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Peters: The Great Pretenders

Media Release

An address by Rt Hon Winston Peters to the Tauranga Red Square Rally, Red Square - Mid City Mall, Tauranga, Thursday 15 September, 12.00pm


I have been privileged to have served the people of Tauranga and Mount Maunganui for the past 21 years.

It is not a task I have taken lightly, and I have never taken your support for granted.

I made a promise 21 years ago that no major social or economic decisions would be made in parliament without they first ask – what do the people of Tauranga think?

I have always honoured that promise and again make it to you today.

Recently, they have begun telling me I have a fight on my hands – that there is a contender.

Well this election has thrown up a number of contenders – but in Tauranga – the National party has put forward a great pretender.

You see here in Tauranga, it is clear that National’s candidate thought he could buy this election.

He has not fronted up to candidate debates – not once – to actually debate me.

I do not think Tauranga wants to send an absentee to parliament.

You see the interesting thing about the events which unfolded this week is that the woman at the centre of these allegations is a Labour voter.

She was slandered by the National candidate in 2002 and she has been slandered by him again.

There are laws on candidate expenditure and the National Party knows it and how serious they are.

He brought parts of his anatomy into this debate, and is now upset when the public cries indecent exposure.
Tauranga deserves better – and has received much better over the past 21 years.

So what can the people of Tauranga and Mt Maunganui expect from me going forward?

Well I have four priorities for this region and I will be fighting to ensure they come to fruition.

The first is to ensure that the Harbour Link gets built without tolls.

This is both possible and the best solution.

No other party can deliver this option because they have spent the bank on other promises.

But we will make it a priority in any negotiations we undertake.

I will continue to be the independent voice for Tauranga – free from the shackles of the two tired old parties – and this is your best prospect for getting this vital piece of infrastructure built.

I will also be ensuring that our elder care sector gets adequate funding.

This is a sector in crisis, which has been run into the ground by the Labour Government.

This has impacted on those within this sector in Tauranga, and this region.

Nationwide it has seen dozens of care facilities close their doors or be taken over by foreign investors.

With an ageing population this is worse than the benign neglect which has been occurring – and is actually state sponsored elder abuse.

In the short term this sector requires a massive injection of funding – both to make up for the historical shortfall, and to put the sector into a position for forward planning.

They can actually only do this if they know their funding is sufficient and secure.

They must also ensure that funding is ring fenced for those working in the sector – particularly the nurses and carers.

Many of these workers are paid less than $10.00 an hour.

It is a disgrace – and affects both the standard of care and staff retention in the sector.

Most importantly we must start solid planning for the future.

We know there is an ageing population and the best way to cope with it is to plan now – to put into place the necessary building blocks for the future.

Our third priority for this region is our police numbers.
The wider Bay of Plenty region is around 100 officers short of police to population ratios of similar regions in Australia, Britain, Canada and the US.

We need more police on our streets.

Nationwide New Zealand First is fighting for 1,000 extra front line police per year for the next five years.

In this region that will mean the extra 100 police that will put us on par with ratios in other developed nations, will be delivered.

But more importantly, we will have a dedicated drug squad here in this region – something that should have been in place years ago. Tauranga is a major port of entry for imports and so we must be ever vigilant.

We want to have our homes and our businesses safe and secure.

The people of Tauranga have the right to go about their buiness without fear of the horrors of crime being visited upon them, their families, or friends.

Our final priority for this region relates to growing our already impressive export potential.

This requires a number of steps.

We must ensure that business tax is lowered to 30% immediately – not in three years time.

And we must tax all new export earnings at just 20%.

This ensures the incentives are in the right places.

We must reduce the red tape and compliance costs for business.

To improve productivity we will provide tax incentives for the uptake of research and development.

And we want a comprehensive export plan – one which is research based and has concrete mechanisms and programmes in place to assist our exporters.

We must also place our interest rates and dollar on a downward pathway – rather than resigning ourselves to high interest rates and a high dollar.

Those are our four priorities for this region.

Ask yourselves, who in this election campaign for Tauranga is the real contender and who is just the pretender.

This façade of pretence by National and Labour is equally valid at a nationwide level.

The National leader has bumbled from one embarrassment to another, while the Labour leader has allowed hubris and a lack of vision to stifle her campaign.

Both are pretenders to a throne, with most of the population not wanting either of them there.
Both tired old parties have engaged in an irresponsible game of let’s spend the lot on those we think will vote for us and forget the rest of them. Labour’s student policy is now exposed – and others are asking will National really reduce taxes as promised. Either way, they need to be kept honest.

There are clear losers from this approach which is why we have taken the prudent approach.

We have five priorities nationwide – many of which are aimed at those the two tired old parties have forgotten in their myopic bidding war.

Our seniors policy will ensure that they will not have to carry the burden of Labour and National’s irresponsible spending promises.

We will ensure they can live in dignity with our Golden Age Card.

Our immigration policy will ensure that our borders are secure, while those we need are allowed in.

We will fight for a system which values our citizenship and ensures immigration is in New Zealand’s interests.

Our law and order policy will see more police focused on solving crime and not issuing traffic tickets.

We will ensure that the book on justice is rewritten so that it is criminals not victims that fear the system.

Our Treaty policy is the only authentic policy on offer to New Zealanders.

We are the only party which understands the integral part Maori culture plays in our society, without pandering to the politically correct mindset of special treatment which underpins the Treaty gravy train at present.

We want to see an end to government services of any kind based on race and the token gestures which exist within the public service – but we also want to see Maori culture and language protected and able to flourish in a deserving manner.

We also believe that the Waitangi Tribunal must be depoliticised and refocused as a genuine commission of inquiry to speed up and resolve legitimate historical grievances.

Our economic plan is the only plan designed to actually lift New Zealand wages.

In conjunction with lower business tax – we want to see the minimum wage lifted to $12 an hour.

We want to drive wages up – not keep them suppressed.

This is why we wish to focus on growing export earnings and ensuring our assets and our land are in New Zealand hands.

These actually help grow our wages and income – rather than making foreign investors rich off our hard work and innovation.

Focusing solely on tax verses welfare does not actually help grow wage rates.
That is why we are a clear third alternative in this debate – whether the media recognise it or not.

We tried to make this campaign about the policies.

Others chose to make it about other issues – trying to orchestrate post-election permutations before the voters had even had their say.

We will be staying out of coalition with both Labour and National.

But we will be there in strength to keep them honest and to fight for our policies.

Whoever the government is, following the election, they will need us – just like they did over the seabed and foreshore and the Cullen Super fund.

In fact they will need us more than ever.
We will have a strong influence and we will protect New Zealand from the political extremes which plague our system.

The government will be able to govern – but we will not be lapdogs or a poodle party.

In the last parliamentary term how ineffective these types of parties were.

So in the final days of this campaign the people of Tauranga and New Zealand must decide who the real contenders are and who are the great pretenders.

I will finish on this note.

I have never pretended to be anything in my life.

I have always fought on the front foot – both for Tauranga and the interests of all New Zealanders.

Return me to parliament and you will never see me run and hide.

You will never see me shy away from the tough questions and the big debates.

You will never be in doubt as to what I think, or how strongly I feel about things.

And you can always count on me to be fighting for Tauranga’s best interests.

So I say to the people of Tauranga – re-elect me and I will continue to fight.

I will continue to be your voice and your advocate.

I seek your vote to continue the honour you first bestowed on me 21 years ago – the honour of being the Member of Parliament for Tauranga.

I am committing today for three more years of service on your behalf.


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