Seriously Alarming policies on water
Rt Hon Winston Peters
New Zealand First Leader
Member of Parliament for Northland
1 SEPTEMBER 2017
Speech to Hastings & District Grey Power,
Baptist Church Hall,
Lyndon Road East,
Friday September 1, 2017
EMBARGOED UNTIL DELIVERY
Seriously Alarming policies on water
It is a delight to be back in Hawke’s Bay.
We came here just over seven weeks ago on our nationwide bus tour of the regions.
We took that tour because we value the regions.
If our regions are strong – our national economy is strong.
We understand that.
The government doesn’t.
Their gross under-funding and undervaluing of the regions has produced an economy that has to be put on life support by mass immigration to keep it breathing.
New Zealand First has policies, which will be explained later in this speech, to stimulate the Hawke’s Bay and regional economies around the country to the level they should be achieving.
There are a range of pressing issues in this election campaign.
All of them are important.
Water is one of them.
And voters need to know what the political parties are saying on water before the election, not after.
This has been a major topic in Hawke’s Bay with the Ruataniwha Dam, the Water Conservation Order on the Ngaruroro and Clive River.
Then there’s Labour’s water tax and National’s secret dealings on who will control water.
First, let me remind you that we agree with Labour’s policy on royalties on export bottled water being paid back to the regions from whence it came.
How could we not agree?
After all, it was our policy long before Labour swiped it.
But Labour water policy is two-fold. And it is the second part of their policy which causes stress and alarm.
Their planned tax on those engaged in fruit and vegetable growing, vineyards, and other primary producers will have major implications for you here in Hawke’s Bay and around regional New Zealand.
Labour’s water tax figures range from $58.3 million to $500 million.
Labour's Finance Spokesman Grant Robertson said the likely rate for irrigators would be between 1 or 2 cents per 1000 litres.
However, despite that serious uncertainty as to the rate of tax the Labour leader is saying that the rate won’t be known till after the election.
Only then will they sit down with those concerned and sort it out.
The problem with Labour’s policy is that no-one knows what it is.
And the National Party’s policy is as bad.
National has said Labour’s tax policy would force previous iwi settlements to be reopened.
So here is the question.
What iwi settlements concerning water has the National government secretly entered in to?
We know that National, from their Resource Management Act law reform recently passed in Parliament, favours race-based provisions and dual management.
It is not one law for all now but different laws based on race.
And Labour does not oppose that.
The two old parties are heading down a dangerous path.
When we warned on what was happening Tuwharetoa’s CEO Taopia Rameka told the WaikatoTimesthat New Zealand First was, “misinformed and unreasonably politicising” their water interest.
Right now Tuwharetoa are putting demands to water operators in Taupo that amount to $25,000 per annum or more for each operator.
If National wants koha for water, why don’t they have the honesty to say so before the election, not after it.
Combating polluted waterways
New Zealand First acknowledges we have a serious problem with pollution of our waterways.
Under our Royalties for the Regions policy, companies exporting water will have to pay royalties which will go back to the region where the water came from.
We say that money can be used to help clean up our rivers and lakes.
Also, we believe the $1.4 billion New Zealand is spending buying carbon credits from foreigners should be put to far better use – like cleaning up our waterways and our emissions footprint.
Whilst we must work to preserve the quality of our waterways, New Zealand First says we can balance it with the need for economic development.
If Scandinavia can do just that why can’t we?
Countries, like Norway, are world leading models.
Our primary industries have to survive.
Your wine and horticulture industries, and farming in general, must be given every chance to become good environmentalists while still prospering.
Primary producers will be disappointed the Ruataniwha dam project has been shelved.
Also, it has been stated that if a Water Conservation Order is imposed on the Ngaruroro and Clive River, Hawke’s Bay will no longer be known as the fruit bowl of New Zealand.
One thing is clear - the economic prosperity of this region is doomed if the need for clean water conservation and preservation is not achieved alongside economic development.
As said earlier if Scandinavia can do this so can we in New Zealand.
Some of you would have watched the TV debate between the Labour and National leaders last night.
What was staggering was that they both agreed that New Zealand had a strong economy.
Now, if that is true, then what on earth is this campaign about?
