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What Will Labour’s Legacy Be?

What Will Labour’s Legacy Be?

An address by Rt Hon Winston Peters to members of Timaru Grey Power on Wednesday 29 June 2005 at 2pm at the South Canterbury Finance Community Trust Sports Centre, Morgans Road, Timaru

What Will Labour’s Legacy Be?

It seems clear that this Labour government is hanging on by a thread to eke out every last day in power.

With many of its chickens coming home to roost, Labour’s luck is running out.

It is because the party long ago shed its principles in the blind pursuit of power, enslaved by a politically correct agenda.

Once a party for the worker and family it is now a disjointed collective of special interest groups promoting everything from a gay and feminist agenda through to free trade with China.

There is no coherency in what they are doing and its management style of a sop to one group over here – with gay marriage for homosexual courtiers – and another sop over there – with pro union Labour laws for the union, but not the worker – it is coming unstuck.

Even Labour’s traditional Pacific Island support base finds gay marriage offensive – as do most working class men and women.

For them it’s one thing to be tolerant of different sexualities, but it’s another thing entirely to have it forced down our throat in some veiled attempt at legitimisation.

So while Labour’s crumbling agenda clearly leaves them exposed, New Zealand’s other tired old party offers no alternative.

It is clear now that National’s tax promises are as deep and dark a secret as Labour’s were.

That is the problem when you have amateurs running the ship; they have a tendency to run off at the mouth before they engage their brain.

It is a sign of a political inexperience. Labour offers half a packet of chewing gum tax cuts and National is offering the rest of the packet. Some choice.

So the tax cut before Christmas-is gone by lunchtime and Brash and co are left trying to make the numbers add up.

If history is an omen, then an ideological agenda as deep as Labour’s is already formulated by National – and it’s not based on compassion or looking after the average New Zealand family.

Whilst Labour and National debate the size of chewing gum tax cuts, New Zealand First offers a different perspective.

We say that New Zealanders’ incomes are far too low.

As a recent World Bank survey demonstrated, New Zealand sits 40th in the world in the Gross National Income per capita stakes.

So, rather than debate 67 cents a week on one side, or two dollars a week on the other, we say let’s grow our real incomes and start to climb the ladder that really matters. We want more disposable income in New Zealanders’ pockets. That means growing the economy and growing exports.

This government has created a huge trade imbalance and a Current Account Deficit crisis because they have totally neglected export growth.

We will intend to rectify this.

National should take little from the recent polls (as dubious as they are). Unlike New Zealand First’s rise, it is based on unrealistic expectations that cannot be realised after the election.

Brash’s billboards promise spending taxes on roads. Maurice Williamson, their transport spokesperson, tells National’s weekend conference of foreign companies constructing New Zealand’s roads, bridges and tolls.

In short, they can’t keep their arguments together for five minutes.

Labour’s recent poor performance has allowed National a false sense of security. But they have no substance to deliver it.

Only one party has the substance and the policies to tackle the serious issues confronting New Zealand and it is the third horse in this election race.

New Zealand First is confident that as the election draws nearer the soft support for Labour and National will come our way as New Zealanders realise that it is New Zealand First which has the combination of experience, the leadership and the policies to make real changes.

So what will be Labour’s legacy after this election?

Historians will look back on this period and define it as a period of lost opportunities.

They will see it as a time when under the best economic conditions in a generation this government left the country more indebted than ever before and facing an economic crisis of major proportions.

It will be viewed as a period when gay marriage and legalised prostitution were placed above increasing real wages.

It will be a time when a Labour government entered negotiations to deliver the single largest blow to New Zealand’s workers through a Free Trade Agreement with China which will destroy our manufacturing base.

So let’s examine what exactly Labour has achieved with its warped priorities.

Given the huge priority placed on the Civil Union Act and the massive propaganda programme Labour employed to try and bend public opinion on this issue – one would have thought that there were thousands of gay New Zealanders clamouring to get married.

Well guess what – since the law came into effect there have only been 60 civil unions. That’s right only 60.

So much for the hordes of gays and lesbians lining up to make their relationships legal – they are simply not out there.

Now to put this into perspective we average 1700 marriages a month even in this age of most couples living together before entering a serious relationship.

So this government made a huge priority out of an agenda which has put it offside with large numbers of its own support base and average New Zealanders.

It may just cost them the election, because most New Zealanders believe that sex, whatever the orientation, belongs in the bedroom, not the full frontal assault that this government inflicted on the nation.

We have a television show here in New Zealand called “Queer Nation” which this government pays over $600,000 annually for.

One could speculate that this was really Labour’s secret agenda – but like most of what Labour does, they simply don’t consult New Zealanders about it.

That was the fundamental failing of the Gay Marriage agenda – if a referendum were held and most of the country voted for it then New Zealanders would accept this as a democratically arrived at decision.

Instead this government seeks to ram through this type of legislation without any public say what so ever.

Let’s consider the ramifications of the government legalising prostitution; which Don Brash voted for.

Again a huge social change with no consultation.

