Speech: Props, Promises, Propaganda And Phoney Politics
Rt Hon Winston Peters
New Zealand First Leader
Member of Parliament for Northland
16 MAY 2017
EMBARGOED UNTIL DELIVERY
Speech by New Zealand First Leader and Northland MP Rt Hon Winston Peters
Grey Power Annual Convention
140 Fitzherbert Ave,
7.30pm Tuesday, May 16, 2017
Props, promises, propaganda and phoney politicians
Thank you for inviting New Zealand First to address your national annual general meeting.
We appreciate our close ties to Grey Power and never take them for granted.
Your national president Tom O’Connor has said all 65,000 Grey Power members across New Zealand are preparing for political war over NZ Super.
You are concerned, and rightly so, by National’s intention to raise the age of entitlement to 67.
Because it follows changes they have already made to NZ Super, having promised not to.
Let’s remember only one party has battled and fought alongside you for NZ Super.
That party is New Zealand First.
Not “Johnny come latelies” who are trying to woo you now.
And who will forget about you after September 23!
New Zealand First will not compromise our position on New Zealand Super.
Other parties have moved the goalposts and played political football with NZ Super. NZ First never has.
We don’t make U-turns.
We don’t tell voter’s one thing and later on say, “we’ve changed our mind – circumstances have changed.”
New Zealand First has always said, the age of eligibility does not need to be increased.
And don’t listen to the supporters of the government when they say NZ Super is unaffordable.
They can’t make out the fiscal case for such claims plans but that never stops them.
We can make out the fiscal case for affordability and we have.
But you are right to be concerned, going into the future, where the other parties figure.
NZ SUPER FACTS
Here are the facts on NZ Super:
NZ Super’s actual net cost to taxpayers is around 3.8 per cent of GDP.
That NZ Super is taxed is being deliberately overlooked.
NZ Super as a percentage of GDP will stay the same even with an ageing population if New Zealand doubles its GDP by 2050 and we improve our productivity.
The opponents of NZ Super have four features about them:
- They can’t make out a financial argument,
- They mistake population trends,
- They ignore the 87,000 we have allowed in here in the last 15 years to get full NZ Super after just 10 years,
- They recite overseas population trends and percentages when they know they have no relativity to NZ‘s situation.
INFLATED BY IMMIGRATION
Affordability has been threatened by mass immigration for much of the last two decades. When Labour was bringing in 50,000 net the equivalent figure in Australia was just 80,000 - for that far bigger economy.
It is utter madness to take in net almost 72,000 new immigrants a year as we are now doing.
When we put in a bill requiring newcomers to be here 25 years pro-rata then getting full NZ Super the Attorney-General said that our bill was against the Bill of Rights.
Panic stricken recently by our public focus on this issue the government said they would change the qualification from 10 to 20 years. Apparently, that is not against the Bill of Rights.
See the blatant hypocrisy here.
New Zealand First will end the Section 70 anomaly in the Social Security Act. Just as we did with the surtax and tinkering with the Super formula. (Our 66%)
This affects a specific group of people who are entitled to an overseas state pension.
As a result of section 70, around 70,000 people receiving NZ Super have some level of deduction made.
It is an anomaly and unfair to those affected.
NZ First is committed to ending this anomaly.
A HISTORY YOU CANNOT TRUST
Unlike National and Labour, who have repeatedly back-tracked on NZ Super, we have never diverted from our stand.
In 1984 Labour promised no change to superannuation - a year later they imposed a surtax.
In 1990 National promised to remove the surtax - they increased it to 92 cents in the dollar.
Labour announced they would lift the age of entitlement from 60 to 65 and National said they would do that over 20 years.
They got in and did it over 9 years.
In 1996 National promised to maintain NZ Super and then after breaking the coalition deal with NZ First in 1998, cut Super from 65 percent of the net average wage to 60 percent.
NZ First successfully promoted a law change to set Super at 66 percent of the weekly wage and then brought in the SuperGold Card to make that 66 per cent go further.
In 2008 National promised not to change superannuation settings, then stopped government contributions into the NZ Superannuation Fund, and then three years later started taxing it.
And then went back on the travel concession for the SuperGold Card.
If National had kept contributing $2 billion a year to that fund it would now be worth $50 billion, instead of $33 billion, and would be far more effective in offsetting the cost of future superannuation.
In 2011 and 2014 Labour campaigned on increasing the eligibility age – and now say they don’t support that.
