‘Brexit’ - a Window of Opportunity
Rt Hon Winston Peters
New Zealand First Leader
Member of Parliament for Northland
21 JUNE 2016
‘Brexit’ - a Window of Opportunity
The Rt Hon Winston Peters is the Leader of New Zealand First and is a former New Zealand Deputy Prime Minister, Treasurer and Foreign Minister. He is also the Member of Parliament for Northland electorate.
Prime Minister John Key may say, "it is in New Zealand's interests for the UK to remain in the EU,” but that’ll be news to a great many New Zealanders.
Speaking to the BBC, Mr Key went further telling them that if Europe was on our doorstep, then New Zealand “would be looking to join, we certainly wouldn’t be looking to leave it”. What a foolish comment when we would be forced to spend billions reintroducing direct agricultural subsidies and nanny-state regulations on things like toasters. What it shows us is that while Mr Key talks of small government, his policies reveal him to be a centralising fan of big government.
It is also easy to say when Mr Key does not pay a cent towards the $700 million weekly bill that the EU extorts from the UK.
Up until a madman tragically killed a British Labour MP, “leave” was in front despite the haranguing from big-government worthies like United States President Obama. Obama flew into Britain to lecture the British people on how they should vote: “as your friend, let me say that the EU makes Britain even greater.” The president then said to the United States’ most loyal European ally that a leave the EU vote would put the UK at the back of the queue for any US-UK trade deal. That’s a threat.
Mr Obama’s trade priority is the European version of the TPPA; the TTIP. Something that is proving just as unpopular and unsuccessful as the TPPA is. Prime Minister Cameron has also recruited all of his mates.
Aside from Messrs Key and Obama, they include India’s Prime Minister Narendra Modi, Canadian Premier Justin Trudeau, and whoever Australia’s Prime Minister of the Week is. The British MP Andrew Rosindell, who chairs the UK Parliament’s Australia and New Zealand Parliamentary Group, was particularly scathing about Australian Prime Minister Turnbull: “This is crazy, it's absolutely in Australia's interests that Britain leaves the EU, so that we can have free trade agreements, we can have more free movement, so we can work together.” That is a call New Zealand First endorses and is echoed by the boss of British construction equipment giant JCB. British manufacturing needs to break free of a decaying EU. A prosperous Britain means our exports will go up, reversing the long term trade decay we’ve seen since 1973.
How that MP’s tragic murder affects voting is now an unknown. The Financial Times’ most recent ‘Poll of Polls’ put “leave” three percentage points ahead of “remain.” What seems beyond doubt is that those in the “leave” camp are more motivated to vote than those for “remain”. This voting intention is now a more decisive factor than foreign leaders debasing themselves in an intrusion into another country’s democracy.
Desperate times call for desperate measures, so “remain” has turned to “Project Fear” in an effort to scare voters into voting for the status quo. As Spectator magazine noted: “After weeks of Project Fear warnings from the Remain camp — from WW3 to house prices actually falling — Donald Tusk has offered the most apocalyptic warning yet….the president of the European Council has claimed today that Brexit could spell the end of… western civilisation. Yes, Tusk says that a vote for Leave could lead to the end of ‘western political civilisation in its entirety’.”
This forgets that Britain created modern parliamentary democracy, led the industrial revolution and built an empire long before the EU was ever conceived. For us, leaving the EU means that Britain is free to explore Closer Commonwealth Economic Relations, or CCER, with New Zealand, Australia and Canada and indeed, the rest of the Commonwealth. Something it cannot do right now as a card carrying member of the European Union.
Leave is our best chance to reverse the steady loss of access rights Kiwis have in the UK. Leave is our best bet to make the Commonwealth and the institutions we share, strong and enduring. Leave also means that our person in London is pivotal but it is not a scenario that Mr Key seems remotely prepared for.
Ultimately, anyone who thinks Britain cannot stand on her own two feet should seriously re-read their history. Many Britons will ask themselves how Winston Churchill would have responded to fear mongering Prime Ministers like Mr Key and they’ll vote accordingly.