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Peters: With Real Representation, Real Progress

Rt Hon Winston Peters
New Zealand First Leader
22 August 2014

Tauranga Speech
Friday 22 August, 10.30am
Bob Owens Retirement Village, 112 Carmichael Rd, Bethlehem, Tauranga
WITH REAL REPRESENTATION, REAL PROGRESS

Early this month, the New Zealand First candidate for Tauranga, Clayton Mitchell, organised a meeting between local city councillors and myself.

You will recall that back then he and New Zealand First gave a commitment that when we are successful in this election, we would remove the tolls from Route K, make it a state road, and at the same time have the NZTA pick up the $64 million debt.

We knew that Route K had not realised its potential because transporters and motorists were avoiding the toll by taking an alternative route.

That is why we promised to take the tolls off as well.

For over five and a half years, National has done nothing about this growing debt on the Council’s books.

The meeting with councillors was very significant because after five and a half years of central government inertia, all of a sudden last Monday, the NZTA announced that it was picking up the Route K debt, re-designating the road, but were keeping the tolls on.

Remember, this is a very important arterial road in the Tauranga and Port infrastructure.

So what we can conclude from Monday’s announcement is that first, the National Party was prodded out of its disinterest into doing something positive for the Bay of Plenty.

And second, even before getting to Parliament, Clayton Mitchell has proved he will be a dynamic MP for Tauranga.

City Councillor Clayton Mitchell has made it a crusade to get the debt off the council's balance sheet and he has done a great job already.

Well done Clayton – you have served your city well, and after September 20 you will be serving New Zealand well as a member of the New Zealand First caucus!

When the Prime Minister was in Tauranga recently he criticised Mr Mitchell and said he couldn’t be a councillor and MP as well.

Strange that, because he is accepting that Mr Mitchell is going to make it as an MP and he made no mention of the number of National Party MPs who served out their time in local government after being elected as a MP.

And in his time and knowledge there have been five of them, including some in his caucus right now!

Mr Key, is there one rule for the National Party and one rule for everyone else?

That said, thank you for your vote of confidence in Mr Mitchell!
Let’s start this talk today with a few comments about Nicky Hager’s book ‘Dirty Politics’ and what we in New Zealand First see as its real significance.

Make no mistake.

Nicky Hager is a serious researcher who has written a serious book.

However much the Prime Minister evades, prevaricates and denies it, he has been found implicated in the Jason Ede/Cameron Slater National Party dirty tricks campaign.

Mr Key’s reputation is now seriously tarnished and tainted.

For New Zealand First the real issue the public must ask is – what is happening to our democracy?

The Prime Minister is at the apex of the New Zealand Government.

The Prime Minister must be trusted to uphold the highest ethical standards, probity, respect for the spirit as well as the letter of the law.

If not, New Zealand is in deep trouble.

And there is no credibility in the Prime Minister’s claim that an OIA request to the SIS and dealing with the Leader of the Opposition would not be bought to his immediate attention whether he was on holiday or not.

The Prime Minister and all Ministers travel with the technology to be immediately linked in with all serious matters happening within their portfolios.

The Prime Minister’s denials are the same ones he gave on the Coatesville raid where his defence seemed to be that everybody else knew but him, even though he is and was the Minister for both the SIS and the GCSB.

Frankly, New Zealand First is sick of this behaviour and we want to remain on message with our common sense tour campaign.

That’s why we are going to set up, after the election, a Commission of Inquiry into these matters.

Not a witch-hunt, but looking at the whole issue of public concern here.

And we’re going to choose a respectable Commissioner and the appropriate terms of reference to get at the truth.

The election is fast approaching.

New Zealand’s government for almost six years has had National at the helm.

Easily enough time for any government to prove themselves.

This election will turn on whether or not what National has done can be understood, and whether they are working for you or someone else.

They are empty of ideas to take the country forward.

What is very clear is that they have been shifting New Zealand’s wealth from the many to the few:
• by selling the public’s assets like the power companies.
• by negotiating away the public interest such as Pharmac at the TPP negotiations being held in secret.
• by allowing foreigners free rein to New Zealand land, houses and businesses.
• by allowing in what will soon be a record number of new immigrants into New Zealand, at almost 800 people per week settling here.

Whilst they were selling down the public share in Mighty River Power that company, which you used to own 100 per cent, was amassing a current profit increase of 84 per cent.

And then they boast that they are doing a wonderful job on the economy and working for you.

National’s economic policy resembles nothing so much as a cargo cult.

They think if they and the media can chant “Rock Star Economy” enough times then all will be well and you will be persuaded.

We have seen massive losses of land to overseas ownership.

One million hectares has gone through the Overseas Investment Office – into full or partial foreign ownership.

That is six times the size of Stewart Island.

National pretends foreign ownership does not matter.

Stephen Joyce said when questioned on the Lochinver Station purchase that “it’s a ridiculously small amount of land”.

So for National, one sale of almost 14,000 hectares of the Lochinver Station is trivial!

They have allowed a sale to go through the Overseas Investment Office (OIO) on average, every three days, over the past three years.

The last notable sale was South Waikato’s iconic Okoroire Hot Springs Hotel this month, to Kingstown Volcano Springs Ltd, on August 15. The buying company is foreign owned.

The sellers have been at pains to defend the sale into foreign hands, whilst totally ignoring the fact that their original ownership derived from a New Zealand only buyer market.

Quite rightly, there is outrage at putting the interests of foreigners first, and New Zealanders last.

In this campaign New Zealand First is saying ‘it’s your country – don’t lose it’.

Many of New Zealand’s best and most profitable businesses have gone into overseas ownership without a murmur from government.

95 per cent of the banking sector is owned by Aussie Banks.

Citizenship is now being scattered around like confetti, with net immigration running towards record levels.

Ten of thousands of houses have been bought by non-citizen/non-residents at a time of acute housing, rates, and rental crisis in Auckland.

And the Bay of Plenty will not be immune from this.

New Zealand First pledges to put the interests of New Zealanders first.

We will do that by having an immigration policy that only brings in people we need, not people who need us.

That means drastically cutting immigration numbers to sensible levels to take the pressure off housing, the health and education system, and NZ Super.

We will put the brakes on foreign ownership by imposing strict controls over land, housing and strategic business sales.

We have the legislation ready to collect comprehensive information on all land and housing ownership in New Zealand.

We’ve called on the government to do this for years. They won’t.

They just don’t want you to know.

And we will replace that toothless poodle – the fig leaf called the Overseas Investment Office with a new and powerful agency with real power, and real commitment, to stop the sell-off.

Only purchases with proven benefit to New Zealand in terms of jobs and real new investment will be allowed.

One of the aspects that the new agency will consider that is not covered by the OIO is tax.

Currently foreign investors have access to huge tax advantages that do not apply to residents.

This tax advantage is another way foreign owners are outbidding Kiwis.

We will give the country a sane monetary policy by reforming the Reserve Bank Act.

This will mean we have a realistic exchange rate to support manufacturers and exporters.

We will take GST off Your Food and Rates to significantly lower the cost of living.

We will support regional New Zealand instead of the lop-sided development where Auckland is the focus of all attention and spending.

And for the more than 630,000 Kiwis receiving NZ Super we will defend the scheme from the insidious campaign to undermine this fundamental plank of a decent society.

This is our pledge: We will work for you!

You know what to do in September – party vote New Zealand First.

It’s common sense!

ENDS


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