Address in Reply, Budget 2016
Rt Hon Winston Peters
New Zealand First Leader
Member of Parliament for Northland
26 MAY 2016
Address in Reply, Budget 2016
This Budget Tells Kiwis: Get Stuffed
There is only one phrase to describe this document from National
This is a: GET STUFFED BUDGET.
• To those wanting a home that they can afford to both buy and keep.
• To those in pain, desperately needing an operation
This Budget says: Get Stuffed
• To those wanting a job with first world wages and security
• To those wanting education, affordable and world class and paid for by the state
This Budget says: Get Stuffed
• To those wanting law and order in this country and burglars apprehended with the police numbers to catch them
This Budget says: Get Stuffed
• To those wanting serious infrastructural spending to go THE REGIONS, and not just Auckland.
This Budget says: Get Stuffed
• To those retired and with living costs stretching their income to the limit.
• To those young families worried about their family’s future.
This Budget says: Get Stuffed
• National thinks these people are invisible.
This is a Get Stuffed Budget.
This government is simply not listening.
I have spent more time in the provinces and small towns of this country than any government politician.
I hold more public meetings, free to the public, and not a jack up, captured audience, than any government politician.
That’s how I know many out there are getting more and more worried.
We know how many want to work or get more work when simply aren’t enough jobs or the few jobs that are out there don’t pay enough or give enough hours.
Tonight around this country young parents will lie awake wondering about what future they can provide for their kids
Tonight many grandparents will be worried about their grandchildren’s chances of getting the kind of future they once had.
Students will lie awake wondering if they can ever pay off their loans or find a good job when they finish their studies.
Farmers will lie awake worrying about the bank manager’s call and whether they will be able to pass their farm on to the next generation.
Many elderly will go to bed without enough to eat, cold, and worry about the power bill on the table - confused because the retirement that they worked all their lives for has gone sour.
The PM might sleep like a baby but hundreds of thousands of New Zealanders don’t.
And out in the regions and the provinces they will wonder why they, the economic powerhouse of the country, have been sacrificed on a cross of Auckland gold.
This isn’t the New Zealand that we once knew.
A lot of our opponents like to make fun of old age. They don’t remember a time in this country where if you worked hard and played by the rules you could make a good life for you and your country.
Kiwis could find a decent job, buy a decent home and could put food on the table, and every once in a while take the family on holiday to a favourite beach, lake or river.
That was not a New Zealand dream. That was once a New Zealand vision that great leadership made a reality. We all know that there is a growing gap between rich and poor. And the problem is not that some have grown so rich, it’s how many have grown so rich.
The real problem we face now as a country is that so many of the middle income and working people are quickly becoming poor.
We have seen three decades of economic experiment.
Three decades of politicians promising that our lives would improve.
A serious majority know that it has not happened. We were sold deregulation and globalism. We were asked to make sacrifices to become more competitive and to accept the much lower living standards of other nations.
We were told that if we took aboard this globalism then a rising tide of economic prosperity would lift all boats. But accompanying this globalism have been tax cuts for the rich, and growing inequality for the rest.
This is the latest chart on home ownership of 10 income deciles - every decile has declined, except one decile – the top 10 per cent. Glaring, irrefutable evidence of inequality and decline of the New Zealand dream.
This is a Get Stuffed Budget - which every commentator should examine with this caution: Unless this budget contains spending details adjusted upwards for population growth then the numbers are both bogus and pure propaganda.
Perhaps the best backdrop to this budget was the announcement yesterday by Paula Bennett.
Her announcement was a sign of utter desperation.
Proof that the Emperor has no clothes.
A policy written up on the back of an envelope and thought up in the back of a ministerial car on the way to the airport.
Yesterday she announced that if people would leave Auckland she would give them $5000 to go.
To these people, Mr Key’s advice last week was: “Go to WINZ.”
Yesterday from Paula Bennett, it was, “here’s $5000 now get lost.”
In short, no matter if you have been living in Auckland for generations she wants you to Get Stuffed and make way for an immigrant.
This morning on Radio NZ Ganesh Nana talking about the Budget said, “Underlining everything is the rapid population growth”
He said that immigration plays out in all areas right across the board.
The backdrop to this Budget is an elephant in the room so large that nothing else can get in.
