Water Charges: Labour And National
Rt Hon Winston Peters
New Zealand First Leader
Member of Parliament for Northland
20 SEPTEMBER 2017
1pm, 20th September, 2017
Between the Red Devil And the Deep Blue Sea
Water Charges: Labour And National
Thank you for this invitation to speak to you today and within a week of the National Party leader talking to you about your concerns regarding water.
There have been some very recent developments which illustrate the infrastructural deficits that this country faces.
The Marsden Point pipeline
A case in point is the Marsden Point pipeline.
That a solitary digger could threaten to bring our biggest city and airport to its knees is many things – but most of all it is third world.
That pipeline breach shows the small margins that we, as a country, get by on.
Scratch beneath all the corporate ballyhoo and what do you find? Band aids.
This “contracted out” pipeline sums up our “contracted out economy”.
It is extraordinary that the pipeline is managed by a fictional Ned Kelly-like Aussie ownership when in reality it is primarily based in the Cayman Islands, and has related companies referred to in the Panama Papers, all of which passed the Overseas Investment Office in April 2016.
As they say in Spain “No hay problema.”
The point is that a critical utility for our economy has been damaged in circumstances which no-one can properly explain, with no alternative plan when the cessation of services happens.
That’s how things happen in the Third World not the First World.
The Rural-Urban divide
In its campaign to covertly knacker the Green Party, the Labour Party has launched an attack on you and primary export New Zealand.
The politics of division echoes David Lange’s 1988 misstep that:
"Farming is a sunset industry and manufacturing and tourism will take its place."
In this respect National is belatedly painting itself as your staunchest defender. The true situation is the opposite. Hitherto national had been cowed into agreement until they saw a political opportunity.
That’s how Bill English was painting himself here in Ashburton last week.
But hang on a minute.
The Reserve Bank Act reform
Why won’t the National Party change the Reserve Bank Act and deal with the inflated dollar value so harmful to regional New Zealand’s wealth.
An overvalued dollar tops up consumption and attacks production and exports.
A little bit of economic Nationalism goes a long way
Too many ‘leaders’ have become brainwashed into believing that there’s no alternative to either a free floating Kiwi dollar or inflation-targeted Monetary Policy.
There is. We happen to think the Singaporeans might know a thing or two about running an export-led economy.
Singapore doesn’t use Inflation-targeted Monetary Policy, but Exchange Rate Based Monetary Policy instead.
What they have is a responsive export friendly dollar and economy.
Here, we have the opposite that works only for importers.
Chinese control of Infant Formula in New Zealand
How is it that one of the real jewels in our primary production crown, infant formula, in just five years, is now under virtual Chinese government control - as to infant formula plants in New Zealand and access to the Chinese market.
Silver Fern Farms
How did our biggest red meat company fall victim to a Chinese majority takeover last year?
It is only now, when they are desperate, that these fair weather political friends are turning to you like some electoral fire alarm – “in case of emergencies, break glass and appeal to farmers.”
Labour and National, the two old parties, are like Pepsi and Coke.
One red, one blue, but fundamentally they taste exactly the same.
Free trade deals
And whilst I am down here in Ashburton it is worth mentioning the free trade deals that the National Party is so boastful about.
Let’s ask a few questions here. Like:
1. If the NZ-China Free Trade deal is so good how come the Aussie-China free trade deal is much better?
2. If the NZ-Korean free trade deal is so good, why are you facing tariffs of 173%? And why is the government trying to re-negotiate it when the ink is hardly dry?
3. And why is the National Party so internationalist and so globalist, to the extent that three days out from the election on Saturdaythe Minister of Trade is in Japan as we speak trying to push the TPPA.
New Zealand First and policy on water
Smart economies treat the environment and economy equally.
For them it is not an “either,” “or,” but both together.
Anyone who says that town and country cannot work together commits the same sin that US patent office boss, Charles Duell did, way back in 1899, when he infamously said:
"Everything that can be invented has been invented".
So let’s base policy on facts, not guesswork, innuendo or political opportunism:
It starts by electronically monitoring river and lake water quality in real-time, so that we can move away from models that are as unreliable as political polls;
It is calibrating Overseer (nutrient management tool) against all soils and farm types, while restricting its use as a planning tool until it is 100% reliable, which it is not now;
It is about Catchment-by-Catchment Management Plans, so that the effects of town and country are taken together in policy.
To boost environmental sustainability on the farm New Zealand First commits to 100% depreciation for farm environmental works done against a farm environment plan.
We also intend to:
Introduce ‘Work for the Dole’ to get young people out of the cities and make them work ready by teaching fencing and planting trees in a reconstituted NZ Forestry Service and on farms and public land along the riparian margin. They will also help to maintain riparian margins to ensure they don’t become havens for pest plants and unwanted animals;
There will be a massive boost to public Research and Development to 2% of GDP over 10-years, with tax credits to lift private Research and Development. The Ecotain plant breakthrough for nitrogen shows that solutions are there if we invest to find them, and;
Give farms and rural businesses the means to invest in new technologies.
We will cut company taxes to 25% over three years, with a new export tax rate of 20% on export derived income.
