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“The Mouse On A Treadmill Budget”

Rt Hon Winston Peters

New Zealand First Leader

16 May 2013

“The Mouse On A Treadmill Budget”

Mr Speaker – our first reaction to this Budget is to call in the Serious Fraud Office.

Never in the history of this country has a government so blatantly cooked the books.

This is financial deceit on a grand scale.

The boast about balancing the books would see a company accountant in court for fraud.

Any balance towards the black is achieved by first, selling assets like Mighty River Power – with more state asset sales to come. Second by not spending last year’s Budget money on key items like health and education and overseas aid, as well as deliberately delaying Treaty settlements promised in last year’s expenditure.

Mr Key, Mr English and Mr Joyce will claim that this budget is:

· Responsible,

· Prudent

· Fit for our times

· Brings gains after five years pain

· Next year’s surplus and,

· A confidence booster

That’s what they claim.

Not one of these claims is true.

The facts are these:

This Budget claims a consistency with every Budget since National came to power in 2008.

But if that has any merit, why since the 2008 era of the three financial stooges have more than 200,000 mainly young Kiwis left NZ?

What has happened to the 170,000 jobs in four years promised just two years ago?

What has happened to export led growth promised in this rebalanced economy?

If any of today’s claims had merit, there would be positive answers to these three questions.

Over 200,000 Kiwis have left New Zealand because they can’t get a job here.

Of the 170,000 jobs promised, they have found only 8,000 so far.

As for export led growth, well the difference between our income from exports – against our payments for imports and interest payments is a giant black ten billion dollar hole!

That’s worse than any other first world economy.

Worse than Portugal,

Worse than Ireland,

Worse than Greece

And worse than Spain.

The so-called PIGS.

Well if they are pigs what has National made New Zealand?

We know and we will tell you.

Mr Speaker – again the three stooges claim there will be GDP growth.

In short the economy is growing somewhere between two to three per cent.

Most of that is the Christchurch rebuild.

Apart from Fletchers who is getting the benefit of this growth?

Who’s benefitting - an elite handful, domestic and foreign - or the mass majority of ordinary everyday Kiwis?

The answer is clear.

Since 2008 per capita incomes, that’s wages or earnings per person, has barely moved.

Ordinary Kiwis are struggling.

Meanwhile the cost of everyday living has skyrocketed, electricity, rates, insurance, the contents of a shopping basket. You name it – it’s gone up.

And don’t boast about interest rates.

Kiwis are paying four times the home interest rates of the US, Britain, Japan and Europe.

And twice the credit card rates.

So what have these geniuses, Key, English and Joyce turned us into?

They have created an economy that reduces the mass majority of New Zealanders to the status of mice on a treadmill.

They have to run faster and faster to stay in the same place.

The rich and powerful elite that run the world’s financial system created a global economic crisis.

Ordinary people pay the price.

This is a budget devised by the rich and powerful for the rich and powerful.

The rest of us stay like mice on a treadmill.

If we look back at our recent history – the road New Zealanders have been forced to follow – has always led to this treadmill.

Like a mouse chasing a bit of cheese.

It started thirty years ago.

The National government tried to suspend New Zealanders in time and space with mini-budgets and price and wage freezes.

It did not work.

Then in the eighties Labour threw New Zealanders to the wolves of the world.

Guided by the half-baked theories of mad monetarists, they came to the conclusion that the only road to success was to secretly restructure the place and sell it.

What they actually did was start the first turn of the treadmill!

In the nineties National promised to take us off the treadmill but in reality made it spin faster.

New Zealand First slowed it down in 1996 when we had some power.

And to be fair Labour tried to keep the brakes on between 1999 and 2008 but of late the momentum of the treadmill is picking up speed.

Mr Speaker – we have to stop the treadmill – take New Zealanders off it – and give them a real economic and social future.

Our once great history was one of nation building and looking after our people.

This Government is selling Mighty River Power and Meridian Energy to put money in a Future Investment Fund.

That fund is going to be used for schools, health and the like.

This used to come from the consolidated fund.

The move means that past generations are paying to keep the country afloat.

Don’t forget the surplus next year is created by swallowing up nearly all the Mighty River float!

How did we lose our great vision?

Why is New Zealand today a high price, low wage economy?

Many of our workers are in jobs that pay wages upon which they and their families cannot survive.

Recently this government gave the Mighty River Power directors pay rises of seventy per cent or more than forty five thousand dollars a year.

The workers were given a rise of twenty five cents an hour – and another spin on the treadmill.

There was a time when lead managers of New Zealand power companies got four times the workers’ wages.

Today some of these managers get thirty times the worker’s wage.

