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Winston Peters Speech - No Re-Run Of 1996

Winston Peters Speech - No Re-Run Of 1996

5 July 2005

“What Costs The Bro'ocracy?”

No Re-Run Of 1996

An address by Rt Hon Winston Peters to members of Whangarei Grey Power at the Kamo Club, Meldrum Street, Kamo, Whangarei, Tuesday 05 July 2005, 1:30pm.

As the election draws nearer, some in the media have tried to evoke memories of the 1996 election and the role New Zealand First played in it.

The media have been joined by various politicians, some of whom were not even in politics in 1996, in speculating on what New Zealand First will do in 2005.

There is some irony in this.

On the one hand we have Helen Clark who won’t tell the public the date on which the election will be, and yet New Zealand First is somehow meant to conjure up the results now so it can tell the public who it will work with.

On the other hand, you have National, whose own deep dark secret about tax cuts is as conniving as Labour’s, and yet they expect New Zealand First to declare it will prop them up.

Curious, is it not?

Neither National or Labour will outline their options for government because they are waiting on the election outcome – but apparently New Zealand First should.

However, it is worth noting this – New Zealand First has worked constructively with National, Labour and other parties over time on issues where there is mutual ground.

And we will continue to do so – whatever the outcome of the election.

But we must also set the record straight on a few things regarding the 1996 election.

1996 was the first MMP election – we were all new to it and were all unsure what it would bring. Any politician or journalist who says otherwise now is simply being loose with the truth.

The interesting thing was that the media then, much like they are now, were obsessed with trying to pick winners using the First Past the Post mindset – it was always one side verses the other.

They didn’t then, nor do they now, understand the potential of a multi-party democracy.

It is not about binary decisions – but agreed, negotiated multi-party accords.

Now it is true that we took seven weeks in 1996 to reach our decision.

And again this outcome is consistently misreported – often by journalists who were not even there in ‘96, but also by many, who were, and should know better.

This period is portrayed by some in the media as a crisis – well the only real crisis at the time was the frenzy journalists worked themselves into in trying to work out what was going to happen.

There is some irony in the fact that the rest of New Zealand could deal with the negotiations, but the media could not.

You see there was no constitutional crisis, no violent uprising, the stock market remained stable, interest rates were steady. There were no extra deaths in our hospitals, no outbreaks of disease, no extra road deaths, in fact the only people who seemed unable to cope with what was happening were the Helen Clark and her politically neutral friends in the media.

Everybody else just went about their business just as they always had – there was no crisis.

The problem for the media was that they could not understand that it was not a binary choice for New Zealand First between National and Labour in 1996.

Labour did not have enough votes for this to occur and any arrangement with Labour was always contingent on Jim Anderton and the ill-fated Alliance party.

When Anderton played hard to get, and it was Helen Clark who promised she could bring him on board, and then could not, there really was no choice.

But New Zealand First has learned the hard lessons of 1996.

I can unequivocally say that they will not be repeated this election.

It is clear that the voting public believe that seven weeks is too long for negotiations.

So I make this guarantee that whatever decision New Zealand First arrives at post election, it will be made public by the day the Writs are returned, which is within three weeks from polling day.

It is also the day when the final results of the election, after special votes and any recounts, are settled.

But I give you this warning – the media is going to have to be more sophisticated in its understanding of multi-party democracy if it is going to report this election accurately.

Because there will be three large parties after this election and the nature of the government formed subsequently will be unique to that environment.

Now I want to explain in part why it is that New Zealand First has been attracting ever-increasing support.

It is because we are the only party offering policy solutions to the tough issues facing New Zealand.

Let me use our recent Treaty of Waitangi policy as an example.

You see on this front New Zealand First is the only party offering a clear vision for fundamental change.

National seems quite content to hang their policy on a borrowed speech and Labour just wants to bury its head in the sand and hope it will go away.

National puts forward a former woodwork teacher to front race relations issues, a man who is quite possibly the most ineffective and ill-informed spokesperson on these issues National has ever had.

It is like asking a kindergarten child to explain algebra – he just gets that mystified look about him and starts to yell and scream nonsense in frustration.