Taken together, we believe that we can halve National’s swimability target for E.coli and get to it by 2030 instead of 2040. Of course, we are talking about the times of year when people actually swim, rather than in winter, or during floods!
When for the last 1000 years in New Zealand no-one has been swimming.
Moving beyond the ETS
Dr Jan Wright, the Parliamentary Commissioner for the Environment, recently lauded the UK-Norway climate approach.
New Zealand First had that policy approach in its last three manifestos – 2011, 2014 and 2017 but where we diverge is over the failed Emissions Trading Scheme.
We see no point in taking $1.4bn off Kiwis each year, just to wash it through some Wall Street-inspired emissions trading system. That’s why we will wind the ETS down and replace it with three-yearly Carbon Budgets instead.
New Zealand First will take the $14bn that National and the rest have budgeted for over the next 10-years and put that into New Zealand science, research and adaptation instead.
It is about owning our problems and meeting our challenges our way – not enriching some wide-boy carbon trader in New York.
Labour’s intention to sting the average farm $30,000 a year, to shovel that overseas, is in a word - dumb.
Now to Labour’s taxes
In August, Labour’s David Parker told Radio New Zealand that Labour’s water tax would not go above $500 million.
Labour has had three variations on that statement- one cent a litre, two cents a litre or their leader’s policy” we’ll sit down with stakeholders and sort it out after the election”.
Labour’s all at sea on a policy that appears to have been dreamt in response to their MOU with the Greens.
Aside from under-stating the number of irrigated farms fivefold, at two cents a cubic metre, it means a 220-hectare irrigated farm here in Canterbury faces up to $29,000 a year in added costs. At 10 cents this balloons to $145,000 a year.
The stakes are high because $60 billion is tied up in agricultural debt. If agriculture tips over then it will take the entire economy with it.
National supporters need to seriously reflect and consider New Zealand First because:
We will not support Labour ‘s proposals to widen taxes or increase the taxes we currently have; and
We will not support Labour’s proposals to widen the scope of the Emissions Trading Scheme either.
If you ignore our warning you will only have yourselves to blame because what National has been doing secretly behind your back should really alarm you.
National’s plan on water is much worse
Mr English says he wants you to cut out the middle-man. For you to choose only National or Labour, Pepsi or Coke, this Saturday.
That’s so he can get on with introducing resource rentals and forcing yet more bureaucratic “fixers” down your collective throats. In this Pepsi and Coke are one.
Farmers need to remember that Mr English was elected 27-years ago. He is steeped in the “Ruthenomics” neoliberal tradition of the modern urban National Party.
The economic purist in Mr English, sees big Iwi as the means to get water resource rentals into law.
Especially with water being valued at $35 billion and here are the fingerprints:
In April this year, we wrote to every National MP asking them to stop race-based preference to the Resource Management Act? What did National MP’s do? They put Mana Whakahono ā Rohe Agreements or race-based consenting into the RMA; that law change makes future demands for Maori for ownership and control of water into law.
In March this year National made the Whanganui River “a person” by legal definition. Now an inanimate object can appear before our courts;
Also in March, Tuwharetoa started issuing rental demands to the commercial users of Lake Taupo. The users threatened to go to court. Did National respond by saying “No one owns the water”? No, quite the opposite.
On the 17th of last month, August, Minister Finlayson offered a former High court judge and taxpayers’ money in an attempt to ‘mediate and out of court resolution. The last thing Mr Finlayson and his Cabinet colleagues wanted was this matter before the courts before the election.
This means National accepts Tu Wharetoa has ownership of the water column setting a massive precedent. “No one owns the water”. Really? Well, under National they do.
In May, Waikato-Tainui told the Prime Minister and Ministers Smith, Bridges and Flavell at a meeting, that water consents are “rights in property”. Te Arawa River Iwi chipped in wanting water consents reallocated in their Iwi’s favour. Mr Smith’s Ministry is working on allocation models right now; and
The recent Tuwharetoa Deed of Settlement establishes a new statutory body, called Te Kopua Kanapanapa. This is a brand new tier of self-perpetuating local government that will determine its own limits. This is the end of local and the beginning of “Bro-cal government that will deliver race based outcomes.
Feeling worried? You ought to be because this is National’s timeline:
December 2017: Cabinet water policy is to be finalised
December 2018: Public water consultation to be carried out and final policies agreed.
This is National’s sordid secret.
National is not telling you that, just a few short months after the election, there will be major water policy moving towards confirmation of Iwis’ ownership of water. Get ready for the invoices.
As for Maori on the street they have no idea about these things being done in their name - this is Big Iwi looking out for the Browntable and not the kitchen table of ordinary working Kiwis, Maori and non-Maori alike.
So to our position on National
New Zealand First is colour blind on issues of law. That determines our view of RMA reform. We want reform but we don’t want racism.
So if you want a National Government backed by a Maori Party, which wants a water tax of 10 cents a cubic metre - $583 million a year to start with – then you now know exactly what you are going to get.
Our message to National supporters is the same as it is for Labour supporters – you need someone to stop the extremists.
You need someone to keep National or Labour honest.
Only one party in Parliament can do that.
We will stop the extremism on either side of the political spectrum.
That’s why I am asking you to party vote New Zealand First if you want to defend the regions, and their economies and their people.