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Winston Peters Speech On Military Training

Media Release

Embargoed against delivery 2pm Tuesday 19th October 1999

Extracts from a speech by Rt Hon Winston Peters to South Waikato Greypower Association, Scout Hall Kauri Park, Tokoroa

The response to New Zealand First’s initiative of military or community service for our young people has been overwhelming.

Our office has been flooded with messages of support and some callers are suggesting that the scheme should even be made compulsory for young women.

The men who went through CMT themselves are particularly supportive. They remember how it helped them – and some have said that it was the most important time of their lives.

Most New Zealand towns and cities have a youth problem. Here, the answer to many of the social problems created by young males in South Waikato lies down the road at Waiouru.

Twelve weeks training under strict military type discipline would be the making of many of them.

Most of our young people are good citizens, but unfortunately, too many of them are lacking in leadership and direction.

In many European countries, the system we are advocating works and is accepted as part of the obligations of adult males.

To the few people who are criticising this policy, we say that they should come up with some ideas of their own for solving the problems of our dysfunctional crime ridden, ill disciplined society.

Over the past few months, the only initiative for the young has been the stupid decision by the majority of MPs to allow youngsters to drink at the age of eighteen.

These MPs did nothing about the problem of unemployment, life skills, drug taking or lack of training or purpose.

They said to the Nation’s youth – “we cant do anything for you or get you a job, but we can get you into a bar!”

The time for the hand wringing waffle is over. We must actually DO something about the problems of our young people.

If we don’t, we are going to create more gangs of aimless young men who receive State wages and do nothing except drink, take drugs and prey on law abiding citizens to support their habit.

It would be quite wrong to say that all young males are like this – in fact the reverse is the case. Most are good decent citizens, and they will have a good influence on the others.

New Zealand First estimates that it will take about three years to get the National Service scheme fully operational, and it will be phased in over that time.

The first stage would be to appoint a team to set it up.

They would come from the Defence Force, Emergency Services, Civil Defence, Outward Bound, and other groups.

These people would have a history of achievement with an interest in the welfare and training of young people.

The next step would be to set up the camps – and that would mean taking some of those we already have and getting them out of mothballs.

This project alone would provide many jobs, and there would be on going maintenance and upgrading of facilities, so a lot of this employment would be permanent.

The next step would be to train the trainers and it is obvious that many of these people would be former military or emergency service instructors while others would have a background in outdoor education.

Once the first trainers, and one of the camps was ready, we could start with a limited intake of young people who were first job seekers, or on the community wage.

Those electing to take the military option would be given basic military training consisting of confidence training, drills, weapons handling, discipline and general life skills in which they maintain regular habits – like getting out of bed in the morning!

There would be a lot of emphasis on physical fitness.

Those who wanted to do community service would not be involved in any of the weapons handling, but would spend time in basic training for one of the emergency services, or the like.

In some cases we would consider other forms of community work, and we are always open to good ideas.

The concept of this entire scheme is clear to everyone. The objectives are clear, we are confident we can get the infrastructure in place and we are confident it will work.


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