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A Party Working For All New Zealanders

Rt Hon Winston Peters
New Zealand First Leader
10 July 2014

Coromandel Public Meeting
Thursday 10 July, 1pm

The Memorial Hall, Seddon St, Waihi

A Party Working For All New Zealanders

Thank you for this chance to speak with you in Waihi today.

Today will set out why New Zealand First is the party that you should support in the 2014 Election.

But first, some comments on the specific situation that Waihi faces are appropriate.

Waihi and gold – the two are inseparable.

And what Waihi shows is the absolute necessity and importance of firm and strict regulation to ensure communities and mining can co-exist.

New Zealand First is not opposed to extraction industries.

But we are a party that believes that the interests of local residents have to be taken into account whenever mining, drilling or exploration activities are proposed.

We are not like some who are desperate to favour multi-national corporate interests over New Zealand interests.

Our position is that international companies are welcome when they generate real jobs and wealth in New Zealand.

In our view, such companies should be here on New Zealand’s terms – not theirs!

You will recall that in 1987 the Labour Government negotiated a zero royalty rate with Newmont. Realistically that rate has increased very little.

The company's two gold and silver Trio and Favona underground mines at Waihi paid royalties of one per cent of the mines' revenue and the open pit Martha 0.5 per cent. In 2012, the Martha mine paid a cash royalty to the Government of $987,385.

There are real issues facing Waihi East residents as Newmont changes its mining activities. These include the environmental and financial impacts on property values.

The interests of local residents must not be dismissed to those of corporate interests.

New Zealand First stands by you who have been badly let down by the Government that with its blinkered approach went totally with the mining expansion without heeding the concerns of Waihi residents.

A compensation package for residents who wanted to sell and move elsewhere should have been worked through.

Their houses have been depreciated because of the extractive operations and it’s only fair that government take responsibility.

New Zealand First will ensure that government does do its duty by local residents.

If there is a majority view here that employment from the mine is positive then we need also to remove the negatives.

That is why New Zealand First puts New Zealanders first in its policies.

There is another New Zealand First policy directly relevant to Waihi – our ‘Royalties for the Regions’ policy.

Under our policy, 25 per cent of the revenue collected as royalties from extractive industries would remain in the region that produced them.

Imagine the improvements to local facilities, amenities and infrastructure if Waihi and this region were receiving 25 per cent of the royalties from the Newmont mines.

Many residents of Waihi and this district are keen on fishing.

New Zealand First has a very comprehensive policy on fishing and protecting our resources that balances recreational and customary needs.

One of the most important and fundamental foundations of our society is the right of people to catch food from the wild.

The people of New Zealand and the needs of future generations should come first when setting allowances based on reliable surveys.

No one wants to deny the commercial fishing industry the right to earn an honest living, but the fishery belongs to the nation as a whole.

Under our policy, the extent of the inshore fishery will be determined by the region through consultation with its interest groups, but it is envisaged that in most regions it will typically be to the 12-mile territorial limit.

In some regions a depth limit such as the 100 metre line may be more appropriate than a distance limit.

This inshore fishery must be the primary preserve of recreational fishing. To be fair, commercial fishing will be compensated for any loss of access to the inshore fishery.

No trawling will be permitted in the inshore fishery and, with few exceptions, no commercial catch from the inshore fishery will be allowed to be exported.

Where commercial fishing inshore is required in order to supply local trade (for example coastal set netting for flat fish) this must be only in designated areas and only by approved methods.

Now, as we approach the 2014 election this is a chance to set out some of the major policies that New Zealand First has long stood for.

Let’s start by stating some of the fundamental principles we operate by – because they have served us well through the past 21 years.

New Zealand First is a non-ideological party – our policies are reality based.

We are not beholden, constrained or limited by a whole range of pre-existing positions or serving particular interest groups.

This gives us a unique advantage - we look at the facts and work for what is in the best interests of ordinary Kiwis and New Zealand as a whole.

We have a comprehensive set of social priorities based on sound principles.

First, New Zealand First stands for a society based on merit and equal opportunity for all New Zealanders.

We should not take our identity or social cohesion for granted. This is particularly important given the large scale demographic changes that have occurred.

One of the reasons we favour cautious and prudent immigration policy is to ensure that our social cohesion is not undermined or threatened. New Zealand has been absorbing migrants at a prodigious rate – it’s long overdue for a pause.

Second, unlike other parties, we have no truck with separatism.

One Law For All

We totally oppose the trend, promoted or condoned by others, to create a ‘parallel state’ for Māori through programmes such as Whānau Ora and divisive legislation covering the seabed and foreshore.

As mentioned earlier, the party’s foundation principles include putting New Zealand and New Zealanders first. In doing that we recognise that everyone must be treated equally and fairly. And that includes in the courts where there should be One Law For All.

However, this abiding principle was not reflected in a court decision last week when one of the Māori King’s sons was discharged without conviction after he pleaded guilty to charges of burglary, theft and drink driving.

We have always had great respect for the Māori King movement.

While the court considered this young man’s future and potential ascension to the Māori throne when making its ruling - New Zealand First believes this was wrong and the court ruling was wrong.

The court sent a mixed signal to Māori youth, and the country as a whole, that there is one law for some and one for others. This is not reflective of an egalitarian society.

