Brownlee's Speech: A Govt for mainstream NZers
Gerry Brownlee's Speech: A Government for mainstream New Zealanders
Address to the National Party Annual Conference, Duxton Hotel, Wellington.
Madam President, board members, delegates, my Parliamentary colleagues – friends.
Politics is a long game. It’s never over until it’s over… and it’s never over.
Commentators will freely express their views… we know that.
Only a few months ago National was being written off.
We were a spent force and Labour had it in the bag.
Labour will set the agenda, they said.
Their Budget will be a showpiece and National will be left in the shade.
But far from being a showpiece, the Budget was a spectacular demonstration of how far Labour has removed itself from the needs of ordinary New Zealanders.
It showed how far Labour stands apart from the aspirations of ordinary New Zealanders.
When National talks about lower taxes and smaller government, we speak for ordinary New Zealanders.
When National talks about the need for more freedom and more choice, we speak for ordinary New Zealanders.
When National talks about taking more personal responsibility and wanting government to trust us to make our own decisions, we speak for ordinary New Zealanders.
When National wants safe and secure communities, when we want our kids to get a quality education, when we want independence not state dependence, and when we want to be treated on the basis of our need, not on race - then we speak for ordinary New Zealanders.
But ordinary is not a fair description of the people we represent, because they are the people who are the lifeblood and the heartland that keeps this country going.
They are the people who work hard to bring up their families, who work hard at the sports clubs, who run the service clubs and myriad of community groups that hold us all together.
They are mainstream New Zealanders. We are a mainstream political party. We share the values of mainstream New Zealanders.
Our campaign will articulate the aspirations of mainstream New Zealanders, and our leader, Don Brash, shares the values of mainstream New Zealanders – and that’s why he will be the next Prime Minister of this country.
I’ve said it at every conference so far this year and, without wishing to understate it, I say it again here today – it’s a great time to be part of the National Party.
We have the right team and the right policies for the right time,
Our opponents will misrepresent our policies and our values.
They will attempt to frighten anyone prepared to listen; there is nothing that this Labour Government will not do to stay in power.
Insider John Tamihere was spot on when he said Labour has a formidable machine with tentacles right through our society.
And right now the puppetmasters on the Beehive’s ninth floor are busy pulling the strings.
Just last week, the union representing the supposedly neutral public service launched a full-scale attack on National.
Armed with propaganda written by a former member of Steve Maharey’s smarmy army, they were busy telling public servants how to vote and why.
The very same day, National released documents showing that under Labour, public servants in the Courts Department who joined the PSA for two years would get a $600 bonus.
And, if you’re in the PSA and work for the Ministry of Social Development it’s $1200. And if you join up … another $350.
In reality, Labour is paying off its loyal allies and supporters in the union, knowing they will run the Labour line at election time.
It’s disappointing that the PSA is so naïve and so self-serving.
They’ve forgotten people like Amokura Panoho, who was sacked for supporting the Maori Party, and they’ve forgotten the public servants in Helen Clark’s own office who were hung out to dry over Corngate.
Those union officials have forgotten the way Trevor Mallard and David Benson-Pope blamed officials for the crisis in NCEA, and they clearly don’t care about the overworked police dispatchers who were blamed for the crisis in 111.
Of course the union could have chosen to stand up for the social workers who carry the can when CYF makes a mistake
Or they could have thrown their support behind the police officers accused of dangerous driving when they were just trying to get Helen Clark to the rugby on time.
But instead, the PSA thinks National is its target. That union is wrong and if they bothered to ask their membership they might be surprised by the results.
After six years with bumper surpluses and a relatively strong economy, those members are asking what every other Kiwi worker is asking – where’s mine?
Real, after-tax and inflation wage growth has gone nowhere and, at the same time, Labour has increased tax revenue by a massive $55 billion.
The only people getting rich under Labour is its army of spin merchants and marketing gurus amassed during the past two terms of office.
Labour has presided over the most disgraceful waste of vast sums of public money
We have coined a new name for Helen Clark – the Prime Moneywaster.
The $15 million worth of advertising sprayed at Working For Families is just the tip of the iceberg.
Take, for example, the $127.8 million being poured into a new service for sickness and invalids beneficiaries.
