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Winston Peters Speech: Michelle Boag, Drinking Age

( Address by Rt Hon Winston Peters MP to a Grey Power Meeting, Pakuranga Community and Cultural Centre, 13 Reeves Road, PAKURANGA, 1:30 pm)

Michelle Boag’s Candidacy

Proposed Drinking Age Changes

Before I begin my speech, I cannot let the possible election of Michelle Boag as President of the National Party go unmentioned.

I know that those in the National Party read my speeches, so I’ll give them some sound advice here and now.

Richard Prebble of all people has publically endorsed Michelle Boag - what other reason do you need not to vote for her?

It says something about the National Party of today that they could even consider voting for someone who was found to have misled a Crown Inquiry and who deliberately sought to undermine the course of justice.

Here is the woman who thought that she had the right to take the law into her own hands and use surveillance and video equipment during the Winebox inquiry, without accreditation or judicial authority.

Let me remind you she was at the time a TVNZ Board Member and a PR consultant for Faye Richwhite.

When asked during the Inquiry, and since, why she had illegally organised a non accredited TV crew to be present she gave the following explanations:

1) A historical record was being assembled

2) More particularly her clients Faye Richwhite wanted a record of the court proceedings

Both explanations were totally false and she knew it.

The truth is she actually organised an illegal surveillance camera into the Inquiry to film a particular witness whose evidence would later that night be analysed by a legal team and a psychologist so that they might have an edge over that witness the next day.

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This has never emerged publicly before but the explanation she has given to the media is an absolute lie.

She knew full well that this Inquiry always had a daily record as it had for months prior to her organising a TV crew plus the scores of lawyers working for the Winebox parties would have told her that had a record ever been at issue.

Michelle Boag has also said that she has never met Christine Judd, the new ACT Party President. She has, of course, when she briefly worked in Sir Robert Muldoon’s Office and Christine Judd was working for TVNZ. They travelled in the same circles, attended the same parties. It is only a small point but it is one that should be made nevertheless.

Third, Michelle Boag denies being financed by a small elite of New Zealand businessmen. That is also false. She knows who her backers are, she knows some of the deals they have been associated with, she knows that those deals have cost the New Zealand public and the fallout from them.

The National Party is in a sad feeble state. That once great party that once stood tall is now the Party of the brat pack, tired old ideas and political charlatans.

The Party of Holyoake, Holland and Muldoon is no more. It is now nothing more than a facade which exists as an historical accident used by certain business elites to do their bidding.

That is why Michelle Boag is standing under the slogan “stop the rot” when in fact it was her financial backers who started the rot in the first place.

The National Party is moribund - they are now fatally bereft of ideas.

They say they want to renew and “rebrand” the National Party, and they have hired a gang of smart-young-things called “Imagination Identity Consultants”.

If Bill English, Michelle Boag and “Imagination Identity Consultants” are the answer - then it must have been a pretty stupid question.

The fact that they are willing to risk everything with a precarious president in the guise of Michelle Boag, and Jenny Shipley as their leader speaks volumes.

With that out of the way I want to speak today about a problem that many in the National Party left us with.

It concerns an issue that is quickly becoming critical to New Zealand and I want to announce today an initiative that New Zealand First intends to take.

It seeks to deal with a problem caused, not surprisingly, by foolishness in Wellington.

It is now almost two years since Parliament, in a collective rush of blood to the head, voted in favour of lowering the drinking age to 18, and moving the de facto drinking age to 15.

This has got to be one of the dumbest things that has ever come out of the Wellington Establishment-and that’s saying something!

On New Year’s Eve 1997 and 1998 my home electorate saw riots of drunken louts running amok in Mount Maunganui.

Here in Auckland we have similar events almost every Friday and Saturday Night.

It is not the drinking in the pubs that is the problem. It is the young lad who is 18 years of age who has a 15-year-old girlfriend, who pulls up to the bottle store with his under age mates and their girlfriends on board.

They buy two slabs, two dozen “ready to drinks” and shoot out to drink, sometimes smoke dope and have a good time. They either get tanked up back home or in the vehicle and rarely arrive at a night-club before 10:30 pm.

The police are having to mount more and more of a presence to stop the trouble.