The Crown must appeal this court decision, it has a duty too.

Sadly, these divisive policies will neither help Māori nor New Zealand.

Public/Private provision of services

We support a mixed economy. We do not subscribe to National’s free market ideology that wants to see private interests dominating the provision of public services.

We now have private prisons and much elder care is through private businesses.

They are privatising the education sector through charter schools.

As we all know, the electricity sector is a complete shambles. It can only generate price hikes and now requires total reconstruction.

Access to education and health services are fundamental to a decent society.

There can be no real equality of opportunity if there is gross inequality and disparity in these two critical areas.


We support a high quality public education system and high quality public health service.

Pensions and Aged Care

New Zealand First will fund the dignity of the elderly. We recognise the value and contribution of those who work in the aged care sector, as we did between 2005-08 when we last had the power to see it properly funded.

New Zealand First’s policy is to preserve the entitlement of New Zealanders to receive NZ Superannuation (NZS) at 65 years, a universal non-contributory publicly funded pension scheme with no means-testing.

At 4.1 per cent net of GDP, NZS is affordable and there is no reason why that should change provided sensible, fair changes are made concerning immigrants and overseas pensions.

But be, as we are, ever vigilant. National’s mates in the financial services sector are hellbent on undermining New Zealand Super to serve their own agenda.

They funded the National Party and they mean to have their way. Their pay back will be massive on their party funding like in past times in the eighties and nineties, when first Labour, and then National, went on a privatisation binge.

Remember New Zealand Rail? Sold by National almost 21 years ago, 20 July 1993 (incidentally two days after the formation of New Zealand First).

You will recall it was purchased by New Zealand Rail financial advisors, Fay Richwhite, and Wisconsin Central. Within three weeks of the international market learning of this transaction, which never went to public tender, the share price of those two purchasing companies went up a massive $188 million.

A huge increase for Fay Richwhite on the $1 million they donated to National for the 1990 campaign.

You’ll never get those sort of odds at the Thames Races!

You know, you will not have any excuse if you say ‘but we didn’t know’.

Economy

New Zealand First has a clear set of economic priorities.

As a vulnerable trading nation, it is vital that we strengthen our economic base to deliver long term prosperity for New Zealanders.

New Zealand’s international indebtedness is around $150 billion – one of the highest rates relative to GDP in the 34 OECD countries.

This makes New Zealand a hostage to fortune in the event of a major external shock or disruption.

Right now the Government is pretending all is on track with the economy. That is far from the truth as business leaders belatedly now admit.

The latest financial figures out this week are further evidence that the Government’s so-called surplus is a fiction.

No wonder Mr Key wanted an early election. No wonder he doesn’t want you to see the October financial update.

Unemployment

Despite New Zealand’s terms of trade at a 40 year high there are still nearly 150,000 unemployed New Zealanders – more than the population of Dunedin. That is an appalling waste of human talent and is not acceptable to New Zealand First.

Exchange rate

On this date in 1967 New Zealand moved to decimal currency and 47 years later we need to stabilise our overvalued currency as a matter of urgency.

Right now, our dollar is about to reach its highest level against the US dollar since our currency was floated in March of 1985.

New Zealand First has long stood for a sound monetary policy that suits our economy.

Monetary policy has been used as a club, a blunt instrument, to bludgeon the economy into submission.

We will legislate to broaden the Reserve Bank’s mandate in favour of balanced growth that will encourage exports and support the manufacturing base.

Our legislation to fix this serious drag on our economic health was defeated by one vote – both in 2012 and 2013.

Exports

New Zealand's export growth is sluggish and we are still too reliant on a relatively small group of products.

Dairy and timber account for 40 per cent of New Zealand’s export receipts.

We say manufacturing matters and not just the basic manufacturing of primary produce. A diverse and innovative manufacturing sector is the hallmark of a healthy and resilient economy.

We have policies to actively support, encourage, and where appropriate protect this vital sector.

There are too many jobs, skills and wealth creation at stake in maintaining a broadly based manufacturing sector to allow the sector to whither slowly away.

Foreign Ownership

What we stand for is in our party name – New Zealand First.

Far too much of our productive asset base, including our prime agricultural land, has gone into foreign ownership.

We have legislation ready to provide, for the first time, an accurate picture of the extent of foreign ownership of New Zealand land and homes.

New Zealand workers have ended up as cheap labour for overseas investors to exploit. This trend must be reversed.

We have KiwiFund, (a government owned KiwiSaver provider) to encourage savings that will support buying back our assets and investing in our infrastructure.

Conclusion

In 2014, New Zealand First is offering a comprehensive range of social and economic policies to do three things:


· Deliver a decent standard of living for all New Zealanders.

· Stop other parties squandering all that is of value.

· Restore New Zealand to stable and cohesive democracy.

We are a party working for all New Zealanders.

There are some who are happy to live in a country with a government that puts overseas interests before our own, that sells off our assets without asking you, that seeks to rig an election before you’ve had a chance to vote, that condones divisive policies based on race, or pushes single issues as though the general health and wellbeing of the mass of the population doesn’t matter - those people will sit back and do nothing.

However if that’s not what you want for you, your children or your grandchildren, then join up, join in, and by doing so we can ensure that this 2014 election will be seen in the future as the year New Zealanders made a stand for the better.

ENDS

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