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NZ First’s Enlightened Economic Policy

Extracts from a speech by Rt Hon Winston Peters to a public meeting in Garden Place, Victoria Street, Hamilton at 1230 pm Thursday 18th November 1999.

NZ First’s Enlightened Economic Policy - Unlike Act’s Amnesia And Deceit

Today we are releasing our economic statement – much of which has been part of specific portfolio announcements – together with our budgetary accounting for the next three years.

It’s based on a formula of multiplying our exports three hundred per cent in the next two decades.

Key components of Tax policy, Research and Development, Education and Immigration programmes are designed and focused towards this result.

New Zealand First has a plan for provincial New Zealand, for the farms and the towns and the provincial capitals.

Trade has always been our lifeblood – we recognise that export led growth is the key to our future.

Our plan is to boost the productive and export sector.

We will promote economic policies with an export focus.

We will amend the Reserve Bank Act so it becomes more geared to exporting and employment.

We will establish a New Zealand export banking facility to provide export credit guarantees and venture capital funding.

We will encourage, through tax breaks, greater spending on research and development and exporting strategies in line with leading economies.

We will amend the Employment Contracts Act to improve fairness – while still retaining flexibility.

We will use the community wage to dramatically expand apprenticeships and other training opportunities.

We’ll reduce tax compliance costs and most of all we will create an internal investment scheme with the establishment of our Superannuation scheme.

This means that we will not have to rely on foreign credit.

This is what is causing all the problems at the moment.


Today I also want to talk about some of these problems – and to remind the country who caused them.

To do this – let’s recall the great war correspondent who said that: “TRUTH IS ALWAYS THE FIRST CASUALTY OF WAR”.

Truth is the casualty of the deceitful election campaign run by ACT.

ACT is most extreme political group in the country – and the baby of Roger Douglas and Richard Prebble.

ACT, the 1984 Labour government dressed up as a benevolent rural party, is really a wolf dressed up in sheep’s clothing!

ACT represents big business – foreign owned corporates and no one else.

Their MPs are the best that foreign money can buy.

Earlier this week Labour’s Epsom candidate described them as Nazis and Fascists.

They certainly use classic Nazi tactics of repeating big lies over and over again until gullible groups within the community start to believe them.

They keep saying that ACT stands for rural New Zealand – that is a lie!

Here are the facts that provincial and rural New Zealanders should remember.

ACT is led by a group of former Labour cabinet ministers from 1984.

During their time in government they closed 22 rural hospitals (29 hospitals in total, nationally) and here is the list for any ACT supporters.

Last year Roger Douglas told the ACT conference that they aimed to cut Health spending by 80 per cent within five years – that means there will not be any public health system left.

The sick in rural areas will have to travel to cities, and Australia to get health care, that should be their’s as a right.

Roger Douglas promised to cut education spending by 60%, ACT have promised to reduce government spending 100% for full-time students.

They have also said that they would not subsidise research and agriculture training.

If ACT get their way, getting a farming degree in Massey or Lincoln Universities will cost $70,000 a year.

Only those in Wellington Central and Epsom will be able to afford a decent education.

Massey University’s Agriculture Technology Department, and the equivalent in Waikato are currently complaining that their research work and training for farming students are having to cut corners.

They say that Agricultural research will die if funding is cut any further.

ACT have promised to privatise roads – that means toll gates every few hundred yards in the cities while provincial roads will be reduced to dirt tracks.

Rural New Zealand was almost destroyed by Douglas and Prebble between 1984 and 1990.

In December 1985 there were 181 thousand New Zealanders working on farms – by October 1990 this number fell to 154 thousand.

This meant that 27 thousand people were forced off the land or lost jobs on farms under the policies of the people who now run ACT, while rural unemployment trebled.

Let’s look at what these people did to our nation’s finances.

When they took office in 1984, the New Zealand dollar bought 59c Australian, and 49c US.

