Gordon Campbell | Parliament TV | Parliament Today | Video | Questions Of the Day | Search


Peters' Great Lakes Party Conference Speech



Great Lake Centre, Story Place, Taupo Sunday, 31 October 2004 at 1.15pm

“Election 2005 – The Real Campaigners Are Coming”

Mr Chairman, delegates, ladies and gentlemen.

This weekend will be remembered for providing the launching platform to our election success in 2005 and you will be the people who will make it happen.

At the outset we gratefully acknowledge all who work for New Zealand First – all those who unselfishly give their time and talent to support this great endeavour.

You can take credit for what New Zealand First has achieved.

Our thanks go to each and every one of you, party members, Members of Parliament and the wider team who support them in Wellington and in the electorates.

Be proud of what we have accomplished as a party and be ambitious for what we can do in the future.

As someone famous once said “you aint seen nothing yet!”

In looking back over the past year we can say that only New Zealand First has raised the real issues that concern all New Zealanders.

We have challenged government complacency and incompetence and we have offered constructive alternatives to the prevailing wisdom – or lack of it - as the case may be.

On the foreshore and seabed, immigration, law and order and other issues critical to the future of New Zealand, New Zealand First has provided the only clear and realistic path forward.

Today let’s look at the political landscape we face in the approach to the election and point to key areas where we offer radically different policies to meet the challenges facing our country.

But before doing that it is important to reflect on why New Zealand First is so essential for New Zealand.

During the week a hearing was held in Auckland to determine whether two Muslim women have to remove their burqas – their veils - in an upcoming fraud case.

One of them said she would rather kill herself than reveal her face while giving evidence. But she was unveiled to get a drivers’ licence.

New Zealand First has a simple message.

If you do not like our laws, there are thousands of Kiwis who will willingly take you to the airport – pay your departure tax – and buy you a ticket to the Islamic paradise of your choice.

New Zealanders are sick and tired of having people coming to live here who have no intention of following our laws, customs and traditions – and demand that WE change.

We have to make all the concessions for them.

It is typical of the politically correct nonsense that infects our public institutions.

The veil wearers should be told in no uncertain terms how the justice system is in New Zealand.

If they prefer veiled faces, stoning – beheading – hand removal then there are countries where these practices prevail.

Let’s look at yet another case of immigration madness.

On Thursday the front page of the Dominion had a feature story entitled:

‘Migrant’s despair as officials call for new medical tests’

The story is that a Somali immigrant – herself a sickness beneficiary - is having difficulty getting 14 family members into New Zealand.

Oh dear!

Let us be clear - we are not picking on this woman.

We are not blaming her.

What we are pointing to is the madness that surrounds immigration policy.

Once again it is New Zealand that is to blame.

We are in the dock because officials are demanding DNA evidence of a family connection between the 14.

Whether she can ‘prove’ these people are related is not the real issue.

The real issue is the burden placed on New Zealand because we have such loose family reunification rules.

By allowing family reunification as a back door into New Zealand, the Government has no idea of how big the pool of refugees actually is.

The Government claims it is only letting in 750 refugees a year.

But if each of those people in turn creates a liability for another 20 – and with extended families that is easily done – the true number is really 15,000! This is not a sane immigration policy – it is bailing out the ocean!


So the sorry fact of life is that ordinary people are caught between the sorry extremes of the two old parties.

Minnie Mouse Labour and Mickey Mouse National

One prediction can be made with certainty about the next election and that is New Zealanders will not give Labour anything like a parliamentary majority.

And for many good reasons such as the immigration nonsense I have just outlined.

Labour can’t be trusted with a monopoly of power and this has been proved over and over again.

At times they look and sound like National in drag.

Labour is a party of gender bending control freaks.

They have a deep rooted authoritarian “we know best” streak that New Zealanders view with distrust.

Labour Party ministers are all too eager to lay down the law on areas where they are singularly unqualified such as what constitutes marriage – child rearing – and how we should all live.

