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Speech: Peters - New Zealand First Convention

New Zealand First Convention Speech

Sunday, 20 July, 2pm

Alexandra Park, Auckland

“It’s Common Sense”

Ladies and Gentlemen,

Our gratitude goes to all those who have worked so diligently for the Party – the thousands of people who generously gave, and still give of their time, talent and energy to support what we stand for.

We thank our hard working MPs who have the privilege of serving in the frontline of politics.

And we appreciate the excellent support we get from Party members and our parliamentary staff.

Achievements

You have made, and make, a positive difference.

You can take real pride in what we have achieved over the past 21 years.

New Zealand First is needed today as much as the day we began, putting the interests of New Zealanders first.

We are not sectional, one issue, or a special interest group, or voices for a clique and we put our fellow citizens interest up front, out front without compromise. What we have achieved is remarkable.

Since the beginning our policies have stood the test of time.

They were right then; they are right now!

For example, we said that right wing monetarism, and the Reserve Bank’s high currency and high interest rates were bad for an export dependent nation.

We said that selling strategic state assets was economically and socially unsound.

We said that unfocused immigration would be bad for New Zealand.

We said those on Super were being cheated.
We warned of the looming gravy chain that the Treaty of Waitangi industry would become.

We argued that to curb crime we had to increase police strength.

Just some examples of the unique positions, we took and still take, because there is logic and common sense behind our policies.

There is no hidden agenda with NZ First, no secret subtext covert from the public.

For almost six years National has worked for the few – at the expense of the many. Hence, their slogan, working for New Zealand.

You only have to say that when you are not.

It puts one in mind of the old English saying “the more he spoke of his honour the more we counted our spoons.”

No party has more consistently stood for strong action to curb crime – we increased Police strength by 1000 frontline officers, and 235 back office staff, in just three years.

Today we set out the fundamental policy themes we’ll be putting to the New Zealand voters.

Core policies in our party’s name, and our slogan for the election.

Economic Policy

On the economy it is time to cut through National’s pretence. This is no “rock star” economy.

Not with almost 150,000, unemployed and a further 100,000 wanting much more work

And there is National’s elephant in the room - debt of $150 billion that New Zealand owes the rest of the world.

The truth is that under National, we now have a high risk economy.

We rely on a small group of products - dairy and forestry, which accounts for 40 per cent of our exports.

In contrast Zealand First’s economic policy is clear.

We have legislation to deal with the grossly overvalued exchange rate to encourage serious export growth, and rebuild our manufacturing base and the provinces.

Our policies will build a diverse and innovative manufacturing sector that is the hallmark of a healthy, resilient economy.

Building A High Tech Sector and Research & Development

No one is blessed with a crystal ball, but our future prosperity depends on investment in new information and communications technology (ICT), and research and development.

New Zealand First is committed to achieving a target of over 2 per cent of GDP for research and development.

Technology is highly dynamic and the idea of governments and agencies ‘picking winners’ here, is a fallacy.

New Zealand First does not want companies mired in a grants minefield of bureaucrats and politicians deciding who gets what, when, and how, in this sector.

New Zealand First will not set up a new bureaucracy and throw hundreds of millions of taxpayers dollars at it in the vague hope that it might work.

Our policy is to use targeted tax incentives to spur investment in innovative technology projects, research and development.

Our policy is clear and clean.

You make the investment.

You get the tax concession.

Such investment money, if verified, and spent in areas applicable to our scheme will get serious tax credits.

But, two cautions.

First. Cheat our system and you will spend some time in prison.

Second. There will be conditions to ensure that New Zealand technology ventures, built up as a result of this policy, stay in New Zealand.

Of course New Zealand companies can expand offshore but we want to preserve the real benefits for New Zealand.

A fair tax system

New Zealand First is for a fair tax system.

There are estimated to be 250,000 children in poverty in New Zealand and many households are struggling to make ends meet.

Half New Zealand households have had no income increase since 2009!

Food is an unavoidable item of household spending.

The time for hand-wringing and genteel concern is long over.

So we commit to raise the standard of living of families struggling the most.

Poverty needs a circuit breaker and New Zealand First will deliver it.

Today we announce:

1) New Zealand First’s policy to remove GST from your food, off that is, all the basics of the household food budget.

