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ACT – The Party With Policies To Bring NZ Home

“ACT – The Only Party With Policies To Bring New Zealanders Home”

Sunday 10th Dec 2000 Richard Prebble Speech -- Economy

Two hundred New Zealanders left Mangere International Airport today, for good, the equivalent of a full Boeing 767. Nothing unusual about today, the same number leave every day.

It’s the largest mass migration in our history.

The Australians are so concerned we learnt yesterday that our government is in secret discussions to limit New Zealanders rights to migrate to Australia.

New Zealanders with valuable skills will still be able to migrate. It is Labour’s own supporters who will now be unable to go to Australia.

The change represents a significant shift in the ANZAC relationship which, since the signing of CER, has been getting closer.

The Australian government has decided New Zealand is a liability not an asset. They have described our contribution in defence as “useless”.

Clearly decisions like the cancelling of ANZAC frigates, F16s, and refusing to go ahead with the Orion upgrade – decisions all important to Australia, have convinced the Australians that Labour is anti partnership and a convinced isolationist.

So the Australians are giving to most New Zealanders the isolation that Helen Clark seeks. Most Labour supporters now have no choice but to live in this country.

ACT has been told that the Australian minister gave our government a choice – free entry to Australia and our government pays Kiwi welfare costs or immigration restrictions.

If the Clark/Anderton cabinet believed their own propaganda about a growing economy, they would have honoured the spirit of CER and picked up the welfare bill.

But they, like the Australians know, the New Zealand economy is in terminal decline. If the Australians thought the New Zealand economy was going to turn around they would not be

proposing restrictions on the marginalised in an under-performing economy, the unskilled.

The agreement represents the worst foreign policy defeat of any New Zealand government and compromises years of goodwill.

As a country we are paying a high price for our Prime Minister’s practice of making cheap political points at the expense of Australian ministers – playing the man and not the ball. Clearly the Australians have had enough.

In just one week talks about welfare entitlements have escalated to a decision on residency restrictions for New Zealanders.

Last Sunday the Australian Immigration Minister Phillip Ruddock publicly raised the issue. He was greeted with a personal attack by our Prime Minister.

The real issues that Minister Ruddock attempted to raise have been ignored, dismissed or given media spin by Helen Clark.

ACT is the only Party to raise the issue in Parliament. I asked the New Zealand Immigration Minister in Parliament – “Has she seen the reported statement by Australian Immigration Minister Phillip Ruddock saying `New Zealand has to focus on what it is that has led to a very significant movement of their own people.’ Along with his intention to raise this issue with her; if so, what is her response?”

She replied – “I do not have responsibility for emigration, I look forward to discussing related matters with Mr Ruddock when we meet next year.”

So I asked her - “Has the Government considered doing what the Australian Minister suggests and finding out exactly why so many talented New Zealanders are leaving?”

And she replied - “In fact, the loss of New Zealanders is slowing. In the year to September 2000, there was a net loss of 9,528 people from long-term migration”. This compares to 10,544 in September 1999 under National.

I believe that Minister Ruddock raises a good question.

Why are so many New Zealanders leaving – as he puts it “New Zealand has seen a very significant exodus of its population.”

Why won’t the New Zealand government at least ask the question – “Why are young talented kiwis leaving?”

Let’s look at Minister Dalziel’s answer – that net migration has fallen slightly. Translate that. What our government says is there is no problem because things were worse under National and, the government is replacing those who leave with immigrants.

It’s true that the migration of New Zealanders started under National, but what the Minister did not say is that the numbers now leaving are an all time record. Some 7,545 professionally qualified New Zealanders left this year, an all time record.

So let’s look at the next reason Labour says we need not worry, increasing immigration.

Minister Ruddock says that New Zealanders immigration standards are too low. He should know. Last year 9,744 went through the back door into Australia by first getting New Zealand permanent residency. People, who the Australians say, would not have met their standards.

