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Winston Peters: Time for Common Sense

Levin Public Meeting
Saturday 13 September, 10.30am

Levin War Memorial Hall, Chamberlain St

Time for Common Sense

Thank you for the opportunity to talk to you today.

Levin is one of those towns that has taken its fair share of knocks over the years - but New Zealanders are resilient people.

New Zealand First’s economic policy is that all New Zealanders should share in a well-balanced and thriving economy and that no region should be left behind.

At the outset of my talk today it is important to emphasize that New Zealand First has a strong commitment to regional development in areas such as the Horowhenua.

Our view is that New Zealand is more prosperous when the regions are thriving.

What is not working for towns like Levin and many others throughout New Zealand is having a completely unbalanced economy in which more and more resources are being sucked into Auckland’s bottomless pit at the expense of the rest of the country.

Relative to the rest of New Zealand, Auckland now has a disproportionate role and influence - it’s like London in the UK.

Auckland now consumes vast resources just to cope with basic infrastructure and housing needs, stretched by record net immigration of over 40,000.

So the Reserve Bank is running its monetary policy for Auckland not New Zealand – and everyone else ends up paying higher interest rates!

And because we also have a balanced, common sense, transport policy we would seriously look at electrifying the rail route between Wellington and Palmerston North.

We believe rail has a future in New Zealand and a regular passenger service through Levin to Wellington and Palmerson North would be a big boost for the town.

In comparison with the massive cost of motorway building, improvements to the rail network are very modest in cost.

Our Policy Platform

In the 2014 election New Zealand First is offering a platform of common sense policies that will bring real improvement to the lives of New Zealanders – now and for well into the future.

Our policies are based on reality – we are not buying into the myth and propaganda of the so called “rock star economy”.
A good place to start is with the facts.

140,000 Kiwis are officially unemployed – that is they do not even have one hour of work a week.

Tens of thousands more have given up and become discouraged so do not even appear in the unemployment statistics.

Half the workforce got no pay increase last year.

Government debt stands at $60 billion and is rising.

New Zealand’s overseas debt is a staggering $150 billion.
We have a chronic balance of payments deficit.

Dairy prices have fallen 50 per cent since the start of the year.

Home ownership rates are at their lowest since 1951.

Property values have risen on average 33 per cent in Auckland since 2011.

Large numbers of Kiwis families are under real pressure and stress thanks to the high cost of living relative to wages.

You get the picture?

There is absolutely nothing rock star about the New Zealand economy.

In fact that expression is an insult to all those New Zealanders struggling to make ends meet.

Foreign ownership

Foreign buyers have been pushing house and land prices up, making it more difficult for Kiwis to own a house or farm.

Under National over a million hectares have gone into total or majority foreign control.
Foreigners are amassing a huge amount of New Zealand land in their portfolios.

New Zealand First will stop non-residents buying houses and land.

We will buy back farms and land sold to foreigners using the Cullen Fund and KiwiFund.

National has avoided collecting details on foreign sales – this is a deliberate attempt to hide the true picture from New Zealanders.

Overseas buyers have advantages over Kiwis – they can get much lower interest rates and have tax advantages.
Sales of multiple farms are nothing but corporate raids.

Most other countries don’t sell land to foreigners, so why do we?

New Zealand First is not xenophobic.

We oppose land going to US, UK, Canadians, Israel, Italy, Germany, China.

National tries to shut down public debate by accusations of xenophobia.

New Zealand First will halt and reverse the sale of our county.

Taxation: GST off food and rates.

New Zealand First is committed to putting more money into the pockets of low income earners.

Under our policy, food will be GST free.

For an average family, the savings may well be the difference between a Mum or Dad having the money to travel to work or not.

GST is a tax that hits low income earners much more than the well off.

Lower income families spend most of their income on basic costs like food, rent, power and transport; higher earners still have money left over after paying for the basics.

Most food items in the supermarket will be GST-free.

This is a policy to ease the burden on people on lower incomes.

Residential rates will be GST free – a major reduction in the cost of living for New Zealanders.

Seniors

New Zealand First is committed to keeping NZ Super at 65.

We will also:
• Negotiate a winter power discount.
• Provide three free doctor’s visits.
• Improve the benefits of the Super Gold card.

NZ Super is affordable, at net 4.1% GDP (ie after tax).

Three free doctor’s visits a year will keep people out of hospital – this is better for them and also less cost on our health system.

We’ve crunched the numbers, it won’t cost any more, as long as these regular visits keep 1 per cent of seniors out of hospital.

SuperGold Card carries many benefits – but it is under review by National.

New Zealand First will put a stop to so many older immigrants coming in.

So we have a great policy platform for the 2014 Election.

You know what to do 20 September.

It’s common sense.

ENDS

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