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Winston Peters Address To NZ First Convention

19 November 2000


(Address to New Zealand First Annual Convention by the Rt Hon Winston Peters at Te Rapa Racecourse, HAMILTON)

Seven years ago on 18 July 1993 and two days before a National Government sold New Zealand Railways to a combination of opportunists and foreigners, a new political party was formed.

This new party was based on 15 principles for sound government - all of which are as relevant today, promotable today, defensible today as the date they were announced. The Party was formed against a background of electoral betrayal by the two old parties - Labour and National and a desire for the first time for 10 years to provide a clear choice of policies and philosophies for the New Zealand voter.

We argued back then that on all the big issues National and Labour were the same and that despite tinkering around the edges of their individual parties’ histories they had been captured by interest groups growing rich under the so-called reforms at the expense of the mass majority of New Zealand citizens.

In November 2000 nothing has changed.

This week Labour Leader Helen Clark signed a free trade agreement with Singapore, legislation for which is still being debated in Parliament. In short, it’s a done deal with Parliament arrogantly being asked to rubber stamp the outcome, retrospectively. The Alliance Coalition Partner opposed it, National and ACT supported it.

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Any international observer would find these circumstances truly bizarre. The Alliance takes a holiday from government even though the Acting Prime Minister this week has been Jim Anderton, and Parliament’s consideration is in all respects irrelevant because the deal cannot be unsigned.

But putting aside these farcical circumstances two things should be obvious to the most impartial observer:

1. That it is lunacy for a country with an appalling savings record - New Zealand - to raise the threshold of foreign investment from $10 million to $50 million in favour of a country with a massive savings record and the location increasingly of Asian Pacific business head offices.

Until now investments above $10 million require OIC and ministerial consent. Now for Singaporean, or shelf company Singaporean Investments, no such barrier stands in their way.

2. Anyone who doesn’t think that the removal of duties will massively advantage Singaporeans and their associates understands nothing of this country’s history and social fabric nor for that matter Asia.

It was a big week for Helen Clark and the Labour free traders and globalists. She gave the APEC nations a swift kick in their protectionist butts with the Singapore Agreement and followed it up later in the week, without any reference to New Zealand business or workers, declaring that New Zealand would become a total free trade access without tariffs for 42 poor nations.

The Prime Minister said “that after the failed World Trade Organisation talks in Seattle, Director General Mike Moore had pointed out that if the poorest countries were to support free trade moves they had to know they would gain”.

“The best approach is to give them the key straight away and this move will do that,” said Miss Clark.

At the same time Fisher and Paykel in Auckland and a Te Kuiti shoe manufacturer, Fabia, were laying off staff because of unfair foreign competition. Typically these two measures were applauded by the usual group of eloquent and forceful advocates for a misguided view of the world.

Ladies and Gentlemen, there are two methods of eliminating New Zealand workers. The first, is to export their factories and jobs overseas and hire foreign workers there. The second, is to keep the factory here but bring in foreign workers to replace New Zealanders in their own country.

Labour started this unfettered freemarket process in 1984. National continued it in 1990 until they were stopped between 1996-98 by New Zealand First. And now Labour has resumed the process with the support in Parliament of National and ACT and the acquiescence of the Alliance. If we could stop National how come the Alliance can’t stop Labour? Those questioning Helen Clark’s declaration of free trade this week were told by Jim Anderton to “get a life”.

While all this is going on the Auckland City Council has approached the Government for assistance to buy back, for tens of millions of dollars, part of the Auckland Rail line, sold nationwide way back on 20 July 1993 by the then National Government for the princely sum of one dollar.

My how the old parties look after their friends – over, and over, and over again.

And that is why this Convention is important and why it’s great to see you all here. This country needs New Zealand First more than ever. This country needs a clear choice of policies and philosophies more than ever as we begin the 21st century.

