Peters: NZ Forestry for NZ Jobs and Wealth
Rt Hon Winston Peters
New Zealand First
8 August 2014
Kawerau Grey Power
Kawerau Concert Chambers, Kawerau
Friday 8 August, 1.45pm
EMBARGOED TILL EACH SECTION DELIVERED
New Zealand Forestry for New Zealand
Jobs and Wealth
A New Zealand log price.
Thank you for the opportunity to speak to you in Kawerau today – heartland New Zealand.
Kawerau has had more than its fair share of challenges – it has taken some hard knocks.
The policies we are committed to will make a real difference to Kawerau in terms of jobs, a lower cost of living and more investment in the town and its region.
A town like Kawerau – sitting in a great resource of wood should be wealthy and prosperous – and with a common sense economic policy it will be.
But the National Government has failed to put in place real policies to exploit New Zealand’s great timber resource.
Even worse, like successive governments, it has encouraged by its neglect, seventy per cent of our exotic forestry to slip into foreign control and ownership.
Not only has an industry that we built up after the Great Depression fallen into the majority control of foreigners, but so has the wealth and the employment opportunities.
Logs in their most unprocessed state are now New Zealand’s third biggest export.
That means that the great value of this product, in terms of wealth and employment, now benefits the economies and workforces of other countries and not our own.
It is hard to conceive of the level of naivety that allowed this all to happen.
Surely the economic and political thinkers behind this disaster could have conceived that with foreign control would soon thereafter come the offshore relocation of wealth and jobs from our country.
When our forestry industry was privatised, eighty per cent of the workers that lost their jobs were Māori.
The consequences of which are seen in so many central North Island towns today.
In contrast to National and Labour’s neglectful record on forestry, New Zealand First supports the redevelopment of a detailed Forestry for New Zealand Policy.
This policy for the forestry and wood sector would maximise the value of New Zealand’s timber assets for manufacturing opportunities, employment and exports.
Remember, we were the first party to announce a New Zealand Log Price.
To us it’s common sense to defend our forestry from foreign competition for logs, and a real policy to promote added value, wealth and jobs for New Zealanders in their own country which grows the logs in the first place.
For the voters of Kawerau as elsewhere in New Zealand decision time is fast approaching.
It’s time to ask some hard questions.
National have now had nearly six years at the helm.
If they were going to do anything for you, they would have done it by now.
But they haven’t helped you.
And like so much of the regional economy, you have been forgotten.
They claim to have done a wonderful job on the economy.
Today in New Zealand, to be taken off the unemployment register, all that you need to do is get one hour of paid work a week.
By this mathematical deception, you are now counted as being employed.
Don’t know about you, but to New Zealand First, being employed means you are working the hours that you want to and earning enough to support you and your family.
We don’t know anyone that could do that on one hour of work a week.
There are politicians and economists that know that this form of record keeping is pure deceit but they persist with it anyway in the hope that you’ll think unemployment is down.
We sadly live in an age of spin and propaganda. Wellington bureaucrats and politicians love to call a spade a rake.
They built tens of thousands of rotten homes that leaked like a sieve and then they said the homes had ‘weather-tightness issues’.
They allowed banks to issue tens of thousands of shonky mortgages that the borrowers couldn’t pay and called it ‘sub-prime lending’.
You get the point, don’t you?
But when Kawerau, Murupara, and Tokoroa were boom towns under former visionary Labour and National governments, when practical policy and not blind ideology was the political order of the day, the Minister of Labour knew the name of every registered unemployed person in New Zealand.
Not because he had a photographic memory.
Not because there were only 29,000, or 2,900, but because there were only, from Invercargill to Kaitaia, 29 people on the unemployment register.
Around about now you should be asking yourself, who was it that gutted my town?
If their policies were working why are 140,000 Kiwis unemployed?
Why are a further 100,000 wanting fulltime, not just part-time work?
Why are tens of thousands of New Zealand families on taxpayers family support?
If they were providing decent jobs with decent wages these families could all look after themselves as they once did.
As you know Kawerau in the last Census had a quarter of the town’s workforce unemployed – not to mention those that are underemployed.
If the current free market policies were working why did nearly half the workforce receive no pay increase in 2013?
Meanwhile CEOs, in the power companies that you used to own, get obscene salaries in excess of a million dollars per annum, plus bonuses and incentives.