Listeners and viewers will hear all sorts of solutions from Parliament today but only one party has the courage and the foresight to acknowledge New Zealand’s number one problem which is the preoccupation of this Budget – wholesale mass immigration, the population of New Plymouth, or 68,000 net is coming to New Zealand each year, the population of Wanganui, or 34,000, is going to Auckland each year.
Every other party has welcome that development. In contrast one party has constantly warned of the consequences, ignored the arrogant sneering, characterisations of apologists and told it like it is.
Today’s Budget follows a familiar pattern. Just like the seven budgets Mr English has delivered, reality and honesty are missing – they are replaced by spin.
True it contains a whole lot of packages – gestures - designed to create the illusion that some serious thinking went into the Budget.
But the real message from this budget to most New Zealanders, with legitimate concerns is “Get Stuffed”.
Of course we support additional funding in critical areas like Pharmac, Mental Health and Apprenticeships
But the amounts are way short of the demand. They could all be doubled and still be far short of what is needed.
We built more houses in 1973 when our population was three million than this government is building when our population is now 4.6 million.
Scattering a few tens of millions here and there across the whole range of public services has as much impact as snowflakes landing on a wet road.
This Budget has no integrity
The Budget has heaps of numbers – lots of figures – all designed to look authoritative and convincing
But the number are bogus
Because there is big elephant in the room that this Budget barely acknowledges
Record immigration – adding another 68,000 people a year - is inflicting enormous costs on New Zealand
Massive immigration is impacting every government service.
The health, education, welfare, transport and other infrastructure costs that record immigration is adding are hardly mentioned in this bogus Budget.
The failure of this Budget to honestly admit to those costs shows how worthless it is as a genuine economic and financial plan for New Zealand’s future.
Government Ministers and their cronies may not be suffering the erosion of the quality of life but New Zealanders know what is happening to them from what they see and feel every day.
That’s why we need to build new hospitals, schools, houses and public transport systems, and hire the people to keep them running every year, just to maintain current standards.
The consequences of not doing that are seen in the declining quality in health, education, policing, conservation and all other services
The results of this government’s madness over immigration are obvious everywhere
Lengthening hospital waiting lists now mean people have to wait years for treatment and surgery – in effect, there are now waiting lists to get on the “real” waiting list!
The result -thousands of people are enduring years of pain and distress as an overstretched hospital system struggles to cope
Schools have overloaded and crowded classrooms as they try to deal with the influx.
Similarly, the Police are chronically underfunded. They have not been funded to match the rapidly increasing population
Their resources are stretched wafer thin – is it any wonder they can no longer respond to burglaries and non-fatal traffic crashes.
The clearance rate for burglaries is 10 per cent. Crime under National pays. If you are a victim National’s message to you is Get Stuffed.
The Government boasts that tourism is booming – the PM is oh so proud of the numbers– but he does not give a fig for real consequences.
The agency that has the vital job of protecting the New Zealand environment – the flora and fauna that tourists want to see – is under severe strain. Where is the investment in infrastructure to cater for this massive influx of tourists? People won’t come back if they find the scenery strewn with rubbish and flattened by tyre tracks.
And so much of this country’s tourism is by people wishing to see new Zealand on $20 a day. So much of this country’s tourism is being brought here by foreign airlines, staying at foreign owned hotels, and creating far less jobs and wealth than the government boasts.
Look at regional New Zealand’s wealth decile and say it isn’t so.
NZ First says our natural estate is at risk.
The Conservation Department funding has been massively cut.
And as for this government’s cutting carbon emissions, their record is a combination of disgrace and deceit with a Minister whose credibility of this issue, self-confessed, is zero.
The claims made in this Budget of “prudent fiscal management” needs a large bucket of salt!
Engineering a surplus is easy when core services are underfunded, expenditure commitments delayed.
The manipulation of the public finances is now so gross and shameless as to render any claims to balancing the books or reaching a surplus as hollow.
The truth is that the real deficit is in the quality and quantity of government services delivered.
This Budget is silent on what really matters to New Zealanders.
Yet the Prime Minister is already touting tax cuts of $3 billion in next year’s Budget
New Zealanders need to be on their guard.
The PM only tells one side of the story – he won’t come clean.
What he will not spell out is what his tax cuts actually mean in terms of a reduced quality of life for New Zealanders
This is a government that ignores foreign corporates sucking this country dry and paying tax as low as .38 per cent.
John Key will talk but do next to nothing about that.
We have a reputation now as a tax haven and John Key is doing his best to cover it up.
