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Lindsay Tisch, MP Karapiro - Maiden Speech

It is first appropriate Mr Speaker to repeat the congratulations and warm appreciation expressed by other members on your election.

I rise this afternoon to address the House as the newly elected representative for Karapiro and express my appreciation of the confidence they have shown in me.

While the boundaries have changed significantly over the years this electorate has been held by National since 1938.

The distinguished Hon Sir Stanley Goosman was a strong advocate on free enterprise articulating that New Zealand’s prosperity was dependent on exports. How true that is today with the current export led economic recovery.

Mr Geoff Sim, of Cambridge, aged 88 years, is one of 2 survivors from the 1943-46 Government. He retired from politics in 1966 having served for 23 years. He was a man of the land, a people’s politician. In a recent interview he commented on his late wife’s contribution to politics. His quick wit came through. Well Gertrude wore out two teapots entertaining constituents. I wish Geoff the very best.

In 1966 Jack Luxton entered Parliament and retired in 1987. Jack was very much in tune with the needs of the electorate. Along with his wife Margaret they were a formidable team. He had a strong market orientation and from his maiden speech in 1966 I quote
“A nation which tries to pursue total import protection will destroy the very efficiency that competition can produce.”

I now know where son John developed his economic focus.

I pass to Jack and Margaret Luxton my very best wishes.

Mr Speaker
I wish to acknowledge my predecessor, the Hon John Luxton for his tremendous contribution to the Electorate, the National Party and New Zealand.

John is well known for his free market philosophies and as a List Member will continue to play an important role in the National Party’s future.

My sincere thanks John, and to your wife Mary Scholtens, for your support.

Mr Speaker
With my candidature I developed a very close rapport with a team of dedicated, disciplined people whose energy and commitment achieved success for National and myself. I am indebted to them and I take the liberty Mr Speaker to acknowledge them this afternoon. Steve Osborne, Maxine Viggers, Tim MacIndoe, Peter Rumble and Bob McGrail.

My family has played a crucial role in my political progress and I acknowledge my wife Leonie, my greatest asset, and children Andrea and Karl for their support and forbearance.
I know my contribution in the future will be influenced very much by their advice, their enthusiasm and imagination.

Winston Churchill when commenting on the bruising political life said “solders get killed only once, but politicians are shot down every month”.

With this in mind it is appropriate this afternoon to renew a pledge which I made during the election campaign. To maintain the closest possible contact and communication with the people I represent.

Mr Speaker
The current Karapiro Electorate includes the town of Te Aroha, Morrinsville, Matamata, Cambridge and Te Awamutu and smaller settlements. This is heartland New Zealand that is enriched with a very productive rural economy, a growing tourism industry, an exciting bloodstock industry and developing manufacturing sector.

This is the area where people roll up their sleeves and get the job done.

Mr Speaker
I propose to reflect on what I regard as important in being a MP. I am proud to represent Karapiro. The diversity of views and opinions make this electorate exciting. The needs and aspirations encompass economic development, environmental and social equity.

Agriculture occupies a predominant place in our economy and the Producer Board Reforms are the transition for farmers to control their industries, increase their returns and compete internationally.

It is encouraging to note that the leaders of the dairy industry are making progress towards a sustainable growing future for the industry.

I believe the reforms to be so important that should the industry not have an agreed position by 1 September when the legislation expires, I would support further legislation to allow discussion to continue.

There are exciting examples of niche marketing and the Tatua Dairy Company outside Morrinsville is providing substantial returns for its farmer shareholders.

Mr Speaker
I am reminded of the story of the dairy farmer under different ideological regimes.

Under communism a farmer has two cows, the state takes both, and gives the farmer the milk to drink; under socialism a farmer has two cows, he keeps one and gives the other to his neighbour;

under bureaucracy a farmer has two cows, fills in 17 forms and has no time to milk the cows;

and under free enterprise and common sense – National’s philosophy - a farmer has two cows, sells one, buys a bull and gets on with the long term business of producing for the benefit of every New Zealander.

Our dairy industry is very efficient, National has a clear position and I support industry leaders and farmers with the reform process.

Mr Speaker
The racing and thoroughbred industry makes an important contribution to Karapiro and in Matamata, my home town, is a very large employer through the training and racing establishments, breeding and exporting.

The value of exports this year will be in excess of $100m.

Racing is no longer just a sport – it is big business.

I support a review of the legislation and taxation of the racing industry. As National’s Spokesman for Internal Affairs will look closely at the impact of Lotto and Casino Operations on the racing industry.

Mr Speaker
I represent an Electorate that has a very high percentage of self employed; in small to medium sized business.

These are the wealth creators who provide employment opportunities.

It is businesses that create jobs, not governments. The role of government is to provide the infrastructure so social objectives can be achieved.