In this election you have a chance to tell the politicians that you’ve had enough and you’re not taking it anymore.
But you have to leave this hall, committed in your mind, to tell every one of your neighbours and relatives that you’re going to make a stand in 2014.
You’re going to have to make a noise so loud that you shake the power brokers of this country in their boots.
Ask yourself, if their policies were working why is home ownership at its lowest percentage rate since 1951?
Ask yourself, if their policies were working why are 22 per cent of Māori and 25 per cent of Pasifika people aged 15 -24 unemployed?
In this election, for so many parties, empty slogans, vacuous promises and millions of dollars are attempting to replace common sense policies.
In the 2014 election campaign New Zealand First is offering a real economic choice to improve the living standards of ordinary Kiwis.
Three weeks ago we announced that we will remove GST from Your Food and your rates. That is something real that will help you.
Food prices are one of the main factors in the rising cost of living for New Zealand families.
In fact, the OECD has found New Zealand has the fifth highest food prices in the 34 OECD nations. Food is far too expensive in a country so blessed with climate and land.
There has been a deliberate attempt by some to distort what our policy means.
What this policy means in practice is that most of the food an average family puts in their supermarket trolley each week will be GST exempt.
The fundamental test is clear – if it is a food item for the family shopping basket then it will be GST exempt.
This bold New Zealand First policy is about providing real help for struggling families by lowering their cost of living.
And the reason why the National Government is not attacking us on this policy being affordable is because since 2008 they gave their mates tax cuts of $5 billion per year.
Our policy costs about half of that.
New Zealand First’s policies are about rebuilding the regional economies.
The great wealth creators of this country.
We have a Royalties for the Regions policy which will ensure that twenty five per cent of the royalties paid on extraction of minerals – whether it be coal, limestone, lignite, gold or others will be placed in a fund for use in regional development in the region of extraction.
It will provide economic and social benefits, which will allow local communities to plan and spend efficiently and effectively.
Kawerau, like so many central North Island towns is the centre of land based production.
But if you are to benefit from your location then New Zealand land must be owned by New Zealanders, and that includes our forests.
That’s why we will use the ‘Cullen Fund’ and our soon to begin ‘KiwiFund’ to invest in getting ownership back into the hands of New Zealanders.
Previous governments flogged off your wealth. We are committed to getting the wealth base of this country back.
You can hear the screaming now, can’t you, from a cacophony of economic quislings, mainly foreign controlled who want their tiny, narrow, sectional interests impervious to an electoral revolt.
Make your family, your town, and your country your priority.
This might come as a surprise if you’ve been following the big city media, but this election is most definitely about you.
And don’t you ever let them forget it.
Right now there is a foreign ownership and immigration debate raging in this country, but down here in Kawerau, you might not think it affects you.
But wait a moment.
The immigration-fuelled housing bubble in Auckland has seen your interest rates rise four times this year.
You’re paying more for your mortgage and credit card because of it.
That’s how it affects you.
One party has been saying this was going to happen for years.
All the rest worshipped high immigration.
The Māori Party even said that we should be going to the airport to give all newcomers a Powhiri – a traditional welcome!
So artificially high immigration puts the squeeze on the whole country for the benefit of a few, and you’re being told by its apologists that this is somehow good for you.
It’s not, of course, and one party is going to do something about it.
Open door immigration has to end.
In the 2014 election campaign New Zealand First is prescribing a comprehensive range of practical and affordable policies in all important areas –the economy, health, education, immigration, superannuation.
So in contrast to those who would sell off of our country, New Zealand First pledges to:
• Reform the Reserve Bank and give the country a sane monetary policy that will mean we have a realistic exchange to support manufacturers and exporters and New Zealand workers.
• Put in place a programme to support regional New Zealand instead of the lopsided development where Auckland is focus of all economic policy.
• Cut immigration to take the pressure of housing, the health and education system and our superannuation.
• Impose strict controls over foreign ownership in the areas of land, housing, and strategic business assets to stop the wholesale sell off of New Zealand.
• Put in place an economic and social programme that looks after the four things that all New Zealanders need more than anything else: affordable housing, comprehensive health system, a responsive educational system and first world employment with first world wages.
Our policies will work for Kawerau and all of New Zealand.
On September 20 you’ll have the only chance you’ve really had in the past three years to tell the politicians what you need and what you want.
If you do that, you will give your second and party vote to New Zealand First.
Because; It’s Common Sense!