Peters: Keeping The Wolf From The Door
An address by Rt Hon Winston Peters to Rodney GreyPower,
Mahurangi Community Centre,
Humatana Road, Snells Beach, Northland,
Friday 29th August 2008, 11 am
Keeping The Wolf From The Door
Ladies and Gentlemen you might have noticed that we are only a few months from an election.
A pivotal moment for our nation approaches because an election is a time to reflect upon and chose a direction for New Zealand.
What New Zealanders want to know – in fact what they are entitled to know – is precisely what the political parties are offering.
Because you do not need a crystal ball to see some economic storm clouds on the horizon.
Whoever leads the government in the next
Parliament will face tough conditions.
The global economy is on a knife edge.
The United States sub-prime mortgage meltdown is generally regarded as starting in August 2007 but the end of the financial upheavals is not yet in sight.
Central banks are still trying to bring stability to global financial markets.
So there is a real possibility of major international financial disruption and as far as New Zealand’s domestic economy is concerned, Treasury has told us we are in recession already.
Unlike other political parties, New Zealand First is convinced that New Zealand should be bracing itself to face real economic challenges.
This is not the time to be talking about huge tax cuts or big road tolls.
It is not time to talk about big borrowing programmes.
We must put the days of borrow, boom and bust behind us.
Your generation and your parents have lived through both the bad times and the good times in New Zealand.
We have surely reached the stage where we can use the good times to smooth out the bad.
And at the same time we must ensure that we protect the vulnerable groups in our community.
A civilised society is measured by the way it treats its senior citizens.
In many countries the elderly are respected and held in high esteem because of the wisdom of their years and the contribution they have made.
In some others the elderly are seen as a problem – a cost on the health system and their pensions a drain on the economy.
No party cares more about the elderly than us.
We have proved it time and time again.
Our philosophy is that superannuation, retirement, healthcare and daily living is a total package.
And you have a right to this because of your contribution to society.
Today I would like to list some of our plans for after the election.
New Zealand superannuation will be increased.
We will subsidise your power bills in winter.
The SuperGold Card will be extended to include discounts on more items that make up the cost of living.
We will reduce GST to 10 percent and make the first hundred dollars a week of income tax free.
We are going to make your communities safer.
We are going to do more to protect your savings and investments.
You are always playing catch-up.
We are slowly but surely pushing up the rate.
After the next election it will go from 66 percent of the net average wage to 68 percent.
We want it to eventually reach 72.5
percent of the net average wage because of the increasing
cost of living but we can only take one step at a time with
the competing needs of each group in the community.
We worry that senior citizens face soaring power bills.
Some have to think twice about turning on the heater.
We will subsidise winter power bills starting in June next year.
With our support for the amended Emissions Trading System we have negotiated a deal that mean households, especially those on superannuation, will not bear any cost.
In fact we have a system in place that will assist the elderly have warmer, healthier homes.
It will be a win-win situation.
There were things about the ETS that we did not go along with but we had a choice between influencing the legislation or doing nothing.
Doing nothing was never an option. We could not leave the vulnerable low income households to the mercy of those politicians on the side of the polluters.
More discounts are coming for SuperGold cardholders.
The first shipment of updated SuperGold Card directories now contain over 850 businesses and nearly 5000 business outlets.
Hundreds of new businesses have joined since the card was launched.
So use your new directory and the true benefits of the SuperGold Card will become even clearer.
In less than one year your card is more advanced than many equivalent cards in Australia.
When the free off-peak public transport kicks in later this year, along with the extra $500 subsidy for hearing aids the card will be even more valuable.
Reducing GST and Income Tax
We have already announced our policy of reducing GST from 12.5 percent to ten percent.
That will have the effect of making goods cheaper without adding to inflation.
When GST was first announced the architects said the ten percent figure was set in concrete.
Not long afterwards they increased it.
Ten percent GST is sustainable fiscally. And we have more on top of that.
We want the first hundred dollars a week earned by any New Zealander to be tax free.
That means you can earn $5,200 a year with investments before the tax man starts knocking on the door.
You have the right to feel safe in your homes and on the streets.
Unfortunately there are some local law and order problems.
We intend to put the local gangs out of business.
You’ll hear more about this later but we have a policy of banning gangs and of dealing to the crime that comes with them.
The present situation is a shambles.
Over the past few months thousands of people have lost billions of dollars through finance and property company collapses and repayment moratoriums.
Many of those affected have been the elderly. Some have lost everything.
They are being penalised for being prudent and setting something aside for their retirement.
These finance cowboys have to be made accountable. We will do this.
New Zealand First has worked to gradually improve things for senior citizens.
In October this year as tax cuts take effect for working New Zealanders, those on superannuation will get a major windfall.
For married couples this means just under $23 a week, with adjusted amounts for other rates of New Zealand Superannuation.
You see we said your superannuation needed to be higher – and it is.
But our commitment does not stop there.
This coming election is about some of the really basic issues.
It's about the survival of ordinary people in the face of oil price shocks, exorbitant interest rates, price rises, increased crime and threatened unemployment.
We are concerned that people who really should go to the doctor or buy a prescription can't afford to.
Food costs are soaring – the price of petrol is going through the roof.
We know that life is not easy for you.
We could go on but there is a simple message we have come to deliver.
New Zealand First will look after you.
You can rely on New Zealand First.