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“Does Anyone Know What’s Happening?”

Winston Peters address to First National Real Estate Consultants at Armitage Hotel Tauranga. “Does Anyone Know What’s Happening?”

It’s sometimes interesting to listen to the radio talkback shows to find out what people think about what’s going on in New Zealand.

The politically correct say that talkback shows are for the ignorant and bigoted – but I am not so sure.

They are a good outlet for people to point out the absurdity of certain things and to express their feelings about issues that affect them.

If you’ve listened to the talkbacks in recent weeks, New Zealand has been hit by an overdose of absurdity and human nature.

We are certainly living in strange times.

They remind me of a TV show some years ago in which the late Malcolm Muggeridge was interviewed about his time as editor of the satirical Punch magazine.

Muggeridge explained that they wrote a satirical piece about an impending visit by the Soviet leader Krushev to Britain.

They had to drop the article when they found out that what they had written as a fictitious itinerary turned out to be almost the exact details of Krushev’s visit!

Punch would have a field day in New Zealand.

Only this week we learned that a swamp dwelling taniwha has stopped work on part of the Waikato expressway near Meremere.

Members of a local iwi had thoughtfully provided this information to Transit New Zealand.

One resident has pointed out that by building the road, Transit is trampling on Maori culture.

This expressway is being built to reduce the road toll and improve a notorious stretch of road.

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It appears that the authorities have been taking the wrong tack all along because local Maori have pointed out that fatal crashes on State Highway One were linked to the taniwha.

So instead of building roads, we perhaps should embark on a taniwha eradication programme. All our roads might become safer!

Some time ago the Australian authorities had a similar case. An aborigine woman objecting to a bridge said it was an area of spiritual significance so important that it could not even be mentioned.

Fortunately the day was saved by other aborigine laughing her out of court.

In yet another piece of bureaucratic nonsense in this country, the Internal Affairs Department started warning everyone last week about breaking the law over taking a flutter in a Melbourne Cup sweepstake.

With all the problems in the country you’d think that some bureaucrat would have better to do than try to spoil a bit of fun on Melbourne Cup day.

Every workplace across Australasia has traditionally held sweepstakes on Melbourne Cup day.

Just about everybody has a flutter. But under this Government fun is no laughing matter.

George Orwell could have written another book called 2002 to go along with 1984.

But instead of Big Brother we have Big Sister watching over us.

That’s the way things are going these days.

Nobody is safe. Take the new health and safety legislation.

Some bureaucrat somewhere is probably working out how to prosecute Santa Claus for causing stress to the elf workers at the North Pole in the lead up to Christmas.

Under new legislation, employers can face a fine of up to $500,000 for causing stress to workers.

Yet immigrants are setting up sweat shops here with impunity. The same legislation sets a fine of $200,000 if volunteers for an organisation get hurt in an accident.

We are living in some kind of ga-ga land.

Someone should tell these sickly, chardonnay sipping, lemon sucking liberal reformers that New Zealand is virtually run by volunteers.

The girls’ mafia that runs the country does not know that fact. Everybody else does.

This is a major problem with this government.

We have a bunch of ivory tower technocrats sitting in the Beehive working from some kind of textbook about socio-liberal reform.

This humorless bunch of do-gooders are making New Zealand the most politically correct nation on earth.

Next thing we won’t be allowed to laugh at jokes that have not been approved by the anti-fun police.

It’s a real worry!

On a more serious vein, you asked me to slant the topic of my talk to the rural industry.

In New Zealand First we have always recognised that farming is the economic backbone of the country.

No matter what some Wellington-dwelling child-economists tell you, we will always depend on what we produce or harvest from the land and the sea.

This is why we should always protect our land, restrain urban sprawl and husband our resources in the seas that surround us.

All of you associated with the land know about these things. Just about every farmer and fisherman (I mean fisherperson) knows that without proper use of natural resources, we face a very bleak future.

In New Zealand we have about four million people. Countries of a similar size like Britain and Japan have many times our number.

Some people think we should also have a much higher population.

They say that is what is wrong with us.

That we don’t have a big enough domestic market to provide a base for manufactured exports.