Because at the time as they were both saying that there are countless issues of economic and social crisis which the rest of New Zealand has been complaining about.
Like soaring national and personal debt, infrastructural deficits all over Auckland and everywhere around New Zealand, waiting lists to get on hospital waiting lists, and DHBs in trouble financially, Kiwis complaints of educational under-expenditure, with children being taught in hallways and libraries all over the country.
A massive housing crisis of both supply and unaffordability
Young couples facing never being able to buy their own home.
Mental health is in crisis and the forces of law and order seriously under-resourced.
The Department of Conservation is screaming out for funding and our waterways deteriorating with neglect.
Now that’s just a few of things that have gone wrong. But they all give the lie to the claim that we have got a strong economy.
If the old parties think that then there will be no change coming after this election – economic or social.
There’ll just be some tweaking here and there.
But the long sought change by most New Zealanders is simply not going to happen.
That is why the next three weeks of this campaign is so important.
Hawke’s Bay relies heavily on exports.
New Zealand First will help your exporters.
We will fix the Reserve Bank Act so the present inflated dollar stops attacking the region’s producers. We will:
• Sign a Russia-New Zealand Free Trade Agreement (the world’s number two dairy and beef importer)
• Prioritise free but fair bilateral trade deals with Japan, United Kingdom, EU and USA
• Initiate Closer Commonwealth Economic Relations
Tourism is increasingly bringing wealth to the Hawke’s Bay economy.
The Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment stated tourists spent $604 million for the year to May 2017 in Hawke’s Bay.
Nearly 30 per cent, or $172 million, is from international tourists and 70% domestic.
On the backs of your tourism growth, the government is scooping millions of dollars off in GST.
Virtually none of that money is coming back here.
New Zealand First will change that.
Under NZ First policy - we will return the GST paid by international tourists in Hawke’s Bay to Hawke’s Bay– for tourism infrastructure and roads, and to stimulate job training and opportunities here.
We say leaving the Manawatu Gorge closed is a disaster.
The gorge should be re-opened as a priority and panicking at the polls National has done a somersault and now agrees.
Napier-Gisborne rail line
New Zealand First has long supported the reopening of the Napier to Gisborne line.
People in Hawke’s Bay should have the chance to own their own home and have affordable housing.
New Zealand First will make this possible.
We’ll establish Kiwi Housing to control the whole process from buying land through to construction.
We will help low income first home buyers by providing long term sale and purchase agreements for land and low interest rates.
We will build more social housing.
We will require councils to have a social housing plan for their districts.
Grey Power and Seniors
With just over three weeks to go to the general election, you don’t hear the old parties saying anything about Seniors.
It has become a typical lolly scramble.
But this is a reminder that Seniors and Grey Power have only one true friend in Parliament.
That party is New Zealand First.
Remember we are the party that got rid of the surtax, took Super to 66% of the net average weekly wage, and launched the SuperGold Card.
We are not resting on our laurels. We have policies to help our Seniors:
• Three free GP visits for SuperGold Cardholders each year – National voted against this in Parliament.
• Removing the tax on the New Zealand Superannuation Fund – the nest egg for NZ Super. National started taxing the fund, and it stopped government contributions for 10 years robbing it of billions. We would re-start contributions.
• Free eye tests for SuperGold Cardholders once a year.
• A ten per cent discount on power bills for SuperGold Card holders during the winter months.
• Extending the benefits of the SuperGold card and we will be making a new announcement on this soon.
Ladies and gentlemen, there’s been neglect of regional New Zealand.
An attitude of indifference to the regions has pervaded in Wellington over the past nine years.
The thinking seems to be that you are all over the hills and far away.
Consequently the divide between the capital and the big city up north and regional New Zealand has grown.
However, regional business owners and workers have soldiered on.
Hawke’s Bay and other regions have been forced to push uphill, when that should not have been the case.
New Zealand First understands the enormous wealth regional New Zealand generates for the good of the nation.
The nation owes you.
That’s why we are here to support you.
New Zealand First is the only party in this election campaign which has policies to truly stimulate our regions and our export growth.
We’ll be there for regional New Zealand. You can count on that.