There are two matters mentioned in the Speech from the Throne that will adversely affect all businesses in Karapiro. First, the nationalisation of Accident Insurance is a retrograde step, it is anti business and will cost jobs. The hundred of submissions received are indicative of the concerns of business, community groups and social agencies.

The second matter is the repeal of the Employment Contracts Act. This in my mind has been the most important piece of legislation since 1991 allowing flexibility in the workplace.
With my background and experience as a management consultant specialising in restructuring, financing and marketing and helping those wishing to move to self employment, I have experienced the benefits of the Private Insurance scheme and Employment Contracts Act. The proposed changes will increase compliance costs, lead to lack of confidence in business and investment and ultimately cost jobs.

I unashamedly will be batting for the hundreds of business enterprises in Karapiro and be the advocate for community organisations.

Mr Speaker, I wish to identify potentially a major environmental problem from an abandoned mine site – the Tui Mine, located on the western slopes of Mt Te Aroha and above Te Aroha township. This mine was operated from 1966 to 1973 producing a range of metals including copper, lead and zinc and abandoned by the operator in 1973.

The issues we face include first:
 Stability - with the tailings impoundment deteriorating and secondly,
 the water quality. There are various discharges from both the old mine workings and the tailings impoundment and the quality of the water is very poor, with a low pH and a range of contaminants.

The potential risks are the mass movement of the tailings should the tailings dam fail and major risks to water quality with acid drainage. The impact goes beyond the immediate area of Te Aroha out into the Waihou River which flows through the Hauraki Plains.

There is no clear responsibility for the contaminations at the site. The company that caused the problem no longer exists and the present landowners are innocent of causing the problem.

The Tui Mine has been a matter of concern to the local community, the mining industry and the two local councils, Matamata – Piako District Council and Environment Waikato for many years.

An informal working party has been investigating possible remedial options for the site and await a consultant’s report with the view to discussing with the Minister the appropriate steps to achieve site remediation.

I am aware of other abandoned sites and am sure this problem is manifested throughout New Zealand.

Mr Speaker

Throughout New Zealand there are 12 former Trust Bank Community Trusts who at 31 March 1999 collectively held investments exceeding $2b.

Appointments to the Trust are made pursuant to the Community Trusts Act 1999.

The current policy means that Trustees who have served 2 terms (of 4 years each) or involved in central or local government are effectively debarred from re-appointment to the Trusts.

As a result of this policy the Waikato Community Trust, now called Trust Waikato, had five new Trustees appointed in late 1998, a further two in 1999 and four due to retire this year.

In effect Mr Speaker 11 out of 13 Trustees will have changed in a two year period.

The boom/bust cycle is counterproductive to the long term good stewardship of investments and operations.

Trust Waikato currently has investments totalling $224m. An annual income of approximately $16m and an annual operating programme of over $9m donations and last year there were 1001 recipients of donations. In Karapiro there were 209 community groups sharing in excess of $1m.

Trustees take a minimum of 3 years to come up to speed with Trust operations and it is important that continuity and experience be retained when appointments are made.

I support the rotation of Trustees, but subscribe to the view that prudent financial management will allow more community organisations access to more available funds.

Mr Speaker
I had the privilege last Friday to speak at the Opening of extensions and refurbishment at Pohlen Hospital, Matamata. This is a private hospital whose Trust Board, through the generosity of the community, has provided resources and facilities of the highest standard.

The hospital now provides a full range of Surgery operations, Maternity care, long and short term geriatric care, along with General Practitioners operating from the hospital. The Trust has attracted funding through the Health Funding Authority, private medical insurers and in handling A.C.C. operations.

This typifies the community spirit, promoting excellence in health care and access for a catchment of approximately 30,000 people.

It is my intention to work with community groups to promote the very best in service and facilities.

Mr Speaker
I was often asked during the campaign why do I belong to the National Party and my response was –

What distinguishes National from other parties is that we believe in liberal democracy, individual freedom and responsibility, entrepreneurial initiatives that put people first. Other parties put Government first.

The more they ask of government, the less they ask of themselves.

They do not empower people, they empower bureaucracies. They do not encourage investment and growth.

They want to spend and spend and spend.

I am reminded of the story of Louis XIV who never wore gloves when he went hunting even in the coldest weather.

One day two peasants watched him ride by – one voiced his surprise that the King took no precautions against the cold, to which the other replied – why should he, he always has his hands in “our pockets”.

Mr Speaker
I have talked about the role of being a representative and little of the role of the legislator. I see the two roles as inter-related. It has often been said that politics is people. I am a people’s person and look forward to being the link between the people of Karapiro and this House.

I am reminded of the great American politician Dick Armey when asked the question “How does it feel to have people give you this power” and he replied “No, the people have given us responsibility. We are their servants. They retain the power”.


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