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NZ First Plans To Boost Provincial New Zealand


Media Release

For immediate use Sunday 3rd October 1999


These were announced by the New Zealand First Leader, Rt Hon Winston Peters, at a rally in Dargaville this afternoon.

New Zealand first will provide incentives for industries to set up in the regions.

These will take the form of:

· Low interest loans to help set up new industry.

· If the business creates new jobs, some of the loan will become a grant, after three years.

· Accelerated depreciation rates will be available for businesses that produce value added products for exports.

· Company tax discounts for the first five years of operation if a company is developing an export market.

· The finance would be made available through a development banking utility with strict criteria for these incentives.

To directly help farmers, New Zealand First will:

· Ensure there is a balanced and flexible monetary policy of low inflation, low interest and stable exchange rates.

· Establish a Rural Affairs Unit to gather information and advise the Government on all issues that affect rural communities.

· Expedite the review the Resource Management Act and support amendments that reduce compliance costs and red tape.

· Introduce a Mortgage Guarantee Scheme to encourage young qualified people to own a farm or rural production block.

· Create a more equitable Livestock Taxation regime in conjunction with farmer groups and their financial advisers.

· Amend insolvency laws to help farmers and growers, who supply stock or produce for processing , and are treated as unsecured creditors if the processor goes into receivership before paying.

· Re-introduce the Farm Debt Mediation Bill which means that banks have to follow a clear and defined process before they can possess a farm to satisfy farm debts.

· Commit extra funding for the eradication of pests and noxious weeds.

· Provide base funding to develop and promote organic farming options.

· Ensure that agriculture and horticulture research receive emphasis and priority in science funding and strategy.


Herewith the details:


SPEECH: Rt Hon Winston Peters MP
Leader of New Zealand First

(An Address to a Public Rally, Ivan and Elaine Blitvic's Farm, Turiwiri West Road, DARGAVILLE 3rd October 1999)

THEME: "It's Time for a Rural Revolution"

Ladies and Gentlemen, you have just heard from the next MP for Northland - Ian Walker. Ian has the farming background and credentials to give Northlanders the standard of representation they have been denied for over a decade.

More importantly, he has the desire and the commitment necessary to put Northland first.

That is why Party President Doug Woolerton and I have agreed that, effective today, Ian is New Zealand First's Rural Spokesperson - the man to give rural issues the prominence and attention they warrant - not just in Northland but nationwide.

For if rural New Zealand is not working - New Zealand is not working.

When we think of revolutionaries, a picture springs to mind of French peasants storming the Bastille, or Russian workers sacking the Tsar's palace. Even a bearded Fidel Castro with a sub machine gun and cigar in Cuba.

Even if it is hard to imagine this gathering today storming the Bastille, the call to revolution in Rural New Zealand is, in some ways, just as great as it was in Paris two hundred years ago.

The reason for this is simple. Revolutions are caused by injustices and the refusal of those in power to treat all the citizens of a country fairly.

Northland knows all about that. It is one of New Zealand's forgotten places, and it is doubtful if it has ever been treated fairly - by National or Labour.

All the two old parties have to offer Northland - and the rest of rural New Zealand - is more of the same - more of the failed blind monetarist experiment that has brought New Zealand to its parlous state.

But that need not be the case.

Provinces, like Northland, create two thirds of the country's export wealth.

Wellington's Beehive thanks you very much, and says in return we'll close your hospitals, your schools, build you a prison and privatise your roads.

We'll punt on the foreign exchange markets with your money, we'll invest it in property in Auckland or we'll give it away in international travel, in bonuses or big salaries to bureaucratic fat cats with "no accountability" clauses in their contracts.

The last thing that Wellington Central will do is re-invest that money back in the provinces where it was earned.

Successive governments have sucked the money from the provinces, yet have given nothing back in return.

To make matters worse, for the past fifteen years, this country has taken part in a mad monetarist experiment that has brought us to our knees.

We are now an economic colony of Australia, America and Asia.

We have lost control of our own resources and whenever our prospects improve - the Reserve Bank chokes off growth by putting up interest rates.

We are a country living beyond its means with no visible means of long term support.

Today every economic indicator is pointing in the wrong direction.

Inflation is forecast to rise way above 2%. Interest rates are forecast to rise before the end of the year. Unemployment is at 221,000.

