Peters Speech: Keeping Them Honest
An address by Rt Hon Winston Peters to a public meeting in Port Waikato at the Town Hall, Concert Chamber, Pukekohe, 10:30am
Keeping Them Honest – Parliament’s Watchdog
While the media have consistently portrayed this election as a choice between two irresponsible tired old parties who have spent the bank – and then some – in order to woo voters, New Zealand First has consistently been prudent in our promises.
We have also stood up for those who have missed out in this unholy bidding war – our seniors, our businesses and our workers who deserve higher wages.
We have watched with amazement at the undignified display of dirty tricks, secret agendas and lies and deception.
New Zealand politics has reached new depths this election.
The National party campaign has resembled a 60s style pop band – Brash and the Brethren.
Labour’s has resembled that famous Eagle’s song – Desperado.
It has been a most unseemly display of the darker side of politics.
Where is the humour – the goodwill towards the voting public?
They don’t want to be bribed – they just want to be able to assess honestly the policy choices on offer.
That has been denied them this election.
Where are those who actually care about what happens after the election – rather than being obsessed with making every reckless promise possible in the hope it will garner more votes.
New Zealand First may have been squeezed by the media out of the practical and prudent discussions that need to occur in this climate of largesse and thoughtless promise making – but we will be here, and in strong numbers, after the election to watch over parliament and keep them honest.
I want you to think for a moment about the role New Zealand First has played and why our policy priorities are vital to New Zealand’s future.
You see parliament has been full of lap dog and cling-on parties this past three years, aside from New Zealand First’s lone voice which has consistently had the courage to speak out when others turned their heads away.
We have not always won the popularity stakes – but we have always won the integrity stakes when it comes to speaking out on important issues.
It is no coincidence that where we have led the way on many issues – which were once considered controversial – others have followed.
But they have done so not because they believe in or understand the cause – but because political expediency has led them there.
And our strong positions have resulted in real change.
Let me put it to you this way.
Were it not for New Zealand First a former cabinet minister in Saddam Hussein’s regime would still be wandering the streets of New Zealand – undetected.
Were it not for New Zealand First immigration would still be at astronomical numbers and we would still have foreigners in overseas posts deciding who could come to New Zealand and who could not.
New Zealand First has ensured that our immigration laws will be reviewed – although you cannot rely on either Labour or National to get that right.
Were it not for New Zealand First there would not have been the public outcry over 111 calls and the subsequent changes to that failing system.
Were we not in parliament, the seabed and foreshore legislation would not have been passed with the public beaches now securely in Crown, and therefore your hands, forever.
There would not have been the Cullen fund in place ensuring that our superannuation is future proofed – although this still needs work.
You see we have been parliament’s honest brokers for the past three years – ensuring that that New Zealand’s interests are placed first, ahead of personal prejudice and rabid ideology.
And we will fill that role again.
We will be outspoken on those issues others are afraid to deal with and we will vote for those issues – no matter who forms the government – that takes New Zealand forward.
That is why we have chosen our five policy priorities to campaign on.
Our economic plan is aimed at putting our economy on the secure footing it needs to be on for long-term sustainable growth.
It is designed to ensure that everybody – workers, families and businesses of all sizes get their fair share of this growing pie.
We want to ensure that it is working in New Zealand’s interests.
We are tired of making foreigners rich from our innovation, our hard work and our resources.
We want more of our assets and land in our hands – helping to make us rich.
We want a real export plan – one that offers our businesses the real prospect of growing offshore.
Only this can lead to New Zealand climbing the world’s income ladder and providing us with the lifestyles we deserve.
We want to protect New Zealand jobs from mindless free trade agreements.
We have already lost thousands of jobs in our manufacturing sector as dozens of businesses relocate to large Asian low wage economies.
Further FTAs with these economies will turn this trickle into a flood.
We want higher wages for all New Zealanders – and lower taxes for businesses and households in the long term.
But we also want to be sensible about our economy in light of the recent oil shocks and the likely decline in the global economy.
Now is not the time to be making rash decisions.
To do so will only lead to tears in the future.
So we will be parliament’s economic watchdog.
One of the groups which has been marginalised this election has been our seniors.
New Zealand First originally put forward our Golden Age Card policy, and both of the tired old parties said we were irresponsible – that it was unaffordable.
Indeed, the Prime Minister herself went on a personal crusade among Grey Power trying to discredit our policy.
And then she delivered them the ultimate slap in the face – she found hundreds of millions of dollars for almost every other group in New Zealand except seniors.
Students, and almost every other beneficiary got a fillip – but nothing for our seniors.
Her lie was exposed – there was money to pay for our policy – Labour just didn’t want to spend it.
And National are no better – they have even resorted to offering seniors a tax cut on a tax that doesn’t even exist yet – the proposed carbon tax.
Talk about being desperate.
Every senior needs to know that a party vote for New Zealand First makes our Golden Age Card more of a reality.
We will be fighting for more superannuation, cheaper power, lower telephone and rates charges and other discounts.
It is the only fair way to go forward as a nation – to provide our seniors with dignity in their golden years.
Now there is almost universal agreement that our immigration system needs a major overhaul.
Labour’s immigration minister describes it as “a dogs breakfast”, while National has recently jumped on the immigration bandwagon.
Neither party, however, can be trusted on this issue – because both lack the insight or the gumption to make the tough calls.
While every other developed nation is toughening up their immigration laws – our government lives in denial.
But they are slowly being shaken from their neglectful slumber by events occurring around them.
Only New Zealand First has the courage to put in place an immigration inspectorate – aimed at rooting out the inherent corruption within the system.
Labour scoffed at this policy earlier this year – and then put a short lived imitation squad in place for about six weeks.
Just as it was starting to make headway – Labour disbanded it.
But that is always Labour’s approach – take the heat out and then hope the public forget.
Well we will never let them forget.
We will always expose fraud and corruption – and we will keep going until the system is fixed.
Our police have been understaffed and under-resourced for far too long.
We will be fighting to have more police on the beat – thousands more.
We will be fighting to have traffic officers de-merged from the police so that both can focus on their respective roles.
And we will always continue to expose the failings of this system.
It is only by doing so that governments make real positive changes.
If there is one issue which requires both vigilant scrutiny and protection from extremes it is the state of our race relations.
Maori are both tired of paternalist token gestures and special treatment, but also of being the whipping boys for white assimilationists.
Neither Labour nor National understands the plight of Maori and neither party has the concrete plans to take Maori and non-Maori alike forward in unity as one nation.
Both have resorted to desperate politics – and for New Zealand’s future, New Zealand First will be fighting this battle with some vigour.
We know that changes need to occur within the government sector and particularly in de-railing the Treaty gravy train.
But we will not allow Maori culture and heritage to be destroyed by those ignorant of its value and place in our nation.
So I issue this warning today – let’s make progress on things Maori, but don’t trifle with them, because we will be there and we will be fighting for a united New Zealand.
Our role following the election is clear – New Zealand First will be the watchdogs and we will keep them honest.
We have priorities to achieve – we will work tirelessly to see them come to fruition.
We are not afraid to speak out when it is needed and nor do we back down when courage is called for.
Like all good watchdogs – we know who to watch for and we know who are our friends.
Good policy will be supported – no matter who puts it forward – and the government will be stable – no matter who wins.
On the question of tax cuts, you need to know that that will occur without vital areas of government expenditure being cut, such as in health, education and law and order.
Your party vote for New Zealand First is a vote for your future.
It ensures that the extremes cannot capture New Zealand politics and that your interests are always protected.
So cast your vote carefully this election – party vote New Zealand First.