Rodney Hide - The Kiwi Way
The Kiwi Way
Rodney Hide Sunday, 26 March 2006 Speeches - Other
Speech to ACT Annual Conference, Mercure Hotel, Wellington, Sunday 26 March 2006.
It's great to be here.
It's great being MP for Epsom.
We won Epsom against the combined weight of National and Labour.
The big-government parties joined forces to wipe ACT out. They failed. Freedom prevailed.
We won Epsom. Thanks to your hard work.
That gave us our place in Parliament.
We secured 40,000 votes across the country. Thanks to your hard work.
That gave us our caucus with Heather.
Against all odds and against all predictions, ACT is back.
We never gave up. We never will.
That's the Kiwi Way. Never give up. Win against all odds.
ACT is not like other parties. We're not fighting for bums on seats. We're fighting for our country's future.
We're fighting for our freedom.
We're fighting for a fair go for all.
We're fighting for Kiwis to have the simple right to live as they choose, work as they please, and to prosper for themselves, for their families, for the country.
It's sometimes said we're too tough on government.
Well, we are tough. That's because we see how tough government is on hard working families.
Kiwis struggle because government wastes so much of their money.
Good businesses fail - some never get off the ground - because government makes it too tough to do business.
We see it every day. It makes us angry.
If government were a business, it would be bust. It would have no customers - well, not paying ones.
But government's not a business. You don't have a choice. You have to pay. And pay. And pay.
Customers can walk out. Taxpayers can't.
Kiwis have to pay for government they don't want, don't need and would be better off without.
Customers get to vote every day. Taxpayers only vote every three years.
The only check on government between elections is Parliament. That's why we take our job as MPs so seriously.
It's our job to hold Ministers to account for the money they spend and the laws they make.
Helen Clark hates it.
She does not want to be questioned. She does not want to be held to account. She does not want to be held responsible.
All Helen Clark wants is power.
Her government has no programme, no vision, and no ambition.
For Helen Clark, any old answer will do. That's how she and her government attempt to escape Parliamentary scrutiny.
Well, we won't let them. We will hold Helen Clark to account. We will make sure her Ministers answer to Parliament.
That's Richard's legacy.
It was Richard's grunt, intelligence and experience that got ACT to Parliament.
It was Richard who taught us the crucial role opposition MPs play in holding a government to account.
But Richard also taught us that it's not enough just to hold government to account. We must provide an alternative vision, an alternative government, an alternative programme for the country.
People need hope. They need the hope of a better future and a much better government than the one we've got now.
We must not only ask the tough questions, but deliver answers too.
It also means ACT must work with other parties that share a vision for New Zealand similar to ours.
We want Kiwis to have choice. We want them keeping their own money.
That's the best democracy of them all. Kiwis deciding how to spend their own money, instead of politicians spending it for them.
That's the alternative to the bossy-boots Helen Clark government. And only ACT is advocating it.
ACT defends democracy. We are proud of being a democratic party.
I want to thank all those who put their names forward for the Board elections.
I congratulate our newly elected Board. You have elected a Board of people with talent, integrity and passion - the qualities we need to achieve ACT's ultimate goal of a more free and prosperous country.
The future of all political parties can be judged by their young members. I welcome the members of ACT On Campus. As thinkers and political leaders, they show that the future of ACT - and New Zealand - is in good hands.
Our growing Asian Chapter reflects the great support from new New Zealanders that ACT enjoys. We won't forget that support.
This conference marks our duodecennial - our twelfth anniversary as a party. We will soon be a political teenager! I'm looking forward to that.
ACT stands alone in having a plan and a vision for how our nation and our people can succeed.
We want New Zealanders to succeed. We want our country to succeed.
Helen Clark's government despises success. We love it.
Helen Clark wants to punish success. We want to reward it.
We are the party that guarantees lower taxes, believes in giving individuals and families more opportunity, stands up for property rights and defends individual freedom.
With ACT, every child would have access to quality education. Every family - not just the privileged few - will be able to choose the best school for their children.
With ACT, quality healthcare would be available, easy to access and affordable.
Government's job would be to ensure access. We would unleash the private sector to deliver the service.
We have a beautiful country - with ACT, everyone could enjoy it. Environmentalists, companies and individuals would take an active part in conservation. We reject Labour's government-knows-best philosophy.
With ACT, we would be safe in our homes, streets and places of work. The police would have the resources and support they need to do the job. Our sentencing would fit the crime.
With ACT, there would be support for the truly needy, but welfare would no longer trap our young people into a lifetime of dependency and despair.
With ACT, fraught race relations would be a thing of the past. Everyone would be treated first and foremost as human beings - with equal rights and responsibilities before the law.
Labour's Foreshore and Seabed Bill was a disgrace.
With ACT, families would be at the heart of decision making. That's because we trust individual citizens over politicians and bureaucrats.
New Zealand would be more free, fairer, and more prosperous. Everyone would have the opportunity to succeed to their full potential.
Those who would gain the most are those most missing out today.