Typically, their views conform to the prevailing dictates of political correctness and lack of common sense.

Instinctively Labour considers it has the divine right to interfere and control the lives of ordinary people.

This tendency to patronise people they deem innately inferior is one of the less attractive features of Labour’s so-called elite.

When the voters survey the political landscape at the next election they will be in the market for what New Zealand First offers.

We are an insurance policy against the control freaks of Labour and the Piltdown politicians of National.


The National Party has been left with so many political dinosaurs that their caucus room looks like Jurassic Park.

It is finally dawning on the boys in the backroom who run the National Party that they are in a deep hole, and are threatened with extinction – just like the diplodocus which you remember had a huge body, long neck and very little brain.

The head dinosaur – or “donosaur” – as we shall call him, is an amateur politician driving around with his “L” plates on.

He even makes Gerry Brownlee and Jenny Shipley look good and that’s not easy!

After buying a new leader based purely on his CV as a central banker, National are now trying to come to terms with the disappointment he has turned out to be.

They thought they were getting a BMW – what they got was a Jap import with the clock wound back a few hundred thousand Ks.

And you thought odometer tampering was illegal!

His presence at the helm has not averted what looks like impending electoral doom for National.

The truth of the matter is that National is a spent force offering a stone age philosophy of market economics and Maori bashing. Their only policy positions that make any sense are those that have been lifted, unacknowledged, straight from New Zealand First’s website!

Short of a miracle, National faces a humiliating defeat in 2005.

New Zealanders are simply not interested in returning to the failed far right policies that Don Brash proposes.

They know that National has no concern for ordinary New Zealanders but is in the pocket of big business.

What has National said about the insider trading case involving New Zealand Rail? Not a mutter, not a murmur, not a whisper, not a sound or syllable.


New Zealanders know that a strong New Zealand First is needed to temper the ideological extremism that lurks in both National and Labour.

They know that we will keep them honest.

Key Issues

As a country, we face two challenges of critical importance to our future.

Race relations and the economy.

Race Relations

The greatest tragedy for New Zealand would be for our future to be blighted by racial discord and division.

In the area of race relations, only New Zealand First offers a clear and coherent policy to promote a harmonious and fair society.

We reflect it and live it.

The Treaty of Waitangi is an historical document about citizenship.

It was meant to bind New Zealanders under one rule of law – instead it has become a source of division that threatens to generate racial strife for generations to come.

Most people accept there is a need to address cases relating to outstanding Maori property rights.

These rights were guaranteed to all citizens by the Treaty.

However, the Treaty should not be about forcing a contrived and re-invented Maori culture down the throats of all New Zealanders.

Through a process of distortion and misrepresentation the Treaty has degenerated into a source of separatism, cultural safety and mysticism.

A pervasive new ethos has been allowed to infect central and local government.

It happened because successive Labour and National governments have been inserting Treaty of Waitangi ‘principles’ in legislation since 1986 without ever knowing or defining what these principles mean.

Both Maori and non-Maori have had enough of the leech that the Treaty Industry, under the old parties, has become.

The Waitangi Tribunal in its present form is part of the Treaty industry and no longer in touch with its basic function of dealing in facts.

New Zealand First’s Treaty of Waitangi policy offers a practical solution to ending the grievance industry but safeguarding genuine claims.

We will remove so called Treaty “principles” from all legislation and the Tribunal will be replaced with a Waitangi Commission that refocuses on the original intent of establishing the factual basis of historical claims and making recommendations for speedy resolution.

At the next election voters will have a choice of uniting as one nation or continuing down the present path of racial separatism.

Because, a vote for New Zealand First will be an unambiguous vote to end the Treaty grievance industry.

The Economy

In their separate ways both National and Labour display an alarming complacency over the state of the economy.

Labour endlessly boasts about its supposed success on the economy while National says conditions are so benign that the Government’s economic management is no longer an election issue.