Ask yourself these questions? Whose country is it anyway? Who do Labour and National govern for? To whom do these old parties owe their loyalty? What do these two old parties understand about national sovereignty - or to use the Maori phrase “Tinorangatiratanga”

For New Zealand is fast becoming victim of the internationalist elite whose views are best expressed by the American Strobe Talbott who said recently “all countries are basically social arrangements ….. No matter how permanent and even sacred they may seem at any one time, in fact they are all artificial and temporary ….. Within the next 100 years ….. Nationhood as we know it will be obsolete; all states will recognise a single, global economy”.

Ladies and Gentlemen, let us in New Zealand First remind the people of this country that we are economic nationalists. Let’s remind them that wise governments run their economies for their own people and not the reverse. In short, we believe the market should work for people, our people - and not the other way around.

As Mayor Rimmington reminded us yesterday in the real world there are only national economies. In these national economies great decisions are decided on what is best for that nation. It is only in New Zealand that political parties and leaders sacrifice the interests of their own people on the cross of the global economy.

For in New Zealand today there are deepening divisions between the rich and the poor. In New Zealand unfettered free trade, supported by economic and social elites, whose employment and earnings are not affected by imports or immigration, do so very well.

And they’re having a great time of it. We have more millionaires today than ever before. The higher paid are earning more than ever before. Our richest 5% control more than ever before. Our top CEO salaries are over sixty times the average wage of our workers.

Meanwhile middle New Zealand and workers are not doing well. Ask any middle and small businessman or woman. And you know that something is dramatically askew when the most serious social condition facing the majority of New Zealanders today is that they’re “time poor”. In short, they are working harder and they are working longer just to stay in the same place.

We have got more women in New Zealand working than ever before and yet the real spending power of the average New Zealand Family has fallen dramatically in the last 15 years.

On all the big issues by which we might measure economic and social progress how are the two old parties and their alliances really different? They are not. And that is why this country needs New Zealand First. We are not bound by this collective dependence of other parties for our survival. We fight for the things we believe in regardless of how they are received by the power elites funding the old parties.

Labour has also discovered that they need New Zealand First. Over the past few weeks they have come to us seeking support for their superannuation scheme, for their health initiatives, and with their party hopping legislation.

Why do you think that National is doing such a hopeless job in the House as opposition? Apart from being leaderless and talentless, the principle reason is that they have got nothing to really disagree with, or that they didn’t start themselves or adopt from Labour. And that is why we have more PR spin merchants and lobbyists in the last ten years than all of those people in the whole history of this country before 1984. And you know sixteen years after the great experiment started they still can’t tell you why it’s not working.

In the last 15 years this country’s politics have changed dramatically. Today the power elites in New Zealand have two political parties driving the agenda. Middle and ordinary New Zealand has only one - New Zealand First. That is why this party has met with so much opposition from the establishment. For if we are to have an influence then so will ordinary New Zealanders. And a political power base out of the new establishment’s control is the last thing they want.

New Zealand First stands for one country. Many people but one country.

I have long believed in the issue of civil rights and equal legal rights for everyone. It is not immodest of me to say that we have in recent times fought more battles for New Zealanders receiving the same fair treatment under the law regardless of their background than all of the rest of the political parties put together.

Whether it was the surtax, free medical care for young children, mental health, nuclear veterans, Quality Inns Deal, the Sealords Deal, the Winebox or just this week the Willis IRD Case we have been into bat for what is right. And the media know that we have got a record to prove it.

The Willis’ are going to get compensation because this Party, when appraised of the facts late in the day - in June of last year, uniquely put its neck on the line and lodged a series of allegations with the New Zealand Police claiming IRD perjury, forgery and the misleading of both the Courts and Parliament. It is that complaint to the Police, after investigating the facts, which has revived the Willis Case .

But what of the perjurers, the liars and forgers in the IRD? What is so special about these civil servants that exempts them from prosecution in circumstances where if you tried it you would be before the courts quicker than you can say Tariana Turia.

Today in New Zealand the issue of people’s rights has got nothing to do with civil rights and everything to do with special privileges.

For New Zealand First no discrimination means just that - no discrimination. No discrimination against anyone on the basis of background, religion, gender or race. But it also means an end to preferential treatment for anyone based on background, religion, gender or race.

