Winston Peters West Auckland Speech
Speech delivered 22 July Auckland
From Winston Peters
Leader New Zealand First
My Thoughts are:
This issue was never about one politician or one political party.
It was never about Winston Peters or New Zealand First - nor should it have been.
That some tried to make it that is regrettable.
For the issues at stake were far too important to be trivialised in this way.
Such trivialisation of issues that go to the core of our democracy have highlighted some of the worst aspects of New Zealand Politics today. In particular, the tendency of politicians to play the man instead of the issue - to put petty political point scoring above serving the public interest - and doing the right thing.
Forget the public concern that has been a part of this issue from day one. The only concern the Government had, as well as the opposition parties, was to make sure another politician - and political party - did not get one up on them.
Regardless of the cost to the country.
Even parties who claimed to stand against the establishment and the two old parties, even parties and politicians who claimed to support MMP, increased representation of the average New Zealander and co-operation and constructiveness between political parties for the sake of the country - even they refused to support the public and New Zealand First in our campaign for justice.
Isn't it incredible that our political opponents accuse us of trying to make capital out of this issue - accusing us of blatant opportunism and populism - when it was they - and NOT us - with their silence, and their refusal to support or assist in any way - who made this a Winston Peters issue, a New Zealand First issue.
And isn't it even worse - and incredibly sad - that duty and sacrifice are such foreign words in today's Parliament that any politician or political party who show these qualities are questioned about their "real motives" - for what possible political or personal gain there is in it for them.
The personalities and parties behind such attacks seem incapable of understanding politicians or leaders of any sort who are prepared to fight for their principles - or put their country first and foremost.
That, Ladies and Gentlemen, is why there is a crisis in New Zealand's leadership.
The National Party has had a change of leadership since these issues first arose - yet nothing has changed.
Even now, with all of the public support and legal precedents behind us, they are unwilling to acknowledge the public's concern or that this fight was necessary if we are to preserve our international reputation for being a fair and equal society.
The opposition parties are no better.
Why you ask?
Why - even now - are they unwilling to listen to you - and hundreds of thousands of New Zealanders just like you?
Why even now they are unprepared to tell you - they are sorry - that they were wrong - and that they want to put things right.
What is behind their reluctance - their incessant politicking on this issue?
Votes - nothing less and nothing more.
The very reason they cynically think we are so elated at this victory - because of the election.
They do not want to give New Zealand First any political leverage - because they do not want us back influencing and moderating New Zealand Politics. They want us gone for good.
If there is one reason we should be happy that this victory comes so close to the Election it is because New Zealanders can use the power of their vote to demand action - to hold the Government accountable - and to make it clear that any other party who will sit on their hands and be silent - will not get their support either.
Yet again it is up to the people - because the politicians aren't going to do anything about it unless you make them.
If nothing else the Winebox saga has taught us that.
We have done all we can.
It is now a test of leadership and integrity on the part of the other parties - particularly the Government.
Telling us that the Serious Fraud Office and the Commissioner of Inland Revenue are independent of the Government is not good enough. If that means that they can act as a law unto themselves, and be accountable to no one, then the law must be changed.
Now that we have our victory the integrity of the Department …, of the Government, will face its toughest test yet.
And it is up to you the public of New Zealand to judge them accordingly. If this election is to come down to issues of accountability and representation - as the people are telling us it will - there will be no greater challenge - no more telling scorecard.
- if the public interest really is put first.
-If there is accountability and justice for all.
-If the politicians are there to serve anyone else but themselves and the narrow political and business interests behind them.
Only time will tell - and they do not have time.
They only have a couple of months to act - to show New Zealanders before the Election - with action that is decisive and irreversible, that they care, that they will - even at this late stage - do what is right - not for them politically but for the people they were elected to serve.
That, after all, is what leadership is all about.
It is about putting people first - putting New Zealanders first - ALL NEW ZEALANDERS.