By the time they left it those figures had gone to 76c and 61c respectively.

This means that in 6 years imports were 30% cheaper, and our exports lost 30% in value.

Importers, money shufflers and speculators became incredibly rich, and exporters, like those in the rural sector, went to the wall.

When Labour took power in 1984, there were 70 million sheep in New Zealand. By the time they left power there were only 55million—farms lost more than 2 million sheep a year under Labour.

Between 1984 and 1990 the value of all the products and services of the rural sector (the GDP of rural New Zealand) actually shrank by 21% in real terms.

While Labour were in power, inflation averaged 10.3%, destroying the savings and property values.

In June 1987, when Roger Douglas was Minister of Finance, and Prebble was his deputy, inflation was 17.9 per cent – the highest in 72 years of keeping records.

Imagine what that did to asset values for farmers.

Interest rates for farms and businesses averaged 17.6% over the whole time that Labour were in power, and in April 1987 the rate of interest was between 23 and 26%.

These people say they are the rural party and that they stand for provincial New Zealand.

I repeat – those statements are lies and I challenge Prebble and the rest of his ACT gnomes to a public debate about his rural policies before a provincial audience anywhere in New Zealand.


These people say that, on the Treaty of Waitangi, ACT stands for rural property owners in Taranaki.

This is yet another lie.

New Zealand First arranged for the compensation deal for Taranaki farmers on Maori leasehold land, at the request of the head of Federated Farmers when I was Treasurer.

(Look at the pathetic compensation mechanism of Treasury papers in 1990 when Prebble and Co were running things.)

ACT’s Owen Jennings – their rural spokesman - a former Federated Farmers President knows what really happened – but he keeps spreading the lie.

Remember him? He’s the one who didn’t have a meeting about a pyramid selling investment scheme in his office!

When I nailed him in Parliament he took a month off work to escape the heat!

There is only one party fighting for the Heartland and that is New Zealand First.

We know that seventy per cent of the real wealth of this country is produced in the provinces but it is not acknowledged by most politicians and bureaucrats in Wellington.

This is how it works. Richard Prebble’s final resting place – Wellington Central – produces the least amount of goods for export per capita than anywhere else in New Zealand.

Southland produces the most.

Wellington Central has the highest average wages in New Zealand while Southland has the lowest.

This tells us exactly what is wrong in this country.

It also tells us a lot about the sort of people who vote ACT.


Their social policies have sinister overtones. Remember the policy ideas being circulated earlier this year?

Muriel Newman, in her book, advocates stealing for people who cant get enough food.

Owen Dance, a former member of ACT’s Board circulated policy discussion papers which suggested:

 A return to debtor’s prison.

 Capital punishment, flogging and castration.

 Bankrupt people being sold into slavery. That is what many of our ancestors fled from.

 Abolishing the Domestic Purposes Benefit so many women would go bankrupt.

 Instead of being sold into slavery, these women would be offered a choice of partners to marry.

 If that did not happen they would have to enter a relationship like marriage with the State.

 Another policy idea was arresting people at random for so-called vagrancy.

 The idea the Government should be taking on more power. Drivers licenses with microchips.

We have all these ideas – anyone who wants to have a look can see them in black and white.

Richard Prebble is not talking about these things on the election campaign – but his followers have been.

Earlier this week a Labour candidate called ACT Nazis and Fascists.

They certainly use the Nazi tactic of repeating big lies over and over again until gullible people start believing them.

They keep saying that they will reduce taxes – but not health or education services. Don’t believe them.

Remember 1984 – for the biggest lie of them all. Railway workers spent sixty thousand dollars on Richard Prebble going around the country saying that he would save Railways and their jobs.

Remember that?

Remember what happened to the Railways and the jobs?

Remember the lie?

That is Richard Prebble – That is ACT.

Contact: Frank Perry phone: (04) 471 9606
mobile: 021 890 307

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