The record of National and Labour, and all the rest speaks for itself.
You can’t trust them. But there are hundreds of thousands of superannuitants who think they can.
They thought so in 84, they thought so in 1990, they thought so in 1998 and they thought so in 2008.
They had better think again.
SECRET TO AFFFORDABILITY
The secret to maintaining NZ Super’s affordability is increasing the size of our economic cake, restoring productivity, and controlling immigration.
This is achievable, but not with present and recent policies.
We have unlimited economic potential.
But we cannot sustain the large number of immigrants who are coming here.
With stable population and increased productivity, the affordability of NZ Super will increase further and raise our living standards.
It’s as simple as that.
NOT OPPOSED TO IMMIGRATION
New Zealand First is not opposed to immigration.
But we want controlled immigration.
We need to take our foot off the accelerator and bring immigration back to sustainable levels.
To 10,000, not 70,000 plus.
We must have high quality skilled immigration.
What we have instead is mainly low-skilled immigration.
And it is out of control in New Zealand.
Even a critic of New Zealand First, Paul Spoonley from Massey University here in Palmerston North, belatedly mind you, agrees with us.
He has said:
“We’ve never had such high numbers before…I don’t think it’s sustainable, the numbers are just too high.” (NZ Herald, April 27, 2017)
Look at the figures:
- In the year to March 31 the net gain from immigration shot up to 71,932.
- Immigration is bringing in a population of a city the size of Rotorua every year.
- Our roads, hospitals, schools are groaning under all the pressure.
- We have a housing crisis fuelled by out of control immigration.
- We have young Kiwis struggling – 93,700 aged from 15 to 24 don’t have a job or are not in education or training. This is appalling.
A new underclass is growing and the government has done next to nothing about it.
It is being made worse by the waves of low-skilled immigrants.
The Salvation Army warned in their 2016 report Addressing Youth Unemployment:
“Persistent unemployment among younger workers and the difficulty many have finding a secure place in the labour market suggests their needs are not being given sufficient importance when decisions are made around immigration policy settings.”
The Prime Minister Bill English has written off many of our young people.
Last year he said they were “pretty damned hopeless. They won’t show up. You can’t rely on them.”
93,700 young Kiwis are not hopeless.
No, Mr English they just need some leadership, some direction and some hope and they’re not getting it from you and your government.
LAW AND ORDER
The population pressures have impacted on police - under-funded for years - and inadequate promises from Paula Bennett that will be phased in over four years.
They can’t wait four years.
- NZ has one police officer for every 526 people. Australia has one officer for every 432 people.
- In 2009, the NZ police had 3161 general duty constables – in 2016 this had dropped to 2593.
- That’s not keeping on top of crime.
- And crime has risen as you know. Serious assaults resulting in injury were up 7.3 per cent in the 12 months to June 30, 2016; public place assaults up 13.1 per cent; 90 per cent of burglaries are unsolved.
RETURNING TO IMMIGRATION AND FAKE NEWS
The great American writer Mark Twain once said there are lies, damned lies and statistics.
We’ve seen it here over immigration.
You are not getting balanced coverage on immigration by our media.
Our media are like the police.
And with internet advertising they’re struggling to keep their heads above water.
But that’s no excuse for sloppy journalism, especially on a sensitive issue like immigration.
One example is two Herald journalist who wrote a front page article and said the rise in work visas has been the driving force behind record immigration numbers.
They said the main source countries were not from Asia - but the UK, Germany, Australia, South Africa and the United States, based on stats from Statistics New Zealand which didn’t relate to their argument.
We challenged them on the statistics because we knew, as every half-decent immigration reporter should, that these statistics are faulty.
They are based on arrival and departure cards which people fill in any way they wish.
These statistics are not from data on the number of work visas that have been issued, or are outstanding.
These statistics should not be used for a serious analysis of immigration policy, or for front page news articles.
The only statistics worth considering on this serious matter are MBIE’s annual immigration approvals.
We pointed this out and we mentioned that the two reporters who wrote the article were of Asian origin and hardly likely to be opposed to mass immigration.
The usual sickly white liberals were driven into a lather.
DEVOY WADES IN
The Race Relations Commissioner Devoy waded into us as well.
“Focus on what is relevant,” she said.
We were. And she isn’t. Apparently mis-analysed data is okay with her.
The fact is these reporters produced a flawed “alternative facts” article on the front page of this country’s biggest newspaper.
And the all-important MBIE data was generally referred to as just some other data Winston Peters had.