An analysis of the occupation of those who are coming bears this out. This year, amongst those granted permanent residency, there are two street vendors, 22 doorkeepers and 218 people who say their only skill is the ability to drive a car. If Labour Ministers took a taxi they would know there is no shortage of recent immigrants driving taxis.

Helen Clark in her attack on Minister Ruddock, makes ACT’s point. Clark says correctly, that New Zealanders in Australia are the highest paid, best educated nationality.

So we are losing some of our best and replacing them with people Australia would reject as immigrants.

If the policy remains unchanged New Zealand will end up a third world country populated by unskilled labourers and an ageing population of pensioners.

When those who are leaving attempt to say why they are going, like those featured in Richard Poole’s advertisement, our government turns it into a personal attack on Roger Kerr and the Business Roundtable. Let me say why our best and brightest are leaving.

You can earn more, much more in Australia, the UK and the USA.

My own daughter left for the UK just a year ago. She is 26. Her pay, translated into New Zealand dollars is just $8,000 less than I am receiving. Next week she has a pay review. Her partner, who is visiting in New Zealand this week, tells me that Cheryl travelled from London to Verona on Ryan Air for five pounds. A trip to Sweden was just twenty pounds. They are saving her total salary and living on his and still financing a lifestyle that sees them travelling around Europe.

So it is the lure of good pay and attractions like Verona at five pounds that is attracting talented New Zealanders.

What is driving our best away? Increasing income tax to 39 cents has sent a signal that people of ability are sheep to be shorn.

There is serious disquiet in the community over the coalition’s closing the gaps policy. For the first time we have a government judging us by something we cannot change – our race.

Labour’s public opinion polling has told them the policy is not popular. However, the policy has not been changed, just the spin. The head of the Prime Minister’s department on Thursday answered the Maori Affairs Select Committee that not one cabinet directive or budget initiatives with regard to the Closing the Gaps policy has changed. The Prime Minister just wants us to know that the policy is redistributive and the emphasis of Maori and Pacific Island New Zealanders is just part of the policy.

We are now being told that the policy is redistributive – robbing Peter to pay Paul. Most New Zealanders do not feel any better. There are few wealthy people. Redistribution means taking money from the average New Zealand family to give to the government’s favoured.

This government takes money from the 60,000 New Zealand households that qualify for a State house but cannot get one, and transferring it to the 20,000 households lucky enough to have a State house. There is nothing fair about this policy. There is nothing fair about taking money from New Zealanders who have been thrifty, gone without, delayed having a family, so they can buy a house to give to others who have refused to save, be thrifty or go without. We are asked to praise this government because a family in a million dollar State house in Epsom is $85 a week better off.

Intelligent New Zealanders know that there is no example of a closing the gaps policy anywhere even where the gaps have been closed by lifting the income of the poor. The gaps are closed by making the wealthy poor and the whole country worse off. It’s a POL POT policy.

The closing the gaps policy is worsening race relations, it is making us all poorer and is a recipe for social, racial and class divisions.

All intelligent New Zealanders can see this and it’s an unspoken reason for the migration. To be fair, this nonsense did not start under Labour.

At a recent meeting of the Maori Affairs Committee, the Alliance’s Willie Jackson asked Te Puni Kokiri CEO Dr Ngatata Love – “Did closing the gaps start under National?” “Yes” said Dr Love. “Did National set up a Maori TV station”. “”Yes”. “Did National start University quotas, the Maori Apprenticeship scheme and the like? “Yes” said the civil servant.

Mr Jackson smiled smugly as he thought he had scored a victory. All Mr Jackson has proved is that both major parties have gone off the rails.

Labour and National’s Treaty policies are identical and appear to be little more than a cargo cult benefiting lawyers and consultants. Ordinary Maori are yet to see a snapper.

ACT has been a lone voice questioning the wisdom of race based government policy.

ACT is alone in saying government should be colour-blind. Everyone should be equal before the law.

