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Winston Peters Speech To Counties Manukau Grey Power AGM

Rt. Hon Winston Peters
Leader NZ First

Address to: Counties Manukau Grey Power AGM
Manurewa Methodist Church Hall
Corner Alfriston and Great South Rd. Manurewa

Date: May 17th 2011

Time: 10am

There has been a lot of political noise in recent weeks.

 On one side of the spectrum a middle aged Maori radical and his family are stirring up the people of the Far North.

On the other side the National Party's leading hollow man took over a political party he did not even belong to!

It was a field day for the media.

You could see them salivating at the expected headlines!

The noise created a welcome diversion for the government.

In recent days John Key has been softening up Kiwis in anticipation of Budget cuts to Kiwisaver.

 Any cutbacks to this retirement savings plan is very shortsighted and foolish.

 It will once again show that a National government does not care about building up savings or ensuring that retired people have an adequate income.

 The National Party scrapped the Norman Kirk superannuation plan in 1975.

 In 1998 Jenny Shipley and Bill English cut the superannuation rate from 65 percent to 60 percent.
 
There are about one point seven million people with Kiwisaver accounts, which begs the question:
 Why is the government interfering in the personal superannuation contract of each of these people?

 They say that the country can’t afford it.

 Yet the country can afford billions to bail out the collapsed finance companies of National's mates.

 And the government can put aside another billion to back insurance companies that somehow don’t have the funds when the claims start rolling in.

There is plenty of money when the government bails out their mates but ordinary people get shafted.
 That is what is happening with Kiwisaver.

 There is no need to cut it.

 The government accounts are not in bad shape. We are being fed a steady stream of propaganda about the hopeless debt problem.

 It is private debt – it is bank debt caused by foolish lending policies during the property boom.
 The foreign owned trading banks were lending as fast as they could in a bid to create record profits.
 Then the bubble burst.

 And all over the world governments bailed out banks whose top executives had received obscenely high salaries for creating market mayhem

 Despite the doom and gloom for those at the bottom of the heap – those at the top are creaming it!

Remember this government, now crying poverty gave its mates some big tax cuts.

Look for example, at the boss of the Australian bank Westpac in New Zealand.

 His salary was a reported $5.6 million dollars.

 When National handed out tax cuts – the bank boss got more than $5,000 a week extra.

 That's right $5,000 a week extra because of his tax cut. More than $260,000 a year – just in a tax cut.
 
Now for the unfairness of it all. Guess what happened to the workers?

 National lifted the minimum wage by 25 cents an hour to $13 an hour.

That means someone on the minimum wage – and there are thousands of them – now receives just over $27,000 a year.

 That amounts to about $437 a week take home pay.

 It's easy to see the people this government is looking after.

 If you are a bank boss on $5.6million, helping cause a recession, you get an extra five thousand a week.

 If you are on the minimum wage – you get an extra 25 cents an hour.

 The Aussie banks are helping cause our balance of payments problems.

 They take billions out of New Zealand every year.

 Right in the middle of a so called credit crunch these banks kept on making record profits.

 Whilst Australian politicians, as we speak, investigate these bank activities we in New Zealand do nothing.

 And recall that is was those same four Aussie banks who had to repay $2 billion to the IRD for tax avoidance in late 2009.

 What great service do they provide for this privileged position?

 As Kiwi Bank has shown we are perfectly capable of operating our own banks.

NZ First policy is to give all Government business, national and municipal, to a locally owned bank.
That bank is Kiwibank and we would make it a standalone operation.

We will release more details on that later.

There is some good news ahead and that is NZ First will continue looking after the most vulnerable in our society.

Last year we announced the extension of the SuperGold card into one free medical check a year and GP visits to be capped at ten dollars.

After the next election NZ First is going to take the SuperGold Card into energy cost saving.
 
We will be giving a discount of ten percent on the electricity bills of SuperGold cardholders.
 
This scheme will be based on the average annual units used by married couples and singles and we would have it operating by winter 2012.

 Details will be announced later but the scheme's cost will be very modest after it has been set up.

 Of course, we won't be paying to heat swimming pools or to run the family factory from grandma's place but we believe that cold damp houses are a health risk to senior citizens.

 The cost of electricity has gone up at least ten percent since last winter and we hear too many reports of older people unable to afford power bills or scared to turn a heater on.

 We would like to do more - but at least we are moving in the right direction.

 And let me warn you today no clear voice has been heard about the policies that a John Key/Don Brash government would bring.

 Brash's job is to dismantle the welfare state. He has been brought in because the big money thinks National is going too slowly.

 A Key/Brash government would show no mercy.

 Your assets will be sold. Most of the taxpayer owned assets will be privatised.
 The public education and health systems will be crippled.

 Wages will be kept down – despite all the fine words about matching Australia.

 What worries us is that many New Zealanders seem to be standing in the middle of the railway track waiting to be run over.

 They are apparently impervious to the fact that a train is coming or if they know- they think it will miss them.

 It will hit middle and low income earners.

 Only the truly rich will benefit.

 Now about the election ahead.

 This is our position.
 
If you don’t want to vote for National, vote for New Zealand First.

 If you don’t want to vote for Labour, vote for New Zealand First.

 If you dont want the others vote for New Zealand First.

 If we have to, and if that is what New Zealand First decides, we will be pleased to sit on the cross benches guarding the interests of ALL New Zealanders.

 We have done it before.

 We will support legislation that's in line with New Zealand First policies.

 And we will always support any policy or idea that's good for the country – no matter where it comes from.

 In return we will expect support for our initiatives.

 Those who set up pre-election deals are trying to weaken your vote.

 They seek to marginalize your role in democracy.

 Don’t let them.

 And remember that one party has always stood by you and done the right thing for senior citizens.

 That party is NZ First.


ENDS

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