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Peters - Alliance Sold Soul For Plastic Promises

An address by Rt Hon Winston Peters to a public meeting at 2.30pm 14th September 1999 at the Westview Lounge, Hornby Workingmen’s Club, 17 Carmen Road, Hornby, Christchurch

Theme: “The Alliance has sold its soul for plastic promises”

Funny things happen in politics. One day we can be debating legislation for grubbing Nasella tussock in North Canterbury, and the next day we can discuss sending troops into a war zone in East Timor to keep a peace which does not yet exist.

We are not meant to be experts about these issues.

We are there as Representatives of the people, to make decisions on their behalf, using our best judgment on the information we have available.

Sometimes, those of us who feel we can no longer defend the policies of the parties whose tickets we were elected on decide to go a different way to better represent the interests of the people.

In this respect, I have something in common with Jim Anderton, the MP for this area, except that when I left National, I resigned from Parliament and faced the Tauranga electorate to get a fresh mandate to represent the people.

Mr Anderton waited until the next election.

The final straw for me was National’s refusal to follow the policies they were elected on, and the betrayal of the people who voted for them.

It was a repeat of 1984, when Labour had a secret agenda to throw the country to the mercy of big business and foreign ownership.

Over the years, political commentators have referred to other similarities between the Alliance and New Zealand First.

Both parties supported MMP and putting a stop to the exclusive sharing of political power between the two old parties.

The Alliance and New Zealand First Leaders both came from the two old parties but left – or were forced to leave – on a point of principle.

Both started their own parties to increase the standard of representation and accountability in New Zealand Politics.

But over the last three years a critical difference has emerged between New Zealand First and the Alliance.

While New Zealand First was in government, moderating the extremist policies of National, and delivering on social and economic promises – the Alliance were moving closer and closer to Labour.

Desperate for political power, and to be part of government, the Alliance MPs have given their support to Labour for nothing in return.

By propping up the Labour vote they have reduced the effectiveness they – or any other party outside of the two old ones – will have post election.

Voters who possibly would have considered voting for Mr Anderton and the Alliance are now saying – Why bother? They might as well vote for Labour.

A vote for the Alliance now is meaningless and worthless.

There is no evidence that the Alliance and Labour plan to negotiate a detailed agreement – in fact the contrary is the case.

Both Labour and the Alliance favour a far less rigid, less detailed coalition agreement than the one New Zealand First had with National.

And this is where Jim Anderton and the Alliance show a fatal misunderstanding of MMP.

For their approach favours the two old parties.

The Alliance are promising they will be the heart of a new government. But where are their guarantees, their assurances?

Where do they have written down for the voters to see, an agreement over what they intend to do about anything?
This is a cruel confidence trick for voters – just like Labour’s plastic card of plastic promises.
We do not have one concrete proposal from these people – just an awareness that they will argue about policies if they are elected.

Can the country afford that sort of uncertainty?

The only way any party – especially those outside of the two old parties – can be assured of any post election influence depends on their share of the vote – and only then when they use that vote to produce a blueprint that makes their policies a reality.

A detailed agreement is the only vehicle that can achieve this.

Not only has Jim Anderton not learned from his past experiences with the Labour Party – he has not learned from New Zealand First’s coalition experience with National

If we look at what has happened between the Alliance and Labour over the years, it is clear that they would have great difficulty forming a stable, coherent government.

In February 1996, Trevor Mallard said:
“ the Alliance’s policies are dangerous and loony”

Jim Anderton on National Radio at the same time, replying to Labour criticism that he shifted the ground, and was difficult to get along with: “These suggestions are so arrogantly outrageous that you almost feel like doing physical violence to those who are saying it..”

In February, 1996:
Helen Clark said Labour would focus on defeating National, but she would continue to “Strongly” maintain the unacceptability of the Alliance’s economic policy…”What is certain is that the electorate will punish parties that threaten economic recovery, and so it should.”

In February, 1995 Jim Anderton said :
“ We will not go into coalition with any other party if the price is to sell out important social and economic policy commitments we have given during the election campaign.”