According to Treasury projections, that money is expected to have almost no effect on the number claiming sickness and invalids benefits.
And once you start scratching the surface there is all sorts of crazy waste, like the $1.3 million Cyber Communities employment scheme that hasn’t got a single beneficiary into computer related work.
Mainstream New Zealanders expect that money to be spent on the front-line.
We agree it should be spent on the teachers, the nurses and the police who are packing their bags and leaving in droves.
We want to invest in them. We value them. And we want them to stay.
When Don Brash spoke at Orewa 18 months ago he pushed aside the veiled silence about race relations in this country, and he started what can only be described as a defining and ongoing debate about the rights of all of us who chose to call ourselves New Zealanders.
We all remember Helen Clark’s response as she scrambled to get a foothold in the sliding polls.
Labour first declared that there was no problem – that Dr Brash was being racist.
Helen Clark insisted that programmes which gave preference to one race over another were a myth.
But then, under public pressure, she conceded there might be a problem, and appointed Trevor Mallard as Race Relations Minister.
Two days ago the Race Relations Minister completed his 15 months work.
For 15 months the very people who had put the programmes together went through an exercise of reviewing them.
And the Minister was finally able to announce that of some 50 programmes in government departments, 35 were inappropriate.
Some are saying this is good, but we all know he hasn’t tried very hard. We all know that he has just scratched the surface. We all know that the 35 programmes found to be inappropriate are just the tip of the iceberg.
And, more importantly, we know the Labour attitude to these things has not changed.
Helen Clark, the Prime Moneywaster is terrified of the effect the Maori Party will have on Labour – they are going to lose three seats at least and will do anything to hold on to the other four.
So desperate is Helen Clark to please her Maori constituency that even bad law is now an acceptable trade-off.
I’m going to give you an example, but first I need to say that National has a very proud record of settling Treaty grievances.
Don Brash has made it very clear that we do need to continue settling Treaty grievances, but at a much quicker pace.
We remain committed to that, and we are participating in the settlement process in good faith.
But on Thursday it was with great sadness that the National Party chose to vote against a Treaty settlement bill for the very first time.
After a full select committee process, a lengthy House committee process, and a Third reading, Labour was still insisting on a schedule in the settlement bill which National believes is simply unacceptable.
Remember that everything in a settlement bill becomes the law.
So what was it that caused us that problem? What was the bad law Helen Clark has backed?
Well let me read it to you … the law of New Zealand now states:
Rauru of the gods, sky, lands, and seas
Ngaa Rauru Kiitahi emanated from the cosmogenic tree of the gods. It came by way of the legion of spirits who were not seen but heard, down through the generations of the Kaahuu Rere and the genealogies of the "immediate assembly of elders". In this respect, Rauru is a progeny of both "divine and human parentage" and, therefore, so is Ngaa Rauru Kiitahi.
This divine origin is particular to the sacred, mystical, and theological
insight of the people of Ngaa Rauru Kiitahi. The esoteric nature of these
claims is expressed through their own pertinent whakapapa link. It is through a knowledge and awareness of this whakapapa that one is able to gain a perception of the attitudes of the tribe towards the almighty powers of the celestial realm, the cosmic emanations of the divine beginning, the world and its creation, and the evolution of earth and its people.
Ngaa Rauru Kiitahi makes a direct acclamation by stating its origins from the period of the Absolute Void to Rangi and Papa, to Rauru the man, and Ngaa Rauru Kiitahi the tribe. This claim draws together the spiritual and temporal manifestations of which Rauru is the central figure, it deals specifically with the origins of: the gods, man, vegetation, and taonga.
Ngaa Rauru Kiitahi has a spiritual and physical relationship through whakapapa to its Taonga.
How on Earth could any judge interpret that?
I would argue strongly that that piece of text makes it law in New Zealand for all those who are of this particular iwi, Ngaa Rauru Kiitahi, to be considered demigods of divine and human parentage. That’s what Helen Clark’s law proclaims.
Further, it makes it clear that the law must accept that there is no difference between the physical geography, as defined in the agreement, and the people of Ngaa Rauru Kiitahi themselves.
That is an utter nonsense.
But the Labour Government, ordinarily so committed to a secular society that it wouldn’t even have grace at a banquet for the Queen, is prepared to enshrine in law the theology of a small Taranaki iwi.