The well off can afford to pay twice - twice for their children's education, twice for their health care, twice for their home security.
The less well off can't. They pay for government services they don't get. They miss out.
We know the changes we need - they've worked overseas, they will work here.
Our crime policies worked in the UK.
Our education policies worked in Milwaukee.
Our welfare policies worked in Wisconsin.
Our economic policies are bringing prosperity to the former communist countries of eastern Europe.
Health policies like ACT's are working in Singapore.
Even here, two government departments included ACT policy proposals in their briefings to the incoming Labour Ministers.
I am proud to lead a party that stands up for freedom and democracy.
Our answer is not more tax and more regulation. Our answer is more choice and more competition.
Our answer is less tax and fewer, simpler rules.
That's why we support flat tax.
We could run government with a flat tax of 15 cents. Imagine the boost to pay packets and the economy that would provide.
A flat tax is simple and fair.
It's simple, because everyone pays the same rate. It's fair, because those who earn twice as much pay twice as much tax - not three or four times as much, as they do now.
Labour has given us a tax system that's neither fair, nor simple.
Take Working for Families. Labour's flagship program.
To get some of your taxes back from Labour, you just need to have children.
It's typical Labour.
Application means filling in eight pages of forms.
And attending a half-day seminar.
You have to disclose all kinds of personal information.
The seminar teaches you how to be a beneficiary.
Labour's $15 million propaganda campaign includes TV ads of a family in a $700,000 home in Epsom filling out forms to become beneficiaries - and supposedly grateful to Labour for the privilege.
ACT says that it's your money. You earned it. You should keep it - as of right.
I heard from a delegate yesterday of a family member who declined a raise. That's right. Turned down a wage hike. That's because under Labour's Working for Families package they would have been worse off.
It's dopey stuff.
Michael Cullen is rocketing up government spending faster than Kiwis can earn it.
Government spending over the next five years is set to increase 40 per cent faster than the economy.
Michael Cullen didn't ask your permission to take that money.
He's just going to take it. There's nothing democratic about that. There's nothing fair about it.
That's why we need ACT's Taxpayer Bill of Rights to limit government spending.
ACT's Taxpayer Bill of Rights would hold real per capita government spending. Total government spending could increase with population and to compensate for inflation, but extra spending would require taxpayers' agreement through a referendum.
The power would be shifted from politicians to the people of New Zealand. That power shift would be the single most important thing Parliament could do to make New Zealand a freer and more prosperous country.
ACT's Taxpayer Bill of Rights would make politicians accountable. They could no longer increase taxes and spending by stealth.
Our politicians would have to justify their spending hikes. They would need your explicit consent. That's as it should be.
Politicians could no longer ratchet up government spending. They would have to work to a strict budget - just like everyone else.
ACT's Taxpayer Bill of Rights would make New Zealand more democratic. It would give Kiwis more say.
But there's much more that we can do.
Helen Clark forced Kiwis to pour money into "our" airline, "our" bank, "our" voice at TVNZ, and "our" superfund.
Well, why not let the people of New Zealand own them? I mean properly own them. We should take the shares in these state assets and give them to every Kiwi in a "people's float".
That way they can be truly the people's assets.
That would be a better kick for savings for Kiwis than kiwi-saver. The kiwi-saver sees you taxed hard and then made to jump through hoops just to get a thousand dollars back.
A people's float would give Kiwis real assets of real value and a stake in the country.
Businesses should be run by businesspeople, not governments. Government's job is to govern - not run airlines, banks, TV stations and investment funds.
ACT is the party of new ideas and fresh thinking.
We never give up.
We continue to promote new and innovative policies to make our great country even greater. We are the only party to do so.
ACT needs to work with other parties. That's MMP.
We work closely with the Maori Party in Parliament. Maori MPs cast our proxy votes.
We have enjoyed learning from the Maori Party. There's much that we agree with. We agree that social welfare is blighting too many young lives. There's much that we disagree with. We don't agree with separate Maori seats.
But that doesn't stop us working together to try and build a better New Zealand for all New Zealanders.
And there's no doubt the Maori Party is bringing Maori concerns to Parliament loud and clear. They are a louder and stronger voice for Maoridom than the Labour Party ever was.
I am enjoying working alongside the Maori Party. I was pleased to invite Tariana Turia to our conference. I am honoured that she agreed to come.
We can't succeed as a nation unless Maori succeed. With the Maori Party we have the leadership that has the potential for the first time ever to deliver policies for the benefit of Maori rather than the benefit of politicians and bureaucrats.
ACT will make MMP work, because we are in Parliament to make a better future.
A Liberal, democratic future that celebrates our diversity, tolerance and freedom.
ACT has exceptionally talented activists.
We have values and vision.
We have a commitment to doing what works.
We have the opportunity - together, and as individuals - to make our great country even greater.
I am ready to take our message around the country. I want the endorsement of this conference to do so.
We will keep fighting for democracy and freedom.
We will keep fighting for everyone to get a fair go.
We will never give up, and we will keep winning - even when it is against all odds.
Because that's the Kiwi way.