As of March this year, and the figure is still rising, we owed over $102 billion overseas and growing at a rate of over $30 per week per New Zealander.

This debt has to be paid back by the New Zealand economy and has the following effects - business profits and wages will fall but interest payments will increase for everyone.

New Zealand has a worsening Balance of Payments Crisis or, more properly, an Imbalance of Payments Crisis - a deficit between what we earn overseas and the amount we spend each year.

Some thing has to be done. We desperately need a change of political policy and political leadership.

We need an economy with a clear plan and vision to treble in real terms our exports by the year 2020.

To achieve that target and put our performance alongside that of Singapore, Norway or Ireland New Zealand's economic and social strategy must focus on this export target.

All primary production, secondary production, industry and commerce policies must make exporting New Zealand's Number One Priority.

Likewise, education, taxation and immigration policy should have their primary focus on trebling our exports.

Critical to this target is our plan to change the Reserve Bank Act to reflect an understanding of this export target.

We plan to amend the Act to include export growth and employment and this will be our priority when the coalition talks start the day after the election.

But we are going to do much more because New Zealand is losing a company a week overseas.

A few years ago, the tomato processing plant Cedenco moved from the Gisborne area to Australia.

The company was given incentives to cross the Tasman, - and with it went the employment of hundreds of workers. The whole district was hit - the growers, the truck drivers, the shops, the schools - everything.

In some cases we are losing incredibly valuable intellectual property by way of lost knowledge, expertise and technology.

We are going to reverse that situation.

To revitalise regional New Zealand and to reduce the pressure on infrastructure in metropolitan areas such as Auckland, we are going to provide incentives for industry to set up in the regions.

These will take the form of:

Low interest loans to help new industry to be set up.

If the business creates new jobs, some of the loan will become a grant, after three years.

Accelerated depreciation rates will be available for businesses that produce value added products for exports. That means if you send a log of wood there is nothing - but if you export a chair you get it.

Company tax discounts for the first five years of operation if a company is developing an export market.


The finance would be made available through a development banking utility with strict criteria for these incentives.

Not only do we have to stop these New Zealand companies moving overseas, we also have to give them sound economic reasons to stay or come home.

It is essential that there is infrastructure to support regional development.

Roading in the North has always been the worst in New Zealand. Most of the petrol tax paid by road users in the North goes into the Consolidated Account - and Wellington decides where it will be spent.

New Zealand First will start spending it on Northland's roads.

In other measures, aimed at arresting the social decline:

We will send qualified teachers, doctors and public health nurses who want to work off their student loans into those provinces without enough of these people today.

We will lift the benefit abatement levels - so that people can earn more.

And we will extend the community wage scheme to undertake development projects as long as they don't take jobs from other workers.

To directly help farmers we will:

Ensure there is a balanced and flexible monetary policy of low inflation, low interest and stable exchange rates.

Establish a Rural Affairs Unit to gather information and advise the Government on all issues that affect rural communities.

Expedite the review the Resource Management Act and support amendments that reduce compliance costs and cut through the red tape it creates.

Introduce a Mortgage Guarantee Scheme to encourage young qualified people to own a farm or rural production block.

Create a more equitable Livestock Taxation regime in conjunction with farmer groups and their financial advisers.

Amend insolvency laws to provide solutions for situations where farmers and growers, who supply stock or produce for processing, are treated as unsecured creditors if the processor goes into receivership before paying.

Re-introduce the Farm Debt Mediation Bill which means that banks have to follow a clear and defined process before the banks can possess a farm to satisfy farm debts.

Commit extra funding for the eradication of pests and noxious weeds.

Provide base funding to develop and promote organic farming options.

Ensure that agriculture and horticulture research receive the emphasis and priority in science funding and strategy that they deserve.

In short, we recognise that most of New Zealand still rides on the back of the family on the land, sea, forest and urban exporter.

We acknowledge the importance of information technology and we know we live in the space age. It is bringing great benefits to humanity.

But, we also know that you can't eat or wear a compact disc, and that you can't drive a herd of cows or a flock of sheep along the internet.

The future of our people will always be linked to our landscape - our farms, gardens, orchards, forests, and coastlines.

The time has come for us to rise up and take our country back. We must regain ownership and control New Zealand's resources. We must preserve and enhance them for our future generations.

ENDS


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