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Theme: "The women leaders have lost their way."

Media Release - For immediate Release

Friday 6th August 1999

Rt Hon Winston Peters

Kawerau Grey Power Meeting, Concert Chambers, Islington Street, Kawerau.

Theme: "The women leaders have lost their way."

New Zealand was once regarded as the social laboratory of the world.

We were the first to give women the vote, to pay substantial old age pensions, and to adopt enlightened industrial laws.

Our child care was regarded as the envy of the Western world and our race relations were praised throughout the Commonwealth.

Now, we have slipped down the scale and we face an enormous task to restore New Zealand to its place of pride on the World map.

We have huge problems with our balance of payments, our export growth is stunted, there is high unemployment and Wellington is full of scandals.

In short, the country is floundering with no clear sense of purpose or direction.

It needs positive leadership and bold policies - but instead it gets nonsense from Jenny Shipley and Helen Clark.

Their latest response to the crisis facing New Zealand is to argue that gay couples be given the right to adopt children.

Their sense of reality has disappeared, along with their credibility.

With all the problems facing this country, many substantial and real, is this all that they can come up with?

No one is attacking gay couples but New Zealanders will be asking what their country is coming to when their political leaders regard issues such as this as political priorities and campaign flyers.

Many childless heterosexual couples in this country are looking to Kosovo, Romania and elsewhere to adopt children because there are none available for adoption here.

The Minister of Education has just launched initiatives to get more males back into primary teaching.

There is official concern that there is not enough male influence on the lives of many young New Zealanders.

Nick Smith said that schools need a better balance of male teachers to deal with an increasing number of social issues and to provide positive role models for boys.

He says that male teachers send a message to boys that education is not "sissy". Perhaps he should have discussed it with his boss who seems to have other ideas!

The issue was raised because of the high number of single parent families, and concern expressed by solo mothers about the lack of positive male influence on their children.

Which signals do these so-called leaders want the country to follow?

Are ordinary New Zealanders clamouring for gay couples to be given the right to adopt children?

Of course not!

Are gay couples clamouring for the right to adopt kids?

Of course not!

But for Mrs Shipley and Ms Clark, this is a great way to divert public attention from the real issues facing ordinary New Zealanders, like whether their children are going to have jobs when they leave school.

Or, whether they can afford to educate them.

Mrs Shipley would rather the youngsters were in bars because she voted to lower the drinking age to eighteen.

Mrs Shipley thinks that the young people are all going to sit around in cafes.

Why doesn't she confront the problems of youth unemployment instead of concentrating on issues of gay couples adopting children.

Every town in New Zealand has a youth unemployment problem.

Every town has its group of young troublemakers.

Alcohol and drugs make them worse.

Most of these youngsters need guidance and a job.

The so-called conscience vote in Parliament was a nonsense. Who with any sort of social conscience, and armed with the facts of life in New Zealand, would send young people into bars and bottle stores?

New Zealand First MP's decided not only to vote against liberalising the drinking laws - We are also trying to persuade the MPs who voted FOR lowering the drinking age to change their minds.

We have written to each MP imploring them to keep the age at 20.

Our belief is that young people are better off in jobs than pubs.

If these youngsters had jobs and more training and educational chances they would not be getting into trouble.

Unemployment is the curse of many regional communities.

New Zealand First is going to give tax breaks and other incentives to get unemployed people into work and we will be targeting young people, in particular.

We cannot have another dependent generation lining up in dole queues.

Our other plans will unfold well before the election campaign.

They include reducing the interest rate of student loans to the CPI plus 2 per cent, increasing national super to at least 67.5 per cent of the average wage, and increasing war veterans pensions by ten per cent.

We will also change the Reserve Bank Act to include export growth, economic growth and employment in its policy settings.

Bold courageous action is needed to change the course of the country after fifteen years of blind ideology and navel gazing.

The time has come for the people of New Zealand to take their country back from bungling bureaucrats and weak politicians.

New Zealanders want leadership they can trust.
They don't want politicians who pretend that the real problems don't exist and politicians who take up non-existent issues.

ENDS

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