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“Put Parliament Above Pinnochio Politics”

Extracts from a speech by Rt Hon Winston Peters to a public meeting in Rotorua, First Floor, Citizens Club, Arawa Street, Rotorua at 1230pm,
11th November 1999.

“Put Parliament Above Pinnochio Politics”

New Zealanders are sick and tired of the “Pinnochio Politics” being practiced by political parties this election campaign.

Every day brings a new batch of lies, distortions of the truth, and fresh attempts to manipulate voters.

And every day the noses of the other political leaders seem to grow longer in the process – just like the little puppet in the much loved story of Pinnochio.

New Zealand First has been targeted by a full scale political hate campaign since announcing last weekend that we will not be part of a coalition government – but will sit on the cross benches and keep the system honest.

The attacks have come from the other political parties, and some commentators, for adopting an independent position.

The latest example of course was the sneaky approach by National to Labour in Tauranga to try to do a deal to get rid of New Zealand First.

These parties have the effrontery to tell people that they are different! And, they are ganging up on us because we have said that we are going to be independent of them!

Shock! Horror! A position which does not seek power and actually delivers a stable government on election night because we will guarantee supply to the party which gets the most votes.

This is too much for some people to take so they have mounted a deliberate campaign of “misinformation” about minority coalition governments.

Their aim is to confuse voters about what is really a very simple and stable political system.

Some commentators and politicians have curiously interpreted our position as creating a situation for holding another election, while others have linked it to tax rises or tax reductions.

Even some so-called constitutional experts have got it wrong because they simply do not understand how Parliament works, how MMP works, and how minority governments function in MMP democracies overseas.

Guaranteeing supply means just that. It means that government services will run normally and that everyone will be paid.

What is does not mean is that the new government will have the automatic right to do as it likes.

So, to explain the system again – it works like this.

When the votes are counted, we will guarantee SUPPLY to the single party which attracts the most votes, which, barring an accident, will be either Labour or National.

This means that if you vote for the Alliance on the List vote – you will reduce Labour’s chances of becoming the government.

Similarly, by voting ACT on the List vote, you will reduce the chances of National forming a minority government.

We have taken this step because of the endless manipulation that is going on behind the scenes, and the horse trading for power in places like the Coromandel, Wellington Central, Tauranga, Ohariu-Belmont and the like.

Voters are being fed a load of nonsense.

The Alliance is running around saying that a vote for them is a vote for Labour, while ACT insists that a vote for them is a vote for National.

These statements are quite irrational.

What they really mean is that if you vote Labour you get the Alliance and if you vote National you get ACT.

Deep down neither Helen Clark nor Jenny Shipley want a bar of their camp followers.

This is why:

Labour fears the Alliance’s bizarre spending promises and its plans for tax increases up to 66 cents in the dollar.

You cannot have the Alliance’s programme costing billions and billions of dollars without huge tax increases and Helen Clark knows this.

When asked during a TV debate, how many of the Alliance programmes Labour would support, she looked very sick, especially when Jim Anderton answered for her – and said that depends on how many seats the Alliance wins.

It is also interesting to note that Labour has not costed any of the Alliance’s promises into its budget so it obviously does not mean to honour any of them.

This has angered Mr Anderton and led to the public fight between him and Mr Cullen yesterday.

If that sort of thing happens now between these so called coalition partners, what is it going to be like if they get into government?

That is why New Zealand First intends keeping them under control.

Meanwhile on the Loony Right, ACT are promising a 20 cents in the dollar flat tax and a sixteen billion dollar cut in State spending.

This must keep Jenny Shipley and Bill English awake at nights.

Because what ACT are promising amounts to slashing the entire Education Budget of $6.3 billion for the next financial year.

Abolishing the entire Health Budget of $6.8 billion.

All of the Law and Order Budget, All the Defense Budget and several other government services.

This means ACT does not want the State to provide any Healthcare, Education, Defence or Police.

Perhaps they will let market forces rule!

There is no place for ACT’s Right Wing lunacy in New Zealand politics and no one knows this better than Jenny Shipley.

She knows that making a pact with Prebble is like selling your soul to the devil – at some stage you have to give the devil his due – like a slash and burn job on our social services!

Voters don’t want this to happen. They voted for MMP to get rid of the unfair First Past the Post system of minority governments doing what they like.

What we have announced – and what is being blindly attacked by some critics – is exactly what MMP offered in the first place.

These critics are overlooking the essential difference between coalition stability and government stability.

COALITION STABILITY involves political parties joining forces in the belief that they have a mandate to do whatever they want to – regardless of what voters want and without regard to Parliament.

GOVERNMENT STABILITY, which New Zealand First is campaigning for, will ensure that the party in power must seek the authority in Parliament to do what the PEOPLE want.

It forces the government to consult other parties, and amend its legislative programme, where necessary, to get it through Parliament.

This Government stability – as we have outlined it – is democracy in action.

This will deliver moderation, which is what we believe New Zealanders want, not the extremism of the Alliance and ACT.

Only New Zealand First stands for this stability, and open Government.

That is why all the other political parties have turned their guns on to us to try to remove New Zealand First from Parliament.

That is why we have to stay there – on the cross benches – watching everything the others try to do.

Trust us – give us two ticks to keep them honest.


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