Speech by New Zealand First Leader and MP for Northland
Rt Hon Winston Peters
New Zealand First Leader
Member of Parliament for Northland
30 MAY 2016
Speech by New Zealand First Leader and MP for Northland
Rt Hon Winston Peters
Speech: POLS combined stage 2 and 3
Venue: Auckland University
Old Choral Hall, Room G54, 7 Symonds Street Auckland
Monday, 30 May 2016, 12pm
“Why Politics Matters”
“Victim of ‘bilge rat’ politics”
Good afternoon and thank you for the invitation to speak to your class.
First of all, congratulations to you on your chosen field of study.
For politics matters.
For better or worse, it has the capacity to change the world on a grand scale.
It can empower people, it can enslave people, it can enrich people, and it can impoverish people.
Politics has the capacity to rapidly or over time do enormous damage to people and yet rapidly or over time it has the capacity to do so much that is good.
The story of William Wilberforce is an outstanding example of what one individual can accomplish in politics.
Wilberforce campaigned for twenty-six years, in a cynical self-serving environment of ignorance and inhumanity to abolish the British slave trade.
It is because of that one man’s perseverance and commitment to his cause that slavery was finally abolished in Great Britain in 1807.
One-hundred-and-forty-eight years later, one woman’s refusal to give up her seat on a bus in Alabama triggered a series of events that led to segregation in the United States being declared unconstitutional.
Never underestimate the importance of politics to your lives, and the lives of others.
Politics is all pervasive. You can find it in just about every facet or element of life.
There is a political dimension to everything … From the bus you caught this morning, to the clothes you are wearing, to the cost of your tuition.
All of these activities and things have in some way been influenced by political decision-making.
Every university like yours is seriously underfunded and that social deficit is the major reason why our universities are sadly sliding in the international scale of academic excellence.
It doesn’t matter what you major in – whether it is law, commerce, or arts – an understanding of political institutions and processes can be invaluable.
If you want to change the world, if you want to leave your mark on history, then bluntly you need to know what is happening and politics is essential.
To paraphrase a former British prime minister, politics is sometimes a place for low skulduggery, but it is more often a place for the pursuit of noble causes.
Next year you will find yourselves in a polling booth, supporting the candidate and party you think best represents you.
Before then you will be bombarded by people telling how you should vote ranging from your families and friends to those of us who are aligned to particular political parties.
In brief, New Zealand First is a patriotic centrist political party.
You may be interested in some of the fundamental principles we operate by – because they have served us well through the past 23 years since our inception.
First and foremost, New Zealand First is a non-ideological party – our policies are reality based.
We are not beholden - constrained or limited by a whole range of pre-existing positions or in serving particular interest groups.
This gives us a unique advantage – we can look at the facts and work for what is in the best interests of ordinary Kiwis and New Zealand as a whole.
New Zealand First stands absolutely for a society based on merit and equal opportunity for all.
And we do not take our identity or social cohesion as a society for granted. This is particularly important given the large scale demographic changes that have been foisted upon us so carelessly by other political parties.
And the change that they have brought about were never as a result of consultation with the New Zealand people.
There are parties in Parliament today belatedly expressing their concern about the effect of mass immigration numbers on New Zealand’s economic and social health.
Some of these parties were entirely responsible for this trend because not so long ago they all thought this was a thoroughly good idea.
If anyone opposed their view they were immediately accused of being racist and xenophobic.
Your generation right now can see some of the disastrous effects of that sort of thinking all around you.
Artificial competition for rentals, housing, jobs, hospital beds, places in classrooms and lecture halls.
So one of the reasons we favour a cautious, sensible, and prudent immigration policy is to ensure that our social cohesion is not in any way undermined or threatened.
Earlier this month the Prime Minister gave a speech to the Institute of International Affairs at Parliament.
He was seeking to defend his open door, open slather policy on immigration and offshore buying of New Zealand land, homes and businesses.
Few speeches have been so simplistic in their lack of grasp of history both here and abroad, or the stark realities staring them in the face in Auckland, and now elsewhere.
He said: “There’s no worldwide conspiracy to take jobs from New Zealanders or suppress wages or buy all of our houses.”
Only someone knowing that that is exactly what has happened would use the occasion of such a speech to defend the economic and social mess developing around them.
He went on to say, “Almost $100 billion of foreign capital was invested last year.”
Despite the fact much of this foreign capital was not investment but speculation - he didn’t mention, of course, the billions vanishing from our country because of invisibles, corporate tax arrangements when they pay a third of one percent in tax, and dividends to overseas shareholders.
Suffice to say, if you can’t sleep at night try reading that speech – it would put Mogadon out of business.
Auckland Supercity – Child of National Party Arrogance
Victim of ‘bilge rat’ politics
The crisis in Auckland over housing has not escaped the attention of anyone.
There are reports of students “couch surfing” – driven to this hardship by the cost of rents and shortage of flats.