Where was the professionalism?
How can we have an informed debate when the facts being dished up to the public are skewed and when you point this out, you are immediately condemned as a racist.
What then did the reliable MBIE data tell us?
It told us a totally different story.
It told us that India, China and the Philippines led the number of family work visas granted between 2015 and 2016.
Not the UK, Germany, Australia, South Africa and the United States.
The MBIE data told us also that the Philippines and India led essential skills visas granted.
It told us China and India led residence approvals.
It told us China, India, South Korea and Japan led student visas granted.
That was the NZ Herald.
BACK DOOR MIGRANTS
Then we struck RNZ’s Morning Report.
New Zealand First has long warned of migrants who use New Zealand as a back door to get to Australia.
This has undermined our relationship with Australia.
Australia knows that, but the NZ media don’t want us saying it probably because for all the years we said it they ignored us.
RNZ reporter Guyon Espiner said based on statistics from Statistics NZ between 1979 and 2016 there was an average of about 27,000 Kiwis a year departing to Australia and that it had dropped away to 20,000 departures.
Of these he said seven out of eight were New Zealand citizens.
That was drivel and we knew it – he, or RNZ’s researchers, should have known it also.
He did not indicate whether these NZ citizens going to Australia were New Zealand born or not.
That had to be the key to the argument.
On the programme we stated the proportion of New Zealand migrants to Australia who were born in third countries, and not NZ born, climbed from around 12 per cent in 1990-91 to 30.0 per cent in 1999-2000.
Information Australian Bureau of Statistics backed us up on this as did a statement in Parliament from former Immigration Minister Lianne Dalziel.
She said non-New Zealand-resident departure statistics for, or non New Zealand-born figures, in the year ended January 2002 totalled 10,400 out of 33,400.
That was totally different to what Guyon Espiner was trumpeting.
Last week we had the usual rubbish from Mike Hosking in the NZ Herald.
The article showed he did not know the difference between New Zealanders returning home from Australia and immigrants.
Unreliable reporting and journalism as evident here is why Mark Twain said there are lies, damned lies and statistics.
And it is why we talk today of fake news and alternative facts.
New Zealand First knows what the reception will be when we speak out.
But we won’t be intimidated.
We won’t be PC and tiptoe around the sensitive issues.
We will continue to speak out when it is required.
WORKING FOR SENIORS
New Zealand First values our relationship with Grey Power.
We have shown our loyalty to Seniors by bringing the SuperGold card into existence.
We are proud of it.
Here is what someone wrote last year under a Fairfax article which attacked the Super Gold Card under the headline “Oldie Super Gold Card greed needs to be curbed.”
(Stuff, July 8, 2016, Martin van Beynen).
I thank God for Winston’s Gold card. For me? No, although I have one.
For my 70-year-old single (never married) sister, living alone, just managing to cope as IQ challenged and slightly mentally disabled, not bad enough to get any care, but needing constant supervision, especially with fiancé. The gold card is her safety. It gets her to places, friends, and activities. She uses it every day. She has no savings and her super pays her rent with almost nothing left over.
New Zealand First will continue to fight for your interests. In 2015 we brought our SuperGold Health Check Bill before Parliament.
The intention of the bill was to provide three free GP visits with the SuperGold Card each year.
Grey Power supported this bill.
Unfortunately National, Act and United Future did not.
This gruesome threesome made sure our bill did not pass its first reading.
It lost by a single vote.
We are not giving up.
We intend bringing this bill back to parliament.
Also we want free eye tests for SuperGold Card holders once a year.
It is a great concern to us that one in 7 New Zealanders over 50 will develop Macular Degeneration.
If you have not heard of Macular Degeneration, this is a condition which causes 48% of cases of blindness in New Zealand.
1.5 million New Zealanders are at risk of developing Macular Degeneration and by 2030 the number of sufferers will increase by 70%
It is estimated that Macular Degeneration annually costs New Zealand $200 million, due to lost productivity and increased medical costs – including people entering into care facilities at an earlier age.
We believe prevention is better than cure.
Of all the political parties, there’s one that hears you, and always has – New Zealand First.
You can be assured NZF is your best friend.
We are your defender and we will look out for your interests.
Unlike the rest we have the record to back it up.
You have had a totally pernicious surtax, fiddles on age, the amount, attacks on the savings fund - they fiddle with everything.
If you don’t want that to happen in the future then bear history in mind when you walk into the polling booth.