To our politically correct parliament to question policy-based on race makes you a racist. We had an academic at the Maori Affairs Select Committee who suggested that anyone who welcomed Simon Chapple’s research that shows that in the 1990s Maori income, jobs and education had risen faster than the general population is a racist. Under questioning he admitted that in the 1990s disparities had been reduced. He went further and said that policies to close the income gaps in the community were bound to fail. The only sensible policy is to lift all incomes – and he was the government’s defence witness.

Intelligent New Zealanders, seeing this government’s nonsense, are starting to doubt our country’s future.

MMP was supposed to bring us greater democracy. In some ways we have never been less democratic.

The vast majority of New Zealanders are opposed to government policies based on race, yet successive governments have had racial-based closing the gaps policies. Polls show New Zealanders do accept the settlement of genuine Treaty claims provided the settlements are fair, full and final. The settlements are open-ended, with no time limit and all National and Labour have done is set up a growing grievance industry.

Some 92% of all New Zealanders in a referendum voted to toughen up our penalties for crime. Instead the coalition has voted down truth-in-sentencing and ACT’s bill to tighten up parole. Then the government wonders why people have not taken up Jim Anderton’s call to come home. Your home has probably been burgled by the crims that Jim Anderton’s Corrections Minister Matt Robson let out early so they could get some warm milk and cuddles.

Grim as this situation is, it offers ACT our great chance. ACT is the only Party with a fresh, different vision for New Zealand.

ACT has positive proactive solutions to the issues that the other parties ignore.

Rather than closing gaps we need policies to create a bigger cake. Let’s lift everyone’s income. How?

First we need to be competitive. New Zealand is the “last bus stop on the planet”. A circle with a 1,500 km radius centred in Wellington would encompass 3.8m people and a lot of possums. The same circle centred in Dublin would capture 200m people.

An advantage New Zealand can create is low flat tax.

Hong Kong’s done it, so has Singapore. So has Ireland. Why not have a government – that is pro-business.

Margaret Wilson thinks businessmen are criminals. She must do, she wants zero tolerance policy for business. Margaret Wilson wants to send business people to jail for two years for having an accident.

The government voted this week against parolees who re-offend on parole having to complete their prison sentences. When MP Janet Mackey said, and I quote - “It’s racist. We all know who is in jail.” Yet have an accident at work – which by definition is something you did not intend – and the Justice Minister wants to fine you $500,000 and sentence you to two years jail.

The coalition tells us its now business friendly – the mind boggles at what Margaret Wilson must really want for businessmen – public flogging.

Accidents fell under the competitive ACC system. How many years should a politician get for replacing that with an accident causing State monopoly. I say that Margaret Wilson should receive a life sentence in opposition.

Coupled with tax cuts we need real welfare reform.

New Zealand now has one adult in three on welfare and that does not include people on superannuation. Our welfare system traps people into dependency.

New Zealand needs fundamental welfare reform to turn our system from a hand out to a hand up. It is a bi-partisan welfare reform policy by both Democrats and Republicans in the United

States that has seen welfare rolls slashed, employment increase and crime, child abuse and social evils like drugs decrease.

Only ACT has the political courage to promote welfare reform. One adult in three is one vote for the other parties who are too scared to even discuss the issue.

ACT will be releasing early next year a comprehensive policy to assist over 100,000 New Zealanders from welfare to work. We can do it, we must do it so that New Zealanders who genuinely need social assistance can receive the assistance they deserve.

The next election is ACT’s opportunity.

The next election will be decided in Auckland.

National does not understand this city. The Alliance support in polls in Auckland is under 1%.

ACT has always got its best vote in Auckland.

I believe a 25% vote in Auckland for ACT is an achievable aim.

Auckland identifies with ACT’s brand of freedom, choice and personal responsibility. Aucklanders have no time for this government’s politically correct, racist social policies.

ACT’s vision of a prosperous New Zealand, a rising tide that lifts all ships, is one that this city identifies with. This city has always wanted government to stick to its function and let Auckland get on with business.

ACT is the only Party with policies to attract our children home.

I want my grandchildren to be raised with kiwi accents. So ACT must, for our country’s sake – be the big winner in the next election.


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