Putting your head down in an unfamiliar living room every few nights is hardly conducive to study.
Everyone has an opinion on the housing crisis.
The solutions are swirling around.
But everyone ignores the elephant in the room.
That is the artificial demand for housing created by record immigration.
It’s the untouchable issue.
We are at peak immigration. Too many people. Not enough homes.
Do the maths. We are at peak immigration.
Look at the facts. Statistics NZ has counted record immigration of 124,000 per annum for 21 months.
Statistics NZ reports over half the net migrants will settle in Auckland.
That’s around 35,000, or nearly 700 people a week, looking for a home.
But we must not talk about it, heaven forbid.
The NZ Herald has cut down forests writing “exclusives” all around the subject – but not addressing the core issue.
Finally, outspoken commentator Duncan Garner, has twigged – he now reckons immigration is a problem. After years of calling us racist.
National has had eight years to address the shortage of housing in Auckland.
In 2007 John Key was outspoken in condemning the Labour government for its lack of action.
He has done nothing, and worse has stoked the fire.
Now in desperation, as garages and cars become Auckland’s new lifestyle, and teachers escape the city, he blames the Auckland council.
The very council imposed on the people by the National Party and specifically by ACT Party leader Rodney Hide.
But it was the Key government that opened the floodgates.
They never warned the council they would ramp up immigration.
Now Mr Key is bullying the council.
Fix housing or we put in commissioners.
He refuses to admit defeat.
Worse, he won’t even look at turning the tap down on people coming in.
Lessening the demand will give the council a chance.
He can’t say the government did the same for Christchurch.
The situations are different.
Thousands of people left Christchurch after the quake.
There weren’t nearly 700 people a week coming in to settle.
National doesn’t have the guts, nor do others, to address the core issue – immigration. Yet tomorrow, the tap could be turned down. It is controllable.
New Zealand First is opposed to separatism.
We absolutely oppose the trend supported by National and other parties to create a “parallel state” for Māori through programmes such as Whānau Ora and divisive proposed legislation around the ownership of water or, for that matter, reforms to planning laws which say that Maori are separate from the community, and therefore are entitled to a statutory body with legal powers of sanction over city, town and country planning applications.
We believe in one law for all – irrespective of ethnic background.
We believe that Maori needs are the same as all New Zealanders.
Because all New Zealanders are entitled to good education, housing, health facilities and most of all they need good paying jobs.
But we do acknowledge that lack of full-time employment is a serious issue for many, and more so for Māori and Pasifika young people.
We support a mixed economy.
We do not subscribe to National’s free-market ideology that wants to see private interests dominating the provision of public services.
There have been many examples of failure.
For example, the electricity sector is now a complete shambles.
It can only generate price hikes and now requires a total overhaul.
National’s creeping privatisation poses great risks to our standard of living in areas such as education and health.
Access to education and health services are fundamental to a decent society.
There can be no real equality of opportunity if there is gross inequality and disparity in these two critical areas
So we support a high quality public education system and high quality public health service
We do not believe in selling our land to foreign interests and we believe that state-owned assets should be held in trust for the people.
Parliament and the government’s role is to protect and defend the people - to be guardians of the country’s resources – and to help the people reach their potential through enlightened health, education, housing and employment policies.
Now some others are trying to say it - but New Zealand First is committed to it.
New Zealand First believes that we must train, skill, educate and employ our own people first.
There is no excuse for the hiring of cheap labour from overseas when so many are on the unemployment scrap heap back here.
And on the vexed question of student loans our position is that we want to amend the current scheme in order that in future it will:
• provide incentives to assist student debt repayment
• encourage New Zealand students to stay in this country after they graduate, because they can be confident of a great future in New Zealand.
Lack of vision
Over almost 8 years National has had no vision, no strategy, no plan for New Zealand just a huge multi-million dollar PR machine.
All National has had in the current economic vision is the Auckland housing bubble, increased immigration creating a consumer demand, the Christchurch Rebuild, and billions of dollars coming in buying New Zealand assets.
These are not the policies for a great future. But mark these words, “all this will be much clearer to you well before you vote in 2017.”
My final point comes directly to you:
For decades the percentage of the youth non-vote has been alarming.
This is not good for the health of our economy.
We hope you are not among the abstainers come the next election.
There are many young people who say ‘why bother voting, it doesn’t matter’.
Well, respectfully we have to disagree. Each moment of your life, waking or sleeping, the policies of governments are affecting you, and often adversely so.
Everything in the cost structure of your life, whether at work, university or leisure, is affected by government policy.
Right now rentals are becoming more scarce and more pricey in your city and there’s much more competition for work provided by overseas visitors with work visas.
Have a look around you for the next 48 hours and say that it is not so.
So politics does matter and; if that’s the case, would you not be smart to have your say in what those policies are and political environment to improve them.
Your questions are welcome. Thank you.