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Peters: This Is OUR Place – We Want It Back

Rt Hon Winston Peters address to GreyPower, Caledonian Hall, King Street, Kopeopeo, Whakatane at 9am, 24th October 2008

“This Is OUR Place – We Want It Back”

When Captain Cook named this part of our country, the “Bay of Plenty” he sure got it right.

Even back in 1769, James Cook, recognised the abundance of this great province.

The word got round and before you could say “Treaty of Waitangi”, the place was full of settlers from England and elsewhere, all wanting a slice of the action.

Now that is a bit of over simplification but New Zealand seemed an attractive place for people trying to escape the misery and hardship of the British Isles.

This place that promised a better life, some prospects and somewhere to own and call home.

This was still the case as most of us in this room grew up, worked and helped to build this country – even in some small way.

This country is OUR place. It belongs to us and we in New Zealand First believe it is time we took it back.

We are not talking about an armed revolution or anything like that – we are talking about taking back control of our destiny and reaping the fair rewards of our labour.

In recent months we have unveiled plans to set up a New Zealand Fund.

This fund is a place where New Zealanders can invest money to buy back strategic assets that once belonged to taxpayers but were flogged off by short sighted Labour and National governments.

We have gone even further this week with our policy of giving Kiwibank customers the chance to buy shares in their bank.
Not privatise it, but expand its capital value by letting New Zealanders share with government in its expansion.

This would be done to increase the amount of capital behind it so it can grow bigger and take on the Australian banks.

These banks take $4 billion a year from us.

Just imagine what we could do for families and senior citizens with even half that amount.

When the credit crunch comes, and it will, the Australian banks will look after their shareholders first.

New Zealanders will come a distant second. That is the way things work.

If we had our own major bank again, it would act in the interests of New Zealand shareholders and depositors and mortgagees.

It would be OUR bank – and its profits would be OUR profits.

Now we make you this promise today – if you return New Zealand First to parliament in greater numbers we will make sure the government guarantee of the banks that Labour and National are squabbling over actually works for you.

It will work like this – if we are forced to pay out any money to Australian banks, then we get equity in that bank in return.

We simply will not bail out Australian banks and get nothing in return.

Mind you with the profits they are making here it makes you wonder why we would need to bail them out in the first place.

Remember the Trustee Savings Banks? They operated in the community for the community and they were so good they were gobbled up by vested interests.

Everyone in this room will remember when we once actually owned the entire electricity generation network, the distribution lines and everything connected.

Now it’s a hodgepodge of private companies, state owned enterprises and utility groups, all top heavy, paying themselves plenty and every winter we worry about power cuts.

Just recently we had Vector sold off to Asian interests.

Why would we put the supply of our electricity at the mercy of those whose only concern is profits – not the welfare of New Zealanders?

You have been price-gouged, overcharged and exploited for long enough.

This nonsense has to stop.

We are a country of just over four million people and we don’t need all these different companies who compete – not with service – but in exploitation of consumers.

We say it’s time for these strategic assets to go back into the hands of the people who paid for them in the first place – the taxpayers.

The New Zealand Fund would be used for this purpose.

We would buy back those elements of the power network in foreign hands.

We would merge the three SOE’s and take control of power prices again.

New Zealand First would ensure that prices would never rise faster than inflation.

And we would ensure that the much needed investment in infrastructure, needed to ensure continuity of supply, is in fact made.

It will be a good investment for Kiwis because the current owners are certainly milking it for all they’re worth!

Our campaign slogan this election is “protecting and saving YOUR New Zealand”.

Protecting and saving our senior citizens is part of that.

Over the past three years we have worked hard for you and we have more plans to make life better. We have:

• Increased superannuation by over $70 a week for married couples and $40 for singles.

• Put more than half a billion dollars extra into eldercare.

• Introduced the SuperGold Card with free off-peak travel on public transport.

• Gained higher subsidies for hearing aids.

• We slowed Labour’s politically correct social engineering agenda.

• Provided 1000 more frontline police staff and 250 support staff to make your communities safer.

But there is a lot more to be done over the next three years.

We still do not believe New Zealand Superannuation is high enough.

We know that there is a serious economic crisis, and we have plans to deal with that, but this does not mean some of our seniors should live in poverty.

We will increase Superannuation to 68% of the Net Average Wage for married couples, with similar adjustments for singles.

We also want to change the rebate level for those who are non-qualified spouses to bring it into line with the widows’ benefit and raise the rebate from $80 to $100 and ensure it is indexed to the CPI.

And we must deal with the issue of overseas pensions once and for all.

While we secured a review of these and some minor changes, the reality is that the only fair and equitable solution is a 1 in 45 year formula, based on years resident in each jurisdiction.

This is the fairest method.

We believe the SuperGold Card can be even better.

We will introduce a power subsidy of $300 per household with a SuperGold Card over the winter months.

We also want to see doctors visits even cheaper for our senior citizens.

We want to see that the subsidy paid to those in eldercare is indexed to the CPI – like superannuation.

Many of you must be concerned about the crisis in the global financial sector.

We have a plan to address it – and it includes our New Zealand Fund buying back some of the strategic assets flogged off to foreign interests.

New Zealand First is going to use the state’s credit and loan facilities to drive interest rates dramatically down.

New Zealand owned banks with Government support can cut both mortgage and credit rates to save families, and New Zealand First intends to do just that.

We have seen what greed can do to international financial markets and to ours back home as well.

And while we are at it, why are government and local body accounts with foreign banks?

Those accounts should be in a New Zealand owned bank where our economy gets the profits.

New Zealanders are being taken to the cleaners by foreign owned banks and finance dealers.

It’s time to look after our own people first.

Protecting and saving YOUR New Zealand also means looking after your communities.

We are going to protect your homes and your streets by banning gangs and mounting a war against crime.

For those who want to break the crime habit we will help them with rehabilitation programmes.

The legislation is ready, we have the extra police and they will get whatever powers needed to get on top of the problem.

The Bay of Plenty gang problems will disappear –or if they don’t the gangsters will disappear into large concrete buildings with strict rules, a low carb diet and plenty of exercise.

New Zealand First is now fifteen years old.

Our critics said we would not last ten minutes but as usual they were wrong.

We were born in the ashes of the broken promises of the 1990 National government.

They said they would not keep hitting the elderly with a super surcharge – and then they reduced pensions.

We are here to protect you and to save this once great country.

Today we have a warning that senior citizens are the easiest group to target in the whole community.

Remember it is not what politicians say but what they do that counts.

New Zealand First is campaigning on its record – not on promises not worth the air they pass on.

You can trust us because we do what we say we will.

You CAN make a difference this election. Vote for a better future.

Vote New Zealand First.


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