Address in Reply Speech
Address in Reply Speech
Tuesday, 15 November 2005
Speeches - Other
Rodney Hide's address in Parliament in reply to the Speech from the Throne.
ACT is back. I begin by passing on our best respects to the Governor- General, the Prime Minister, Margaret Wilson - Madam Speaker, Clem Simich, and Ross Robertson. I also pass on my respects to the Green Party and our regret for the loss of Rod Donald.
I do not believe that we will get an opportunity, but I welcome Nandor Tanczos who will be back with us tomorrow.
I also welcome the new party - the new kid on the block, the Maori Party sitting beside me here today. I welcome all its four members to our Parliament.
The foreshore and seabed legislation this House passed was a travesty of justice. If we are to mouth the words that we want to live in a country of one law for all New Zealanders, then that means that each and every New Zealand can have his or her day in court. It is totally unacceptable that when a Government finds that the courts are going against the outcome it would prefer it rushes to this House to change the law and deny a people their opportunity for their day in court.
Hon David Cunliffe: A defender.
Yes, a defender of the rule of law, I tell Mr Cunliffe, and a defender of the principles of justice. It stands for that whether one New Zealander is having his or her day in court, or a group of New Zealanders. How awful is it, I ask Mr Cunliffe, that the law is changed against a race living here in New Zealand, because we know what that means. The day that that law was passed was a dark day in New Zealand's legislative history for each and every New Zealander. I wish the Māori Party every success in having that law overturned.
I pay my respects to the good people of Epsom who voted for me, who put their faith and trust in me and elected me as their member of Parliament. That ensured that the ACT party would stay on in this Parliament.
I also note, given that an inquiry may be coming up, the outrage of the Television New Zealand poll. It was a shonky, dishonest, and unprofessional poll that showed me 14 percentage points behind. Clearly, the poll was false on the day it was done. The questions that were asked were wrong and did not identify the candidates in the race. That is how bad that Colmar Brunton poll was out. It had me coming behind by 14 percent and I won by 9 percent. So that poll was out by a whopping 25 percent. Of course, that had a devastating impact on the vote on election day, because the implication was that ACT was finished, and we could not win Epsom.
I hold Television New Zealand and its poll responsible for the loss of some very, very good MPs in this House. I think that Parliament, and the country, are poorer with the loss of the ACT MPs.
I welcome all the new MPs in the National Party. I wish them every success and wish them well for their maiden speech. I certainly wish Dr Don Brash well, because he ran an outstanding campaign and did very well in the election.
I think that is the problem that I have with Helen Clark, because she has gone back to this idea that she knows best. The reason that the Labour Party struggled in the campaign, struggled to get back, and had to resort to our colleagues in New Zealand First and the United Party to hold up its numbers, was that Helen Clark and the Labour team failed to listen to what people in New Zealand were saying. They have lost touch, and sadly it looks as though we will have another 3 years of that.
Just take one issue: tax. New Zealanders are struggling to make ends meet, and we have a Government that is absolutely stuffed full with their money, and spending it on all the crazy schemes that Michael Cullen, Helen Clark, and others can come up with, and still with a large surplus.
What did people say during the election campaign? They said that they wanted to keep some of that money. Let us go around the House and see. We had the United Future Party campaigning for big tax cuts. I remember the debates - $2 or $3 billion, Peter Dunne said. We had the New Zealand First Party campaigning for tax cuts - large tax cuts and, indeed, for some companies the company rate was to go for a 20 percent top. That was the campaign from New Zealand First. We have the Māori Party members beside me. They, too, knew that New Zealanders were struggling to pay tax. They wanted large tax cuts, and the company rate lowered down to 30 percent. We had the National Party campaigning for large cuts, the ACT party campaigning for tax cuts, and even Mr Jim Anderton sitting around the Cabinet table, as well, campaigned for tax cuts.
What does that equal? That equals 65 MPs in this House - the overwhelming majority of this Parliament - who campaigned during this election to reduce the burden of tax on New Zealanders, and what did Helen Clark say in the Speech from the Throne? "No tax cuts."
It is that sort of arrogance that New Zealand is sick of from Helen Clark and her Government. I tell Helen Clark and her Cabinet Ministers a simple thing. Listen to what New Zealanders are saying. Look around this Parliament and see that there are 65 MPs - and, indeed, I neglected to mention the Greens. They, too, campaigned for lower income tax. They suggested a shifting on to pollution taxes and the like, but they too campaigned for lower taxes on working New Zealanders.
The Labour Party was the only party that campaigned in this election not to reduce the burden of tax on New Zealanders.
Helen Clark has the arrogance to stand up and deliver a speech here today, and a Speech from the Throne through the Governor-General, saying that there is no opportunity to have tax cuts. I tell the United Future Party members and the New Zealand First members to please go back and read their election promises. Please go back and read what they promised New Zealanders.
The ACT party will be campaigning hard through these next three years and the issues we will be campaigning on will be these. Despite what Labour says crime is out of control. The police are overwhelmed, and they are demoralised. They get no support from this Government and have to listen to lies that somehow crime is down when every New Zealander knows that it is up.
Hon David Cunliffe: It is down. The member is making it up.
That somehow when one rings the police they will arrive when they do not. That crime is somehow not a problem now in New Zealand because we have the Labour Government. I can tell Mr Cunliffe that if he actually got out and talked to people - if he discussed this issue with people in Auckland and around New Zealand - he would discover that crime is huge and is out of control.
I also suggest that [welfare abuse] is a big issue. Yes, the unemployment rate is down, and that is a good thing. We have had a strong economy and more people are in work. But in New Zealand we are suffering from large-scale welfare abuse. People who could be working are actually getting a benefit. It is not good for them, it is not good for their families, and it is certainly not good for the taxpayers who are paying for it.
Here is one other issue. Transport: the problems that we suffer in this economy from the failure to be able to get around smoothly and efficiently on our roads is going to ruin our economy.
I do not see any measure, any urgency, or any hurry from Helen Clark to deal with these issues - issues that were raised at every meeting that candidates went to. It was as if Helen Clark went through the whole campaign with her eyes shut and her ears covered failing to hear what New Zealanders were saying.
Well, in this Parliament the ACT party will be standing on those issues. I am sure the National Party will be standing on those issues. The Māori Party will be standing up for those issues, and so will the Green Party, the New Zealand First Party, and the United Party. That is a majority in this Parliament.
We will not all agree on all things, but I ask the Labour Party to lose some of its arrogance, and to understand that there are parties whose very existence is because of the Labour Party's arrogance. I ask the Labour Party to actually involve everyone in this Parliament in the decision making and to stop the sort of high-handed tactics that we saw in the last 3 years. Maybe then people will truly get what they voted for.