This bold policy aims at the heart of the inequality undermining our society.

This is estimated to cost $3 billion per year and will be funded by:

• A clamp down on tax evasion and the black economy (estimated to run at $7 billion annually).
• Drawing on the projected surplus of billions in the years ahead that result from running a sound economy.

And on tax evasion, no other party has our record for taking on tax evaders and fraudsters.

When the others haven’t raised a finger we have raised the roof.

We also announce that:

2) As part of a fair system, we will remove GST from rates on residential property.

This “tax on a tax deceit” has to end, and it will.

3) Today we announce that we are going to cap loan sharking interest rates. A month ago in a parliamentary vote only New Zealand First voted for there to be a cap.

Younger New Zealanders

Some ill-informed commentators assert that New Zealand First policies do not apply to younger New Zealanders

They are wrong.

• We are the architects of free doctor’s visits for the young
• We were the first to propose a universal student allowance
• We have real policies to deal to student debt
• We moved the minimum wage between 2005 and 2008 further than any other party in this country’s history – from $9 to $12 in just three years.

The truth is recent governments have let young New Zealanders down.

How does open door immigration help our young compete for jobs and homes?

How do 79,000 foreign student work visas help our youth get work or pay their student loan?

How does ‘Export Education” work – when our economy pays for the education of so many foreign students.

How do school classes over-burdened with children speaking little or no English help the education of our children?

How does selling off assets, land and houses to “foreign interests” benefit the ownership prospects of young New Zealanders?

None of that makes economic or social sense. We’ve got the courage to say so.

Separatism

New Zealand First totally opposes the insidious creeping separatism undermining New Zealand.

We believe there are four things that Māori want:
1. Housing, that is affordable.
2. Healthcare, that is readily available.
3. Educational opportunity.
4. Employment, with first world wages.

That’s what people everywhere want.

There are numerous “causes” exploiting Māori numbers to make all sorts of claims, whilst never addressing these four critical issues that Māori really want.

We oppose policies and parties that promote or condone a ‘parallel state’ for Māori through programmes such as Whānau Ora and divisive legislation promoting separate health, justice, and asset ownership systems.

We are the only party to hold Government to account for policies that ignore the real needs of Maori – the only party with the honesty and the courage to do so.

Immigration

On immigration National has allowed record levels of migrants with over 40,000 net entering this country, this year, alone.

National treats citizenship like confetti to be tossed out to all and sundry.

Everyone except the wilfully blind – can see the enormous costs that this imposes on New Zealand - in housing, health care, education and overloaded infrastructure.

Who benefits from an open door immigration?

Certainly not ordinary New Zealanders struggling for affordable housing and decent jobs.

When the OECD seriously criticises our confused immigration policy then you know something is gravely wrong.

New Zealand First will cut immigration to those we need, not those who need us.

Superannuation

Superannuation is an equity and fairness issue for New Zealand First.

Some of you have worked for over fifty years, half a century, to get Super.

You have our ongoing commitment to keep New Zealand Super, at no less than 66 per cent, at age 65, with no means testing.

Our record on this is unmatched:
• We got rid of the iniquitous surtax.
• We got Super back to 66 per cent of the net average wage.
• We introduced the SuperGold Card with all of its benefits, and more to come – and today 630,000 hold this card.

At 4.1 per cent NET of GDP, Super is affordable provided there are sensible changes concerning immigrants and overseas pensions.

New Zealand First says your Super should not be free for all.

Already, 68,000 have accessed our Super by entering via parent reunion. After 10 years, whether they contributed or not, they became entitled to full New Zealand super.

That does not make any sense, other than to those too PC. to question it.

We say only New Zealanders, and those qualified by length of stay, should get the full pension.

That’s fair, that’s makes sense, however, with one group of retired there is gross unfairness and New Zealand First intends to stop it.

Section 70s

There may be as many as 75,000, called Section 70s, suffering the deduction of their overseas pensions from New Zealand Super.

They are being cheated out of their rightful income and National refused to listen. We will.

New Zealand First is urgently committed to set this right.

Foreign Ownership

Under National much prime agricultural land has gone into foreign ownership.

Many of our best strategic business assets have gone. And of course Aussie banks already own 95 per cent of the banking system.

National refuses to collect accurate data deliberately There are no official figures to tell us how much land is in foreign ownership.

