Peters: Tauranga Electorate AGM Speech
25 May 2008
Tauranga Electorate AGM
Methodist Church Hall, 13th Avenue
“New Zealand Needs You”
It was J William Fulbright who said that “In a democracy dissent is an act of faith. Like medicine, the test of its value is not in its taste, but in its effects.”
New Zealand First is a party that has not been afraid to stand alone and express dissent at the status quo.
We have not been satisfied with just accepting the economic and social rules the two old parties have foisted on New Zealand.
We alone have stood up and said there is a better way.
You see we have lived through and born the brunt of the social and economic experiments of the past two decades.
We lived through the asset sales, the slashing of New Zealand Superannuation and other benefits and the total exposure of our economy to the whims of global markets.
We have watched our society degenerate to the point where gangs, drugs and murder feature not on imported television shows, but dominate our six o’clock news.
We are now killing each other and even worse our innocent children.
We have watched our values eroded and our society crumble.
We have watched New Zealand subject itself to one short-sighted policy fixation after another.
We seemed entrenched in a boom and then bust mentality – driven by the whims of the two old parties.
We had the stock market boom of 1984 to 1987 when P. E. ratios were fairyland and then the stock market crash of October 1987 - boom and then a massive bust, bigger than anywhere in the developed world.
You would have thought we would have learnt our lesson.
But no – we had the rabbit boom. Remember rabbits were going to make us rich.
Then the goat boom – goats were going to make us rich.
Then the deer boom – one more South Sea bubble.
And just like every other boom there was the bust and inevitable disappointment.
Recently we went through the housing boom and bust – most of it driven by the flawed policy of open door immigration.
We are now living though the fallout of the sub prime mortgage boom and bust.
This one has really hurt the people of Tauranga.
The actions of Blue Chip in this region, and across New Zealand were despicable.
But there is one aspect of the Blue Chip saga which has never received the coverage it should have.
You see we had a stadium here in Tauranga which became Blue Chip Stadium. In fact our local rugby team was named after them.
But this was an imported name, brought here by the man who was supposed to be the regions advocate.
Fortunately he has chosen to quit – too scared to face up to the people of Tauranga again.
We don’t yet know who National is going to select for Tauranga – in fact we believe there is quite a scrap going on.
But all we can say is that whoever it is, we hope National gives them a decent list spot if they are serious about bringing them to parliament.
Because the people of Tauranga have been taken for granted.
New Zealand First says the cycle of boom and bust – of being duped – must end.
And only New Zealand First can end it.
But we need you – Tauranga needs you and New Zealand needs you.
We need your time, your efforts and your focus for our shared cause.
We can only end this cycle if New Zealand First is strong enough after the next election to steer the ship – not just helping to keep it afloat.
Ours is a great cause.
We must break through the control of the two old parties and set the course New Zealand needs to be a world leader again.
We have the policy programme.
Neither of the two old parties has either the courage of the vision to make the tough calls needed in our economy and our society.
Let me give you one example.
In this recent budget Labour cut taxes which also created a windfall for those on Superannuation.
We insisted that this windfall kick in with the tax cuts on 1 October this year - not April the following year.
While we believe our policy of a tax free threshold of $5200 would have delivered more to those who need it – including those on Superannuation – these tax cuts will deliver extra income.
But what was missing – and what neither of the two old parties will confront – is a policy to address affordability issues.
That is why New Zealand First wants to see GST reduced to 10% across the board – along with tax cuts – so that both income and affordability are addressed.
It is this vision that both National and Labour lack.
But we would not stop there.
You see the most vulnerable of our seniors have been on the back foot for too long and they need a boost.
Only New Zealand First is prepared to increase superannuation to ensure that our seniors are not left behind.
I could list policy front after policy front where New Zealand First has the solutions New Zealanders need.
I have heard some say that New Zealand needs change – and we agree.
But if you really think National is the solution then you are asking the wrong question.
With National all you get is change for changes sake.
Only New Zealand First offers a change in direction, rather than a flip flop.
Only New Zealand First offers change that is sound, credible and will work.
This election is not about National verses Labour.
This election is about the future direction of New Zealand.
So our plea to you today is to join us in this cause of hope and change.
To join us as we make New Zealand great again.
Join us as we send the clear signal to Tauranga and New Zealand that only New Zealand First will break the cycle of the two old parties, the booms and busts which hurt so much.
We ask you today to join with us.
Go from here today – build our team and send the message loud and clear.
Hope is returning to Tauranga – hope which will put New Zealand and New Zealanders First.