Winston Peters: Protect and Save New Zealand Jobs
16 October 2008
An address by Rt Hon Winston Peters to Grey Power, at 2pm on 16 October 2008 at Annesbrook Community Centre, Saxon Road, Stoke, Nelson
“Protect and Save New Zealand Jobs”
There is an old military rule that you never fight a war on two fronts.
We are not at war – but we do face serious challenges on two fronts.
One challenge is economic – the other is social.
To survive the serious problems ahead we must win on both fronts.
Our first challenge is economic – the fallout from the global finance crisis.
Clearly no one can safely predict where key economic indicators are going to be on a week to week or a month to month basis.
We will leave that to the speculators, money market manipulators and foreign exchange dealers.
Nor are we interested in wallowing in gloom and doom, like some economic commentators.
But it would be foolish to ignore the volatility of the global economy brought on by the property bubble bursting.
That has taken down finance companies, slashed the equity in family homes and thousands of people, many retired, have lost their savings.
You will notice that everybody is putting forward their so-called credentials to address the economic crisis.
But none of our opponents will tell you what it really takes to save New Zealand jobs.
All New Zealanders know this country was built by immigrants.
All of us come from some place else.
Polynesian people travelled across vast distances of unknown seas to reach these shores more than a thousand years ago.
British and Europeans came from the other side of the world searching for a better life.
These peoples combined to make New Zealand one of the best places on earth.
Now it is again time to have an honest debate about immigration.
The Reserve Bank and Treasury forecasts all say unemployment is set to rise by around 100,000 jobs over the next three years.
When you translate this into household incomes – these unemployment figures affect around 250,000 people.
These are ordinary New Zealanders whose lives would be thrown into turmoil because of the downturn.
We have been through this before. Remember the 1990’s when hundreds of thousands of New Zealand jobs were lost in the name of globalisation?
We can’t let that happen again.
There was another side to the 1990s problem that nobody will front up to – immigration.
Not only were New Zealanders losing their jobs in thousands – but New Zealand was also foolishly bringing in over 50,000 immigrants a year to compete for jobs.
When our economy is expanding quickly, unemployment is low and legitimate skill and labour market shortages exist, then immigration is required to grow our economy.
But this must be based on meeting legitimate labour market shortages as part of a wider population policy.
New Zealand First is announcing today that immigration numbers will be cut to ensure Kiwis do not have to compete with immigrants for jobs as our economy goes into decline.
We repeat that – during times when New Zealanders’ jobs are at risk, immigration will be cut to ensure Kiwis do not have to compete with immigrants for jobs.
We must never return to open door immigration undermining the efforts of New Zealanders trying to find a job in tough times.
When times are tough internationally immigrants are attracted to New Zealand like moths to a neon light.
We must simply be smarter about how we do immigration.
We must have a population policy – and one in which ordinary New Zealanders can have an input.
It must be linked explicitly to labour market needs. No job – no immigrant.
We must also end the abuse of the family reunification policy – in other words only immediate family.
We must have a civics education programme that ensures all immigrants know and understand our uniquely Kiwi values and way of life.
We must also address the dysfunction within the immigration service – and the first step must be to create a stand alone Immigration department.
We must be more vigilant in addressing immigration fraud.
But the critical part of immigration policy – must be to ensure that we do not undermine New Zealand workers.
New Zealand First immigration policy is all about protecting and saving New Zealand jobs.
Thousands of local jobs have been lost through manufacturers moving their operations to China.
And then this country foolishly signed up to a free trade agreement with China.
Part of that agreement allows Chinese companies to set up here and to bring in their own labour.
It's a great idea – as long as you are not a New Zealander looking for a job, or a manufacturer trying to compete against a foreign company that has no labour laws.
We will ensure that the free trade agreement is not used as a back door device to bring in cheap labour.
Our campaign slogan this election is “Protect and Save Your New Zealand".
That includes protecting and saving our senior citizens.
Over the past three years we have:
Increased superannuation by over $70 a week for married couples and $40 for singles.
Put more than half a billion dollars extra into eldercare.
Introduced the SuperGold Card with free off-peak travel on public transport.
Gained higher subsidies for hearing aids.
Slowed Labour’s politically correct social engineering agenda.
Provided 1000 more frontline police and 250 support staff to make communities safer.
But there is a lot more to be done over the next three years.
New Zealand Superannuation is not high enough.
We know that there is an economic crisis, and we have plans to deal with that, but this does not mean some of our seniors should wallow in poverty-like conditions.
We intend to increase Superannuation to 68% of the Net Average Wage for married couples, with similar adjustments for singles.
We also want to change the rebate level for those who are non-qualified spouses to bring it into line with the widows’ benefit and raise the rebate from $80 to $100 and ensure it is indexed to the CPI.
And we must deal with the issue of overseas pensions once and for all.
While we secured a review of these and some minor changes, the reality is that the only fair and equitable solution is a 1 in 45 year formula, based on years resident in each jurisdiction.
This is the fairest method of ensuring nobody double dips.
New Zealanders who have lived and worked here all their lives are not disadvantaged, and those who have worked offshore for part of their working life get what they are entitled to.
We believe the SuperGold Card can be even better.
We will introduce a power subsidy of $300 per household with a SuperGold Card over the winter months.
While this is an additional $50 million, again the savings in health and other budgets from having warmer houses more than covers this cost.
We also want to see doctor’s visits even cheaper for our senior citizens.
While we have secured much extra needed funding into the eldercare sector there is still much more that needs to be done on this front.
Nurses working in the eldercare sector should be paid the same as those working for public hospitals and we should also pay carers more as well.
We are going to set up a New Zealand Fund to buy back strategic assets flogged off to foreign interests.
This ensures that New Zealand investors keep their money and their profits right here.
And we are going to stop the threat to New Zealand home owners and businesses from usurious interest rates.
There’s no excuse for interest rates to be more than twice the inflation rate, and credit card rates over six times the inflation rate.
New Zealanders are being screwed by foreign owned banks and finance dealers.
The profits should stay in New Zealand. We’re being kept poor by decisions made in foreign boardrooms.
And another point of great importance to you.
We are going to protect your homes and your streets by banning gangs and mounting a war against crime.
For those who want to break the crime habit we will help them with rehabilitation programmes.
The legislation is ready, we have the extra police and they will get whatever powers needed to put the criminals away - until they mend their ways or grow too old to commit crimes.
There is something else we have to raise here today.
New Zealand First has been targeted by people who don’t want us around after the next election.
People who want to sell your taxpayer funded assets.
We would stop them – it’s as simple as that.
National plans to give accident compensation to Australian insurance companies.
The deal was done months before the election but it is being sold as “giving New Zealanders a choice”.
Words to hide their real intention.
There is $2 billion a year at stake here.
It means that if you have an accident you will have to rely on an Aussie insurance company to look after you.
Another great idea! The work on this policy has been going on for months.
It is what National did the last time they were in government.
How do you think National is getting millions of dollars of campaign funds?
By being nice smiley guys?
We would never let the ACC system be hijacked.
We will not let the Australian insurance companies siphon off $2 billion from New Zealand each year.
These are the National policies that you don’t hear about.
Before the Serious Fraud Office admitted there was nothing in the yellow canary’s allegations John Key said we were guilty and ruled us out.
Just like Don Brash and his mates did in 2005.
Remember this when you vote for a new government.
New Zealand First will protect you. We will save the ACC scheme.
We will protect Kiwi jobs. We will save them from cheap, imported labour.
Vote for protection and safety,
Vote for New Zealand First.