In February 1996 :
“Mr Anderton said the Labour caucus decision on Wednesday to cancel pre-election talks between him and the Labour president meant there was no possibility of a coalition.”

Helen Clark - this time in November 1994:
“ Mr Anderton has made it clear for the past year that a Centre-Right government is what he prefers. He has given his word to Jim Bolger he has his vote on matters of confidence whenever he wants. This man is driven by old hatreds…if they want Labour to sign up to the Social Credit financial transactions tax they are off the planet”

Jim Anderton – in November, 1993.
“ Asked if he supported Labour’s finance spokesman, Michael Cullen, as Minister of Finance, he said Mr Cullen also seemed to support the Reserve Bank target of 0-2 percent inflation, “and everything that goes with it such as high unemployment”.

In November 1993, Jim Anderton said :
“ I don’t want to be in Cabinet, I don’t want to be a power-broker. What I want is consultation and trust and policies that are in the interests of the country.”

And in October 1994, Jim Anderton declared war on the Labour Party, following its refusal to discuss a coalition before the next election.

These parties are now asking you to vote for them without any formal coalition agreement – which means that you are all being asked to subscribe to some political “chaos” theory.

We were accused of selling out to National – but we could not go with Labour last time because they only had 37 seats, and we had 17. That gives 54 and there were 120 seats.

The Alliance would give us no guarantees. So, we swallowed our pride, and went with National so we could at least get something for the people – and we delivered.

We scrapped the super surtax.
We provided free medical care for the under sixes.
We achieved a twenty per cent spending boost for education.
We funded more operations in public hospitals.
We put extra police on the streets.
We reduced interest rates and the exchange rate to help businesses and exporters.

And we did this because we made National sign a binding agreement. We did not allow an uncertain situation to develop.

That is not what MMP is about – it is about sharing power, and sharing it with the people. However, National decided that we were getting too much of the share and Mrs Shipley was sent to torpedo the coalition.
That experience highlighted the unwillingness of the old parties to share power.

It highlighted their arrogance and the degree to which they use every politically subversive trick they can to be totally in charge.

Everyone knows the deception and manipulation Jenny Shipley used to get rid of New Zealand First and to be propped up by renegade MPs with no public mandate.

And the same sort of arrogance was displayed by the Labour Party in our coalition negotiations with them in 1996, when they expected to govern with only 27 per cent of the vote.

It is a form of fascism for political parties to sort out the results of elections before they are even held.

The people don’t want backroom deals between political parties and politicians deciding the outcome of the election, before the election is even held.

They want politicians who will share power with the people.

That’s why we are not aligning ourselves with either Labour or National.

We will talk to them after the election, when the voters have decided on the shape of the new Parliament, and not before, when nothing has been decided.

We now have experience in MMP and the transition to the next government will be a lot smoother than the last.

One of the biggest problems with minority single party rule is that it is basically corrupt with the bureaucracy and vested interests running the government.

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 – and leadership with the courage to make the hard decisions.

They want leaders who will admit that they are human and can make mistakes.

They want leaders who will concentrate on the real issues affecting New Zealand.

They don’t want leaders who strut around the world stage preaching the values of free trade while local businesses go to the wall and more people lose their jobs.

They want leaders who will take them into their confidence.

And they want leaders who value people as people, and care about what happens to them.

This is probably the worst outcome of the failed economic experiment of the past fifteen years – the loss of our traditional values.

We were once a kind and caring people. We valued our young and our old.

We did not believe that the rich and powerful should seize our natural resources.

We did not want taxpayer owned assets flogged off to foreign owners.

We want New Zealand back!

We want the government cleaned up.

We want our young people to be educated and trained without student loans bankrupting the family .

We want our public health system to treat us when we are sick.

We want our government to restore our national super, so we do not spend our remaining years on the breadline.

We want jobs for everyone willing and able to work, and we want to be safe in our homes and on the streets.

New Zealand was once a world leader in many social areas but now slumps near the bottom of the OECD heap.

It is time for New Zealanders to tell Wellington that they want some of these old values back – these values that were never for sale.

Send your message to Wellington with a New Zealand First MP – we know how to deliver.

Ends

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