Well excuse me!

Have you wondered lately why this supposedly strong economy is not making things better for you.

It’s not your imagination. The government, aided and abetted by the financial journalists and economic gurus are deceiving you.

Let us look at some facts.

Slide 1 – Economic Realty Check

Slide 2 - Comparative GDP per capita with Australia

As you can see New Zealand now sits in 25th place on Gross Domestic Product compared to Australia’s 11th place. In the 1950s we were ahead of Australia and consistently among the top five nations.

But it gets worse.

If you deduct from our GDP the amount that is paid in interest and dividends to overseas investors, that’s around $10 billion annually, and then measure our true wealth per New Zealander, it gets even scarier.

Slide 3- Wealth per capita

In wealth per capita terms we now rank 37th internationally compared to Australia’s 14th.

Both countries are losing money from their economies to overseas investors, but it is far worse in New Zealand.

Slide 4 - Australia-New Zealand Income Gap

What this means is we are also getting lower wages.

Slide 5 – Wages

Australians now on average get $123 a week more than New Zealanders for doing the same job – and the Aussies work much shorter hours for it.

New Zealanders work longer hours per week than any other people in the OECD – except Japan – we’re running flat out to stand still, and we have become time poor.

So while we are just as productive, we are not getting the rewards. The real rewards are going to overseas investors.

They get rich while we increase debt levels.

How do we cope with this?

Well the simple answer is that for too many years now we have borrowed too much to try and keep afloat.

Slide 6 –Level of indebtedness

The result is that both as a nation and in our individual households we now owe huge amounts of money overseas.

Does anyone’s head hurt yet?

Because to add to our woes, we have the largest ever balance of payments crisis in our history.

Slide 7 – Current Account Deficit

Our export earnings simply aren’t keeping pace with our spending on imports.

Compounding the impact of this debt, we also have the highest interest rates in the developed world.

Slide 8 - interest rate figures

So not only is this government forcing you further into debt, its voodoo policies are also increasing interest rates. Our exports are not keeping up with imports and our high interest rates mean that our dollar is over valued so we get less as a result.

Slide 9 – Exchange Rates

Now, the good news. These problems need not be terminal if they are confronted now. New Zealand First has a long term plan to deal with this crisis.

We have a detailed plan for buying back the family silver at the next election.

This does not take the form of a crude take over of foreign owned assets.

Overseas owners need have no fear their assets will be stolen.

But we will be putting international investors on notice that New Zealand is done with selling its prime assets at give away prices.

We will put an end to the notion that New Zealand is a soft touch – easy pickings – and a place to loot!

New Zealand has been exporting jobs and importing people. No other nation does that.

Unlike National and Labour, we are not into fawning adulation of all things foreign.

We will welcome real investment that results in new productive assets and capacity and more jobs but simply swapping a New Zealand owner for foreign control gains us nothing and costs us everything!

We will not allow control of our key assets and infrastructure to lie in the board rooms of London, New York, Geneva or Tokyo.

A major mechanism will be to ensure that the superannuation fund that we helped establish focuses on rebuilding the New Zealand owned stake in key industries and infrastructure.

We are committed to reversing the loss of existing assets into foreign ownership and we will ensure that New Zealand retains a strategic stake in core assets.

For the sake of future generations, we cannot continue this policy of allowing our best assets to pass into foreign hands and stay there.

Both National and Labour are guilty of flogging off the best parts of New Zealand.

New Zealand First stands apart – we say New Zealanders must own their own country.

2005 will be a year of truth.

And unlike National we will be carefully scrutinising the government’s economic policy.

The outlook for 2005 is not bright.

The sharp rise in the price of oil is certainly going to have an adverse impact on economic growth internationally.

When that happens, more people will accept the so-called boom is really a facade.

If things turn ugly on the economic front the board rooms of New York, Sydney and London will not give a damn about our fate!