All over the country, in rural areas and cities alike, police are having to deal with more and more drunken teenagers, and often children as young as 11 being drunken and lawless.

It is becoming harder and harder for hoteliers to control their younger and younger patrons.

Remember the annual riots at the Mount happened BEFORE the drinking age was lowered. What was Parliament’s response? They made it easier for our youth to get drink. Remember only one person needs to buy drink for others to consume.

Parliament, with the stroke of a pen, encouraged institutionalised teen-drunkenness and last Christmas the Mount had its worst riot ever by far.

The Police are quietly being undermined by their own Minister. George Hawkins voted in favour of lowering the drinking age.

They are being forced to stay quiet while they will privately tell you that they are pulling more youth drunken out of cars and are having to deal with more fights and unrest from drunken teens.

Ambulance Drivers and hospital staff are having to deal with teenagers who are now allowed into bars and are getting into alcohol and hard drugs whilst they are there.

This is not just opinion-this is a matter of fact.

Last week New Zealand opened its first ever Alcohol dependency clinic for teenagers.

The police are against the lowering of the drinking age, the medical profession is against it, parents are against it. Even the people whom you would think have the most to gain from the new law-the hoteliers themselves are against it.

It seems that the only people in favour of the new laws are certain Members of Parliament!

The actions of the Parliament were nothing short of shameful, and it is time to say enough is enough.

It is time to stop the madness and change the drinking age laws back!

And what of government’s reaction to this trend of drunkenness amongst more and more of our young people?

Did they move to change the law back or would that be too sensible?

Well they turned 27 police into youth aid workers to process youths arrested, and made extra cellspace for 130 young offenders that the police are having to deal with.

And when all of the evidence is apparent to rational New Zealanders the Prime Minister has announced a Review of the Drinking Laws presumably to discover for the first time what we already know.

There seems to be no serious question for which this government does not have a politically correct answer.

The New Zealand First Caucus all voted against the lowering of the drinking age. The Alliance Caucus all voted for the drinking age to be lowered, and the rest of the parties voted all over the place.

Here is the list of some of those responsible; those who voted on the Third Reading of the Bill for this madness:

- John Banks

- Rod Donald

- Jonathon Hunt

- Trevor Mallard

- Richard Prebble

- Jenny Shipley

- Tony Ryall

- Bill English

- Steve Maharey

- Gerry Brownlee

- And 55 others

65 MPs voted for the Bill. I would be willing to bet that none of them would now like this to be known. They all voted for the third and final reading of the Bill - their last chance to stop this madness.

A few days ago I noticed that Tony Ryall put out a press statement in which he said that he didn’t support the lowering of the drinking age after all. That’s what an embarrassment that Bill is now - he’s like Peter denying, after the fact, that he knew Jesus.

Well I’m sorry Mr Ryall - you can’t change history. The Hansard clearly shows your name as voting for the Bill at its final reading. If he was so concerned with lowering the drinking age then why did he vote for the Bill?

I urge your members to pressure those who did vote for this madness, and reverse things before it’s too late. We in the New Zealand First Caucus certainly will be.

But we intend to go four steps further than that.

We intend to introduce legislation that will not only change the drinking age back to 20, but would introduce tougher restrictions on offenders, and allow the police greater freedom to control these youth and drunk drivers.

We intend to introduce a Member’s Bill that would firstly move the drinking laws back to what they were two years ago, and would require hotels to enforce this by the use of IDs.

We would also toughen the law so that it will be an offence to have an opened bottle or can of alcohol in any part of a vehicle except the boot. We would give Police the powers to enforce such a law.

This is what they do in parts of the United States-and it has proved an effective deterrent against some forms of drunk driving and anti-social behaviour like that which we see here in New Zealand.

It will also become an offence to consume alcohol in unapproved areas outside of bars. Currently police are unable to do anything about drinking on the streets. We would change that.

We would allow local councils the right to introduce by-laws that would ban alcohol in designated areas. Gore in Southland tried to do this last year, but were actually stopped from doing so by the Courts for being “ unreasonable and unjust”.

Well we don’t think that stopping yobbs from disturbing the peace for others is unreasonable and unjust.


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