No other group in this country, including everyone in this room – unless you are part of this group – has that protection, has that preferment for their religious beliefs.
Ordinary mainstream New Zealanders are a fair people, and know there are fair grievances that arise out of the Treaty, and we will settle them.
But we will not have that sort of nonsense littering the laws of this country.
To further illustrate how deceptive Labour can be, think about the Foreshore and Seabed Act passed just before Christmas last year.
The Prime Moneywaster and her sidekick, the Wastemaster-General Michael Cullen, triumphantly proclaimed that they had protected the foreshore and seabed and kept it in public ownership.
But ever since then they’ve been secretly negotiating with several iwi around that country over what special arrangements they might be able to secure over parts of our coastline.
But that’s not the end of it. The Maori Land Court is about to take on six more judges to hear claims lodged under that Act.
One of those claims will be the staggering 50-kilometre claim in the Bay of Plenty.
This is a government that has lost its way, a government that I assert again has lost touch with ordinary mainstream New Zealanders like you and me.
It was fascinating last Thursday to see a large group of farmers turn up at Parliament to fight Labour on its land access legislation.
Helen Clark and Jim Sutton expect farmers to leave their gates open so anyone can wander at will across their properties.
But the great irony was that when these people turned up to protest at Parliament the gates were locked, and the heaviest security I’ve ever seen at a Parliamentary protest was on display.
And, to further show their contempt, Jim Sutton loudly told one of the protesters she was a joke and sarcastically wished them all a “nice day”.
Meanwhile, we know that Helen Clark and Jim Sutton have been negotiating with their Maori Caucus to ensure these land access provisions do not apply to Maori land.
Apparently, it’s a Treaty right.
National believes the Treaty extended as many rights to non-Maori as it did to Maori.
We do not support this land access bill, we support property rights. We’ve taken a position that is reasonable for all New Zealanders.
That’s another difference between us and them.
The Prime Moneywaster and her crew constantly want to patronise New Zealanders, making out that they and their pointy-headed mates know what’s best for us.
That could not have been more clearly demonstrated than by the massive bungle over New Zealand’s Kyoto position.
Call it the Prime Moneywaster’s billion-dollar bungle.
National warned Labour not to ratify Kyoto. We said: “Don’t rush ahead of our major trading partners”.
And they said: “Don’t be silly, we are in such good shape that we are going to make money out of this, and if we don’t join we are effectively burning a cheque”.
Well, that credit – that cheque – has now turned into a billion-dollar bill.
And isn’t it interesting that the Wastemaster-General, Michael Cullen, didn’t bother to point that out in the Budget, either. He was able to tell the United Nations in April, about a month before the Budget, that we were seriously in the cart – but he wasn’t prepared to tell his own people.
Delegates, there is absolutely nothing that Labour will not do to stay in power.
Their time is running out.
• Mainstream New Zealanders want a tax system that lifts the burden from ordinary working New Zealanders.
• Mainstream New Zealanders want the RMA fixed so that we can get our infrastructure moving.
• Mainstream New Zealanders want every cent of their petrol tax to be spent on the roads.
• Mainstream New Zealanders don’t want excuses for their children’s education, they want results.
• Mainstream New Zealanders want better investment in aged-care facilities, they want our frail and elderly to be treated with care and decency.
• Mainstream New Zealanders want respect for the responsibility that they take each and every day to ensure their lives are better.
Our job is to let mainstream New Zealanders know that we are them, that we understand what they need, that we understand what they expect of a government.
Our job is to let them know that only a vote for National can change the government, and make sure their values are back at the heart of our political system
A vote for Winston Peters won’t do it. A vote for Peter Dunne won’t do it. A vote for Act won’t do it.
Only a vote for National will change the government.
Delegates, we are going into a big campaign. We have started strongly, but there is much, much more to be done.
We are all here today because we are passionate about where we want to take this country.
So we need to tell ourselves that there will always be another door to knock on, there will always be another pamphlet to stick through the letter box, and there will always be another Kiwi we can convince to support us.
I say again,
This is a great time to be in the National Party.
We have the right team, this is the right time, and we have the right leader. Don Brash will be the next Prime Minister of this country