No wonder these egregious, self-serving few are cheering from the rafters.

Sure, there were a few crumbs thrown to the mice today.

Even the mice have to be kept alive.

But it is really hard for the strugglers.

We have already shown the plight of the workers.

Not only do they have to survive on low wages, they have to compete against a flood of cheap imports made by cheap labour.

Families are hit with higher food costs and power bills.

The household disposable income forecasts in this Budget are an illusion!

And what about the manufacturers and exporters?

Running to stand still on a treadmill of soaring costs and an overvalued dollar.

What about small business?

Go to the industrial suburbs of our cities – the Petones– there are streets of empty warehouses and factories!

What about the police?

New Zealand First put a thousand extra frontline police on the beat.

National is cutting these numbers back.

The Crime Industry is being contracted out to the criminals.

Everyone knows – except the 9th floor of the Beehive – that Whānau Ora provides funds to the Mongrel Mob.

What about health services?

What about home help for the elderly?

Everyone is on a treadmill except the Government’s fat cat mates.

They live off the struggle and sweat of the mice on the treadmill.

The housing crisis continues with a few patchwork and piecemeal ideas revealed in this Budget.

The very idea of cheap infill housing sends a shudder through everybody who has seen the industrial housing estates of Britain and Europe.

This Government’s idea of infill housing will create giant transit camps across Auckland.

The results overseas show these housing estates become breeding grounds for crime, poverty and misery.

And what about the elephant in the room about which nobody will speak except New Zealand First?

We know that mass immigration is being used to prop up New Zealand consumer demand and to replace the Kiwi flight overseas.

Most of these new arrivals are going straight to Auckland.

Auckland has a giant housing and infrastructure crisis none of which our biggest city will solve until we address the elephant in the room that a sea of political correctness dare not face.

Now, what has this budget done for Heartland New Zealand – the engine room of the economy – the place that feeds New Zealand’s wealth?

Zilch, nothing, zero, nought, donuts!

This government’s economic policies are geared to shift the whole population to Auckland.

What about Northland?

What about Hawkes Bay, Otago, Westland, Southland ? The places that were once vibrant thriving centres.

And what about Wellington?

Well the minister of economic development has been so dynamic he’s destroyed the economy of the capital city.

Yes again on the treadmill.

The regions keep New Zealand afloat but this Government ignores them.

Last week the Government was gloating over the unemployment figures. There is nothing to boast about because they were down from the record quarter before that.

Again clutching at straws.

Māori unemployment – about fourteen per cent!

Pacific people – more than fifteen per cent!

Teenage unemployment – nearly 26 per cent of people aged 15 to 19 are unemployed.

Their answer – a hundred more Māori cadet places!

What is this Government doing for our young people?

They are standing in a dole queue waiting to go on the treadmill.

For the majority of New Zealanders, this Government has done nothing to stimulate the economy and create a path to prosperity for them.

It is pinning its hopes on selling our most valuable assets and pandering to rich tourists.

While ordinary people struggle, the Government gives cash to casinos and hand outs to Hollywood.

While Kiwis leave, the government is repopulating us from countries like China – and they’re all going to Auckland!!

Our current account deficit - that is the difference between imports and interest payments and export income is still deeply in the red – the worst in the developed world.

And Government debt as at last month rocketed to $57 billion and climbing towards $70 billion.

A staggering sum.

Private debt has reached nightmare levels.

There is nothing in this Budget that starts to develop a pathway out of that debt.

This Budget exposes just how incapable the Government is of getting to grips with the economic challenges facing New Zealand.

We are now behind Australia and New Caledonia – and still falling.

Yes some sweeteners have been trotted out today but overall – it keeps the mice on the treadmill.

It keeps the fat cats feeding on them –

And the Ministers keep cooking the books.

Against the cacophony of the clapping of the clowns on the cabinet benches and the braying of the backbenchers – it would be funny if it were not so serious – we noticed the Klingons strangely silent.

We want to make an appeal to the National Party rank and file supporters.

I remember that party. I was once a member of it when it had great policies, great principles and great practical politicians – when even its enemies used to respect it.

But this National Party is not the party of Hamilton, Holland or Holyoake.

This National Party is the party of Madoff, Merrill Lynch and Money speculators.

We appeal to those left with a conscience in the National Party to remember when Keith Holyoake stopped Rupert Murdoch buying the Dominion newspaper.

He said we had to own our own country.

We urge people throughout this land to remember this.

We are men and women. We are NOT mice.

New Zealand First makes this promise here today.

Back us and we’ll get you off the treadmill.

We have plans to take back our country and our future.

ENDS

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