New Zealand First disagrees with that philosophy and we suspect that most New Zealanders, if asked, would agree with us.

We can be world beaters with four million people but only if we stick to what we do best.

We CAN and should maintain our proper place in an uncertain world in which everyone is now looking over their shoulders waiting for the next terrorist attack.

One of the biggest flaws in the policies of the present Government is the way population manipulation is being used as an economic tool.

Instead of concentrating on the basics – what we are good at - this Government is bringing in more than a thousand immigrants a week to create economic development and consumer demand.

The numbers get higher every month.

The Government cheerleaders are always claiming that immigrants bring in the skills and talents critical for economic growth

However, the simple fact is that a large proportion of migrants do not bring skills.

Many are not selected on the basis of employability or other human capacity.

Of the 55,000 who settled in the past year - a third of that total - about 17,000 people - came in under categories other than on the basis of skills – for example family ties or other reasons such as refugee status.

This is an alarming statistic.

A third of those we granted residence status did not contribute to our celebrated skill shortage

So for every two migrants who were selected on skills – and that is highly debatable - we added another migrant on some other basis

What sort of a rational immigration policy is that?

It is no reflection on those people who entered New Zealand on a basis other than their skills to ask what is happening here?

What contribution to growth are these people supposed to make?

Because the reality is that such people make an immediate demand on housing, health and other services and infrastructure.

The immigration explosion in the Auckland area is causing major problems.

The place is bursting at the seams.

When we raise these issues we are immediately accused of being racists!

In the context of economic growth it is important to realise that just having education and skills does not immediately transform a person into being part of a productive workforce.

According to the Department of Labour briefing papers, the rate at which new migrants are employed is relatively poor.

The Department describes the recent rise to a rate of 50 percent employment as an improvement. In other words 50 percent of recent migrants are unemployed!

But there is good news

We are informed that after a period of about 10 years the outcomes of new migrants begin to converge with those of New Zealand residents.

Ten years! And countless millions of dollars later – all paid for by courtesy of the long suffering taxpayer.

Those are not facts New Zealand First has invented.

They are from the official briefing papers.

The immigration boom is having a direct impact on the rural community. The Reserve Bank has lifted interest rates four times this year.

The pressure of immigration is one of the major factors behind these interest rate rises.

Check the Governor’s statements on the website.

There is another, more sinister aspect of this immigration debacle and that is New Zealand’s border security is so lax that we possibly have terrorists in our country right now.

The New Zealand Immigration Service does not carry out rigorous checks.

All types of people are getting into the country through our open door policy.

Australia is very firm in the way it deals with asylum seekers and so-called refugees.

It keeps them detained until they are checked out.

That is why the Tampa boatpeople were not allowed in.

Australia knew that if it allowed anyone from the Tampa to step on Australian soil, there would have been an invasion of boatpeople.

What did our government do? Take in 150 of them.

It has since transpired that only seven of 292 Afghans off the Tampa were genuine refugees. This information came from the United Nations Commissioner for Refugees.

So who have we brought into the country? Will we ever know?

This situation is intolerable.

The safety of New Zealanders should be the first priority of any government – yet Labour places our security well behind its programme of political and ethnic engineering.

Labour unashamedly targets the ethnic communities for votes. One of the MPs confirmed this in her local newspaper just after the election. The MP was Anne Hartley.

The Immigration Service is one of the more dysfunctional arms of bureaucracy. The Immigration Service estimates there are 1759 asylum seekers who are still in New Zealand illegally.

Let me repeat that. There are 1,759 asylum seekers who are still in New Zealand illegally. That’s on top of the thousands of overstayers.

How can you lose 1,759 illegal asylum seekers? Surely they can be checked through the welfare system because you can bet your bottom dollar they will be getting paid a benefit.

Who are these people? Is there a terrorist amongst them?

The Bali bombings were very close to home.

No matter what sort of spin the Government tries to put on this immigration debacle, its lack of border control and security is placing every New Zealander at risk.

New Zealand First does not want to be proved right over this serious issue. We don’t want it to be swept under the carpet.

The security and safety of New Zealanders is at stake.

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