None of their measures are seriously designed to stop it. What do you expect from a PM who got his training from one of the most corrupt businesses in the whole of America, that had to be bailed out by the American taxpayer.
Auckland and Regional Policy
Under this government New Zealand is fracturing into two camps – Auckland and the rest
The total failure to apply common sense in policy and planning has left New Zealand in the worst of all possible worlds
Auckland is choking
Every day as they travel to work Aucklanders confront the worsening traffic congestion clogging their city.
The government’s failure with respect to Auckland is matched by its neglect of the regions
There is little sign in this Budget of serious regional development policy.
NZ First has a genuine –proactive - regional development policy that will deliver:
• Infrastructure investment. For example better roading and treating the rail network as a strategic asset to support regional growth
• Regional royalties and tax incentives for appropriate investments
• New initiatives including dispersal of some government agencies – we are in the digital age!
• We would reform the Reserve Bank act and give the regional export economies a fair go
• And graduates going to critical, professional employment in the regions will have their student loads written off.
This Budget talks of growth but where is the actual tangible plan to grow the economy.
There is just an open door immigration policy to artificially pump up population numbers, and consumer demand to create the illusion of growth.
Other countries see immigration as a cost, National see record immigration as a “free good”, as some kind of windfall.
That is deception.
Economic growth that results from just adding more and more people does nothing to improve the prosperity of ordinary New Zealanders.
That is why per capita incomes in relation to GDP for so many are static.
This is an economy built on foreign savings and debt and the day of reckoning is soon.
At the official 5.7% unemployment there are almost 150,000 unemployed New Zealand
Then there are another 100,000 people who have a jobs but are under-employed and would like to work more.
And the situation of young people is deeply disturbing. The number of 15-24-year-olds who are not in employment, education or training rose is now around 80,000. This is a generation who are not allowed to begin contributing to society. What are the real costs of that?
The plain truth is that there are over a quarter of a million New Zealanders who want work or more work – yet we have immigration running at record levels
That is economic madness.
There’s a massive hole in housing.
An entire generation of young New Zealanders is locked out of the housing market in their own country because of soaring house prices.
Quotable Value figures show the average house price in Auckland was around $950,000 in April. The national average was $570,000.
Confronted with these numbers no wonder young Kiwi families despair of ever having their own home.
Large numbers of people are under intense housing stress – they are living in garages and other make-shift accommodation. This is appalling.
Here is a message for the Prime Minister:
People do not chose to live in cars or garages!
Foreign speculators have had an open door to come in and help themselves to NZ housing stock
As housing affordability has collapsed this Government has buried its head in the sand.
They won’t take the one action – cutting back on record immigration – that would rapidly reduce demand for housing
Immigration is one thing that can be controlled. And they won’t act.
We challenge the government to turn the tap seriously down.
The GDP forecasts are 2.8 per cent, not 3 per cent into the future. And half of that is coming from bloated immigration.
Current Account Deficit
Nothing better illustrates National’s failure to rebalance the economy than the ongoing current account deficit – which was running at $7.7 billion in the 2015 calendar year.
New Zealand now owes the rest of the world $150 billlon.
There is nothing in this Budget that will get New Zealand on a path to eliminating the current account deficit – and getting our country paying its way in the world
What this Budget omits to mention that the massive transfer of New Zealand land, businesses, housing and other property is set to continue under this government.
The Global Outlook
An honest Budget would not pull any punches but would level with the public on New Zealand’s immediate and longer term prospects.
We see a global economy that is struggling with weak and fragile growth.
The OECD, the IMF and the World Bank have all lowered their growth estimates for 2016.
No one can foresee the future but the risks of a major global financial crisis or disruption are real.
New Zealand First’s view is that we must urgently strengthen our economy and reduce our vulnerability to an external shock.
The use of massive immigration as a deliberate strategy to lower real wages and create a docile, compliant workforce must end.
Accordingly, a first step in reducing New Zealand’s economic risk must be a common sense policy on immigration.
Mr Speaker, in conclusion, this Budget lacks vision, strategy and blueprint for the future development of the New Zealand economy
Nothing in this Budget will deliver sustainable prosperity for New Zealanders.
Nothing in this Budget will deliver a full range of public services for the benefit of New Zealand as whole.
Nothing in this Budget will halt the wholesale sell off of New Zealand land, housing and businesses into foreign ownership.
In this Budget, for so many New Zealanders with real needs and real concerns, the message this Budget and National is sending them is: Get Stuffed.