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Mapp Report: Looking Forward To The Future

Looking Forward To The Future

Parliament resumed for the year on Tuesday this week. After eight years, the government still seems unable to improve the problems in the areas of real importance to New Zealanders. The Prime Minister’s statement had no ideas that would stem the flow of 77,000 (2007) New Zealanders to Australia.

MPs have an extended debate on the Prime Minister’s Statement.

I gave my speech in response to the Prime Minister’s Statement on Tuesday afternoon, 12 February, and an edited version follows:

Lost opportunities
There is only one source of this country’s problems, and it is that Government. There has been eight years of lost opportunities. I have to remind members across there, those Ministers sitting in those seats, that they have squandered the best years of prosperity that this country has known in a generation. They have sold our country short.

That is why I stand in support of John Key’s motion, which simply states that we have no confidence in the Clark-led government because it has failed to make the improvements in the areas of real importance to New Zealand, and because it lacks ambition, because it is tired and bereft of ideas, and – members should get this final point – because it simply has lost touch with New Zealanders. And the previous speech tellingly shows that very point.

I would ask any one of the Government members whether he or she can answer any one of these questions. Why does New Zealand now have the second-highest interest rates in the OECD? They are up from four percent eight years ago to over eight percent today and they are climbing towards 10 percent. Why have 77,000 New Zealanders left our shores for a better future elsewhere? Is it because the wage gap between New Zealand and Australia has widened dramatically? Why have New Zealanders had to wait eight long years for a tax cut? We know that it is only a cynical manoeuvre being made by Labour for election purposes.

North Shore Hospital
Why are hospital waiting lists catastrophically long? Why is it that every single day now Dr Coleman in Northcote and I are receiving letters, e-mails and telephone calls from residents on the North Shore complaining about the crisis at North Shore Hospital? It is so bad now that the Health and Disability Commission is having to undertake a full-scale investigation into that Hospital. Why can New Zealanders not buy their first home at a reasonable price? Those are the questions I would put to any one of those members opposite.

I would ask whether, in their numerous speeches, they have answered those questions at all, or whether they have even attempted to address those questions. The answer is no. The reason is that those members cannot. They know that they have failed on each and every one of those points. The telling point is this: real wages, after taxes, in this country have not grown. I know that the Government talks about there having been greater growth in the country, but it is largely due to increased employment, not to individuals having a real growth in their wages after taxes. That has not occurred and New Zealanders know the truth of that matter.

National provides answers
Labour has had eight years to fix those problems. We know what happens when a Government has had eight years in power. I have had the experience of being in a Government in its eighth year, and I knew what the situation was. I knew that we were struggling at that point, and I see exactly the same things happening on the Labour Government benches now. When Government members have to hark back to Ruth Richardson’s Budget in 1991 as if that was the cause and when they have collective amnesia about their having been in government for eight years with no answers, then we know that it is a government on its way out. I remember when we used to talk about what Labour did in 1984. It did not even convince us, so it certainly did not convince the voters of New Zealand. I would tell the government not to look back to 1991, but to look at its own record. It should justify its own record and answer the questions that my colleagues and I have been asking. It is not just an issue of rhetorical debate in this Chamber; the country wants answers to those questions. National will provide those answers.

National’s plan
For those members who say that National does not have any policy, let us just go through the discussion documents we have produced, which are typically 30 to 50 pages long, on the environment, health, local government, foreign affairs, and aged care. Those are the substantive works we have done. As well, we have had speeches on youth crime, sentencing, and policing. That is our platform of policy. I know that my colleagues will be producing more documents, more speeches and more comprehensive policy on housing, on infrastructure, on broadband, and, ultimately of course on taxes.

I will talk about two issues and portfolio interests that directly affect me or, more importantly, the city of Auckland. Labour’s answer to the issue has been to set up another committee. It will be three worthy people, I admit, who will be appointed to a committee to give an answer. It has taken eight years, of course, for government members to suddenly realise that there is an infrastructure problem, a roading deficit, in Auckland. After eight years those members have decided that the solution to that issue is to deal with it by way of committee.

National’s plan for Auckland
National will have a comprehensive plan to lift Auckland, and we will deal with the critical issues. We will act. We will deal with the issues of governance. We will deal with the issues of transport, including public transport. We will deal with the international connectivity issues around broadband, connecting our most vital businesses and communities to the globe with fast broadband, not the slow track that Labour would have us on. In truth, that plan will produce action because it will be about action, not talk, and that is the difference. We listened to that speech today and I was just incredibly struck that this is as good as it gets. The only thing government members can produce after eight years in government is a whole lot of footling little plans that do not amount to a hill of beans.

Another area of great interest to me, and which I have been interested in for many, many years, is that of defence. Labour was elected in 1999 on a promise to transform our Defence Force – more depth, less breadth. As a principle, that has some logic and coherence to it. I understand that. I was on the select committee that produced the report Inquiry into Defence Beyond 2000, which dealt with that very issue. So after eight years we should be reasonably able to measure whether that has been achieved. It is one thing for the government to say that it did not do it in 2003, but it is quite another thing to ask it whether it has achieved it after eight years. But we have the figures out from the government. These are the government’s own figures, if we look at all the troubles in the Pacific. I thought it was telling that the government is anxious about deploying one extra platoon to East Timor, because Australia is able to deploy 250 people. On a same-ratio basis, we would expect to be able to deploy 50 or 60 people, but we are anxious about deploying 25 people. I know that the Minister will talk about there being all sorts of policy reasons and so forth, but I suspect there is another reason – that is, lack of people. These are the facts. We have two infantry battalions. They are supposed to have three rifle companies each, each with 120 people. In fact, both those battalions have only two rifle companies. One of those is already deployed into East Timor and another one is largely up in Afghanistan. That is why the Minister is anxious about the numbers. So we do not have the depth.

Eight years of failure
After eight years, Labour’s own prescription has failed. In that one little instance is a microcosm of Labour’s fundamental failure. It is all rhetoric, no action and no dealing with the real issues. The truth is this. New Zealanders know that this government has failed. They know it is time for a change. They want action, not talk, and they will get that at the election later this year.
15 February 2008



Monday 3 March
12.00pm – 2.00pm
(Please note change of time)

Come and enjoy lunch with
Wayne Mapp and Andrew Williams (Mayor, North Shore City)

Taitamariki Guide Hall, Auburn Street, Takapuna
Phone 486 0005


Monday 3 March at 7.30pm

Simon Power (National’s Justice Spokesman) and Greg O’Connor (President, New Zealand Police Association)

North Shore Netball Lounge, Northcote


9.30 for 10.00am - 12.30pm
McHugh's Restaurant, Cheltenham

Phone 486 0005 for your invitation


Thursday 27 March 6.30pm – 8.00pm
Jonmer Boardroom

Speaker - Judy Kirk (President of the NZ National Party)

Dr Wayne Mapp
For more information on National visit
To join the conversation with John Key visit

Visit my website for more information at:
The Mapp Report is published weekly. Please feel free to pass on to anyone interested.


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