Many foreign governments think National’s policy is ludicrous. So do we.

Since 2008 at least a million hectares has gone into foreign ownership. They claim it doesn’t matter.

We believe none of this makes sense.

New Zealand First will put this right. We have legislation that will provide, for the first time, a full, accurate picture of the extent of foreign ownership of New Zealand land and homes.

It will tell you who owns their country, and we will stop the selloff.

Our KiwiFund, a government run KiwiSaver provider, will encourage savings to buy back our assets and invest in infrastructure.

New Zealand First opposes an extension of capital gains tax without compensation for capital losses.

That said, we will support an extension to capital gains tax where it applies to foreign ownership of land and homes.

Under New Zealand First policy non-citizens/non-residents will no longer be allowed to buy up our housing stock.

Law and Order

National boasts about falling crime statistics. It’s a spurious claim.

They have:
• Been caught changing crime data.
• Subtly introduced warning offenders, not charging them – ask any criminal lawyer.
• Reduced police numbers per capita – ask any police officer.

Compare that with New Zealand First’s getting 1000 more frontline officers and 235 back office staff in just three years, 2005-2008.

We all know of the alarming binge drinking and drug culture in New Zealand.

This is causing serious anti-social and harmful behaviour in many communities.

Clearly, the current law is no disincentive. It doesn’t prevent people from doing harm to themselves or to others.

Without serious penalties there is no reason why things will change.

So today we are announce a new policy to tackle binge drinking and the drug affected.

We propose; to the degree that it could cause serious harm to themselves, or someone else, it will be an offence to be drunk or seriously drug affected in a public place, or while trespassing on private property.

This law would provide penalties of up to $2000, or up to three months in prison.

Like all our policies, clamping down on binge drinking, and the drug affected, is sensible. It addresses an urgent gap in our law.

Environment

21 years ago, one of our founding principles said ‘good environmentalism is sound economics’.

We were the first party to say the Emissions Trading Scheme did not work, and worse, encouraged further pollution.

Other parties are now joining us.

The difference is that we understand, like the Scandanavians, that wise extraction policies are necessary to provide sound environmental policy.

We can’t harness the sun, wind or tide without using extractive minerals.

When in charge of foreign affairs, we set up an Embassy in Scandanavia to take advantage of what they could teach us on how sound environmentalism in leading economies works.

Typically, the National Government closed it down, in favour of opening one in Barbados.

None of that of course, made any sense.
A great majority of countries see climate change as a result of increasing greenhouse gases and as a major global challenge.
In the last three years both wind and photo-voltaic electricity generation have become increasingly competitive with fossil fuel energy. A progressive phase-out of fossil fuels is possible if society develops appropriate strategies and plans.

Other countries, notably Great Britain, and the Scandinavian countries are already doing this. Each citizen, and each country, has a duty, and a self-interest, to work to this end to reduce damage to our planet.

Major overseas companies that we trade with will increasingly require proof that our exports are produced sustainably. As a trading nation, sitting on our hands would put our trade at risk, especially with countries that are doing their bit to reduce emissions.

Failing to plan is planning to fail. This is National’s position.

Our plan on the environment, soon to be announced is practical and sensible.

Local government

On local government and the question of amalgamations New Zealand First will ensure that local communities get the choice and not have amalgamations rammed down their throat by central government.

Conclusion

Our messages in this campaign are crystal clear.

Our country and the things in it that we all value and cherish are at risk.

Our messages make common sense.

We all know that there are all manner of parties out there, many backed with obscene amounts of money and egregious, self centred and selfish policies designed not for our country and its economic and social advancement, but for their own personal interests.

To effectively counter them in this campaign we have the policies that will strike a chord with a great number of voters because they make common sense.

Whether it’s the economy, a future high-tech society, a fairer tax system, younger New Zealanders, separatism, immigration, superannuation and the environment our response is to apply common sense.

We want you to go from this convention, and tell our local teams all over the country that they are about to be, again, part of a truly exciting campaign. And the clarion call of our campaign is in our slogan.

We have got the common sense policies and with your total commitment for the next eight weeks, we’ve got the prospect of making our common sense policies a reality.

We are going to ask New Zealanders to Party Vote New Zealand First because

“IT’S COMMON SENSE”.

ENDS

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