But here is what we discover – rather than preventing the hideous side of this industry such as child prostitution, these problems are getting seriously worse.

Indeed there has only been one conviction in the past two years of anybody being charged with underage soliciting – this despite several survey findings that these activities are rampant.

The police know it’s a problem – they just don’t want it to be their problem.

Local councils know it’s a problem – but again they don’t want it to be their problem.

So the only outcome of this government legalising prostitution has been that this is now viewed as a viable career option, primarily by those young women who are most vulnerable in our society.

But this is what happens when a small cabal of detached and driven special interest groups gets to set the agenda.

Now this government seems destined to follow this approach again with its myopic focus on signing a Free Trade Agreement with China and other large Asian nations, a position National also supports.

Just last week our Current Account Deficit ballooned past $10 billion dollars.

In very simple terms this means that we are not paying our way in the world – that what we are selling overseas is $10 billion dollars short of what we are buying from overseas.

Those of you who have run households know the danger of living beyond your means.

Now here is the interesting thing.

The two most important contributing factors to this terrible equation are first, the fact that we are paying more and more to overseas investors who have pillaged our best assets and take our money and run, and second, that we are importing way too much.

When you consider that we have a trade imbalance of $2 billion with China, one fifth of our overall debt, why would we be moving to make it easier for them to increase their imports here?

You see Free Trade Agreements are about changing the rules of trade – which are already skewed against us.

While this may make it easier, the threat of far greater imports coming our way and making the trade imbalance worse should make us weary of any such deal.

Let’s not forget China is a nation of over 1200 million people; we are a nation of just over 4 million.

China’s economy is mammoth compared to ours – we simply do not have the safe guards to prevent an economic tsunami coming our way.

This so-called Labour government seems happy to sacrifice working New Zealanders to pursue a free trade agenda which will do little more than provide Helen Clark with another photo opportunity.

Now I noticed earlier this week that you have something of a state housing crisis here in Timaru.

Well you might want to ask this government why it is that they have such warped priorities that in a small relatively wealthy nation like ours we can’t adequately house our people here.

Ask your self this question – which would you rather have: gay marriage or good housing in Timaru.

Let me tell you about some of New Zealand First’s priorities and whilst I am at it, let’s put a National party exercise in deceit to rest.

There is only one party with a workable policy on race relations, and it is not based on a borrowed speech.

We have the incredulous position of the Deputy Leader of the National party publishing an article in the Dominion Post yesterday trying to take credit for New Zealand First’s work.

He points to having supported a Bill to eliminate the Principles of the Treaty of Waitangi from legislation. What he failed to mention was that it was my Bill – not National’s.

He highlighted the questions that the Minister of Race Relations would not or could not answer over money spent on Treaty related courses in the public sector.

Those were New Zealand First questions.

And he then makes the most fundamental mistake of trying to deceive New Zealanders over the seabed and foreshore legislation.

New Zealand First not only guaranteed Crown ownership forever, but we also guaranteed no legal aid.

And for Mr Brownlee to claim otherwise only highlights his ignorance.

But what can you expect from a party which has several lawyers in its ranks but puts forward a bullish woodwork teacher to handle technical legal arguments?

The complexity of this debate is beyond him and it shows.

And this party is led by a man who wants to exclude anybody that doesn’t look like him from his ‘mainstream of New Zealand’ – he said so at National’s weekend conference.

But here is the irony of this view. His position excludes the likes of Buck Shelford, Norm Hewitt Michael Campbell, and three quarters of the All Blacks from the mainstream because they are Maori. 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 superannuitant 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 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. Also included in our policy, but not part of the Golden Age Card, is the need to dramatically increase funding to the eldercare sector and to remove income and asset testing.

The extra money the government put in the Budget on this front is only a fraction of what is required. Most will go on back payments for staff under-funding over the past five years and the rest is at the discretion of DHBs as to how it is spent. We will also be looking into the issue of transferability of overseas pensions, particularly sections 19 and 70 of the Social Security Act.

We believe there are improvements which can be made here. This policy is based on a vision of our seniors living a better life, with dignity You will hear Labour and National come up with umpteen reasons why they can’t afford to treat our seniors with dignity. We say that we can’t afford not to.

We will also be making a priority out of ensuring equal treatment for all New Zealanders and eliminating special treatment based on race. While others talk about these things we are the only ones willing to put our policy on the table for all to see.

We have a plan to deal with the separatist policies which have plagued this nation. We are also the only party serious about securing our borders. We have put forward an immigration plan – several aspects of which this government has conveniently plagiarised over the recent weeks – to ensure that immigration policy in New Zealand benefits New Zealanders, not foreign nationals. You see you really have only two choices at this election.

You can either choose one of the two tired old parties who will give nothing extra to seniors and who have no concerns for protecting our borders or you can choose the dynamic third largest party in parliament, which is growing its support from people like yourselves – average New Zealanders who want a fair go. When it comes to casting your party vote this election you can vote to improve your lot and that of your nation or you can vote for more of the same. If it is a brighter future you want – then New Zealand First is your only choice for change. A real change for the better.

ENDS

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