When we get back into power, as we will, we are going to end the negativity that condemns good New Zealanders to second class outcomes. We are going to choose people like we choose our netball and rugby teams - on merit, on ability, on their sacrifice for excellence.

In the last 15 years the two old parties have saturated this country with political correctness. Who first put the Treaty Clause in the Singapore Free Trade Agreement? National did. That is why their opposition to that clause reeked of hypocrisy. As do their protestations for the same reason on the issue of the health reforms.

In the last 15 years all sorts of ethnic institutions have started in New Zealand - many based on maintaining foreign ethnic origins. And we thought that people came to this country as they used to because they wanted to become New Zealanders.

Mr President, there is no future for New Zealand if we are to become a mangled mess of ethnic differences. We cannot be a nation at all if we are to comprise a country of “hyphenated New Zealanders” whether it be Scots-New Zealanders, Dutch-New Zealanders, Chinese-New Zealanders, Samoan-New Zealanders or, most sad of all, Maori-New Zealanders. A country of hyphenated nationalities is no nation at all.

New Zealand First believes in one country. Many different peoples making one country. Whilst we accept cultural differences and celebrate them that is a private choice and a private right and does not justify calls for state support and taxpayer largesse.


To cinderella-ise sections of our population, who happen to make up the majority, because they didn’t get here earlier enough or they are not brown enough or they are not odd enough, is a recipe for social and economic disaster.

Labour and National might change treaty and ethnic clauses and re-work the language of husband, wife and spouse, in the face of majority criticism, but they still think the same. And their influence, if allowed, will still remain malignantly the same.

I believe this issue of political correctness and racial favouritism has much more to do with people leaving New Zealand than our commentators and politicians want to admit.

If anyone doubts that go and ask half the Maori in Australia why they are living there and it becomes clear - in Australia they are equal. There they have lost their parachutes of excuse for failure and that changed attitude has given them opportunity they can’t get in their own country.

In brief they have learned in real life what our ivory tower social engineers have never learned. That a people’s progress comes as much from hard work and sacrifice as it does from any statute.

Earlier this year I criticised the calls from a number of Members of Parliament - from both sides of the House - for the establishment of tax payer supported ethnic radio stations. A National Member of Parliament, no doubt supported by her colleagues, accused me of racism. But why are we spending money on ethnic radio, the perfections of which are to be found all over the world and on the internet here when we can’t properly support our own national broadcasting system?

Today in New Zealand we are cowered from discussing any issue to do with race or, for that matter, immigration in anything other than glowing terms. Anyone wishing to call Maori elites to account to their own people is a “Maori Basher”. Anyone who questions the quality of our immigration policy is a racist.

Ladies and Gentlemen, there are two issues which will decide the 2002 Election. The first - the state of our economy and whether it is designed in the interests of New Zealanders. And second the issue of majorities who are becoming minorities in our own country. On these two issues there is only one Party with the policies, philosophy, the record, and the preparedness to make a stand.

It is great that you are all here today so that we can take a message back to our electorates around New Zealand - on what we stand for and why we uniquely of the new political parties are the only one with a future.

There has got to be one party that will stand up for our nationhood and for the real interests of productive New Zealand business and for our workers. There has got to be one party that will stand up for the sovereignty of all of us. There has got to be one party that will stand alongside New Zealanders and not see them sacrificed on the cross of globalisation. There has got to be one party with the common sense and practical policies for the economic and social improvement of New Zealanders as the first priority of Government.

There has got to be one party that believes that democracy is all about representation of the people who vote in this country, mature enough to ignore the seduction of those who think that political parties can be bought and manipulated in the interests of the few against the needs of the many.

New Zealand First is that unique party and in the next 24 months we are going to visit every part of New Zealand and so organise our political affairs with faith and commitment so that even as we leave here our opponents will know this - that two years from now New Zealand First is going to be back - much bigger and much stronger and much more committed than ever before.

And you know I think they already know it.


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