to those voters is: Don't get mad. Get even on election day.

Ladies and gentlemen, we have a huge task ahead. There is absolutely no room for complacency.

But at least until Sunday afternoon, enjoy the conference!

And remember the challenge which lies ahead.


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