The state of the economy is such that:

we can’t afford a proper defence force;

we cant afford an adequate police force;

if you dial 111 the police send a taxi;

we have longer hospital waiting lists than in 1999;

sickness benefit numbers have soared;

planeloads of patients travel to Australia for cancer treatment;

our roading and infrastructure is neglected;

parents are paying twice for state education;

student debt has become a scandal;

pensions have fallen below the level many retired can live on.

And this has happened under the highest collection of taxes in living memory. Conclusion

There is still a lot of water to go under the bridge between now and the election.

There will be surprises – unforeseen events – even some fireworks.

But whatever occurs between now and the election one thing is certain.

New Zealand First is going to stun its critics again!

We are sounding a warning here for Labour and National.

There is going to be a REAL election campaign next year. A REAL election campaign.

Look at the United States and Australia. Look at Kerry and Bush – Howard and Latham.

There, political leaders are out on the hustings – four to six public meetings a day.

There, they know that politics is about people.

We challenge Helen Clark and Don Brash to come out into the open where you can see the whites of their eyes.

No more hiding in a room at Parliament waiting for a stage managed event or a photo opportunity.

Come out with us on to the streets, the halls, and the sports grounds.

Why are Labour and National so scared to front up?

It is because their leadership image is built by spin doctors, media minders and marketing gurus.

Real people know you can’t hide weak leadership behind a slogan – AND WE ARE NOT GOING TO LET THEM.

People are looking for that rare commodity in politics - common sense and strong leadership.

They get both from New Zealand First.

People know that we are beholden to no one.

We are not in the pocket of big business, the unions or any other special interest group.

Unlike other parties, a vote for New Zealand First is not a vote for Labour or National.

It is a vote for New Zealand First.

We make no apologies for setting our own agenda and that is to restore this country to its former greatness.

To recreate a society that values each and every person.

Where we can pay our way and leave a prosperous, unspoilt nation for our children and their children.

2005 will be remembered as the year that New Zealanders took the ownership of their country back.

And you and New Zealand First will be remembered as the party that made it all happen.


© Scoop Media

Parliament Headlines | Politics Headlines | Regional Headlines

Gordon Campbell: On The Australian Election Toss-up

The foibles of the Aussie electoral system are pretty well-known. The Lucky Country doesn’t have proportional representation. Voting for everyone over 18 is compulsory, but within a preferential system. This means that in the relatively few key seats that decide the final result, it can be the voters’ second, third or fourth ranking preferences that finally get the winner over the 50% line...


Budget: Climate Investments Provide Path To Economic Security
The Government is investing in New Zealand’s economic security by ensuring climate change funding moves away from short-term piecemeal responses and towards smart, long-term investment... More>>


Budget: Updated My Vaccine Pass For Those Who Want It

New Zealanders who are up-to-date with their COVID-19 vaccinations will be able to download an updated My Vaccine Pass from 24 May, COVID-19 Response Minister Chris Hipkins said today... More>>

Speaker: 2022 Register Of Pecuniary And Other Specified Interests Presented
The 2022 Register of Pecuniary and Other Specified Interests of Members of Parliament was presented in the House today. It contains a summary of members’ interests as at 31 January 2022... More>>

Classification Office: Following Decision To Ban Manifesto The Buffalo Mass Shooting Livestream Is Now Banned
The livestream video of yesterday’s mass shooting in the United States has now been banned, Acting Chief Censor Rupert Ablett-Hampson announced this morning. The decision follows on from his decision yesterday to call in and ban the ‘manifesto... More>>

Borders: New Zealand Poised To Welcome International Students Back
New Zealand is fully reopening to international students and the Government is committed to help reinvigorate and strengthen the sector, Education Minister Chris Hipkins said today... More>>

Inland Revenue: Commissioner Appointed
Deputy Public Service Commissioner Helene Quilter QSO has today announced the appointment of Peter Mersi to the position of Commissioner and Chief Executive, Inland Revenue Department... More>>




InfoPages News Channels