The job is clearly beyond him.

Labour’s many conflicting agendas on this issue ensures there is no coherency to their collective views.

New Zealand First is the only party that believes that the words of the Treaty of Waitangi stand just as they are.

Labour is intent on adding ill-conceived principles that they cannot define, while National just wants to abolish it and all things Maori.

We are the only party which recognises the Treaty as a significant historical document, but not the panacea for Maori development.

We believe Maori culture and language must be preserved and enhanced because of its inherent place in New Zealand culture.

You see we recognise that nobody else in the world will protect Maori culture and language, and nor should they. That duty is ours and ours alone.

But we are also the only party that recognises that the key to Maori success, just like non-Maori, is for government services to be based on needs and not race.

We reject the proposition that the way to address racism is through reverse racism and the way to address discrimination is reverse discrimination.

This mindset has failed Maori and non-Maori alike and must end if we are to move forward as a nation.

This must start with a fundamental rethink of the delivery of government services.

This is one key facet of New Zealand First’s Treaty policy – a colour blind bureaucracy.

Let us consider what is actually occurring now and why it must change.

I want to briefly look at the health sector as an example and how the ‘bro'ocracy’ mindset has corrupted it.

It is a sector Trevor Mallard would have you believe is now void of race-based polices but consider this.

In its Draft District Plan published in June 2005 – yes that’s right last month – the Capital and Coast District Health Board outlined the following performance measures.

Under the heading “reducing disparities” it had the sub heading “increased investment in ‘by Maori, for Maori services’ and Maori specific services.”

How much is this race-based policy going to cost? Just under $6 million.

So we began to wonder – just how much are District Health Boards spending on separatist polices?

Well we decided to ask the various DHBs and the answers were intriguing.

Nelson Marlborough aim to spend $2.5 million dollars on such programmes.

Wanganui $1.5 million.

South Canterbury three quarters of a million.

Several of the larger DHBs were cagey about the figures and would not pass them on – but we have ways of getting this information and it is coming.

But here is the most interesting aspect of this.

The two DHBs which did answer our questions which have the densest Maori population per head of population – Counties Manukau and Tairawhiti had among the least set aside for these programmes.

Just under $600,000 in Counties Manukau and $1.4 Million in Tairawhiti.

So how does that work – the places where the Maori population is highest spend the least on Maori only programmes.

It highlights why the whole notion of race-based policies is a crock.

What is staggering about this is that based on the figures we have, and conservatively estimating those we do not, over $50 million dollars of taxpayer money is set aside for separatist healthcare in New Zealand.

Sadly these programmes are just the tip of the iceberg in the health sector.

You see when you add Iwi liaison units, Maori protocol policies and the endless stream of pöwhiri into the mix, to name but a few, the situation spirals out of control.

Now we need to make an extremely important point here.

New Zealand First is not interesting in denying healthcare from anybody simply because previous government’s have established race-based policies.

But we have a solution and it has worked in the past.

In fact it was one of the great success stories of New Zealand First’s previous experience in government.

It was our policy of free healthcare for children under six.

A simple straight forward colour blind, needs based policy which delivered huge outcomes to both Maori and non-Maori alike.

You see the solutions are staring us in the face, but too many people have been subsumed by Labour’s divisive politically correct agenda.

Do you know what the best thing about the free health care for under sixes was?

The colour of the child’s skin was totally irrelevant as was the colour of the doctor’s.

We in New Zealand First believe that this can be replicated across the entire public sector – colour blind, needs based service delivery.

And who can argue with that.

Let us consider another of New Zealand First’s colour blind polices – our senior citizens policy.

New Zealand First intends to see that each and every person over the age of 65 receives 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 also want to ensure the ongoing sustainability of superannuation by moving the Cullen fund into individualised accounts. Only this measure will ensure future government’s, particularly National-led ones, cannot dip into this fund.

This is too important for future government’s to be allowed to toy with.

We are the only party with 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.

New Zealand First is growing its support from people like yourselves – New Zealanders who want a party to represent them and their interests.

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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