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Peters: The Party With The Policies

An address by Rt Hon Winston Peters to a public meeting Kingsgate Hotel, 9 Riverside Drive, Whangarei, Northland at 1.30pm Sunday 19 October 2008

“The Party With The Policies”

It is interesting that three weeks out from the election, New Zealand First’s policies are already being set in place for the next three years.

That is the only conclusion which can be drawn from the adoption of our major policies by both Labour and National.

They should be giving credit where it’s due.

This week National announced they would direct the New Zealand Super Fund to invest at least 40 percent of its funds in New Zealand infrastructure. That imitates a longstanding New Zealand First policy in place since the fund was started.

On Monday, Labour announced a universal student allowance scheme – another longstanding New Zealand First policy.

A week ago, Labour announced an insurance scheme for deposits in our financial institutions. We have been advocating this for months.

Both parties now want to ban criminal gangs. This is yet another New Zealand First policy.

New Zealand First has always had policies that are aimed at growing our economy, investing in our future and protecting our communities.

It has taken international financial uncertainty for Labour and National to see the importance of such policies.

We look forward to them now adopting more New Zealand First ideas – like a reduction in GST, a tax-free threshold on the first $100 of income per week and a re-write of the Reserve Bank Act to benefit our exporters and to save businesses and home owners.

Exorbitant interest rates are destroying small businesses and threatening home ownership.

That is why we must rewrite the Reserve Bank Act.

That is a bottom line for us.

We won’t stand by and let people lose their homes purely because of blind ideology.

If anyone wants to know which policy the two major parties might announce next, just read our policy manifesto!

We also hear that negotiations between John Key and Pita Sharples had a bit of a bump, but are still ongoing.

Pita should have handled enough eels in his time to know how to deal with National.

Mind you the Maori Party have been a bit naïve over a few things recently.

That is why the only real choice for Maori for their party vote this election is New Zealand First.

You see if you give your party vote to the Maori party – it is wasted vote.

Why? Well if the Maori party are chasing the Maori seats – then a party vote for them will mean exactly the same number of seats.

But no matter who Maori give their electorate vote to – a party vote for New Zealand First means more Maori in Parliament.

Just look at our list. We have double the number of Maori than Labour in our top twenty.

We are just a better choice for Maori and for all New Zealanders.

Today we want to look at some of the broader reasons that make New Zealand First the smart choice in the 2008 election.

We speak for New Zealand.

For us, the interests of New Zealanders come first – with no ifs, buts or maybes.

We want to own our own country.

We will continue to warn of the dire consequences of growing foreign ownership.

It is astonishing that no other political party takes that stand.

We stand for the interests of New Zealanders as a whole – not some small segment of society.

Our policies will always start and end with the national interest.

Last week we announced that our immigration policy must take into account a massive rise in unemployment and that we must protect and save New Zealand jobs.

Put simply if a New Zealander loses their job – they should not have to compete for a new job with somebody who is not even in the country yet.

That is un-New Zealand.

All the other political parties turn the other way when it comes to immigration, because it is just too tough for them.

But we put New Zealanders first – longstanding or newly arrived.

Because that is the only perspective that will serve New Zealand as a whole.

Unlike Labour and National we are a party with 15 founding principles which we stick to.

No matter how they dress it up, or package it, with Labour and National you always get a smorgasbord menu.

What does that mean in practical terms?

Well it makes a lot of difference - because principles based parties look at any given situation through experience.

They bring a principled view to their approach to problems – because principles are immutable - they are like the stars – you can’t touch them but how they light up the pathway.

In contrast, New Zealand First has the freedom to come to issues with an open mind and that leaves us free to adopt new solutions based on tried and true principles that actually work.

Last Thursday surveying the coming carnage of unemployment I made a speech on immigration and it’s potential to destruct job security for hundreds of thousands of New Zealanders.

Even the June Reserve Bank forecast pointed to this dramatic added New Zealand unemployment.

I was warning of how rampant immigration would worsen the opportunity for New Zealanders to both remain employed or seek replacement employment.

Typically the commentators said I was playing the race card again. Really.

Planned low immigration is one of our founding principles of over 15 years ago.

Who is being consistent here? We’ve never changed our view.

Now compare that with the 2 old parties who’ve flipped flopped backwards and forwards over this issue every 3 years for the last 15 years.

So let's cut out this hypocrisy.

With National, ‘gone by lunchtime’ only means it will be changed by tea time.

We are an MMP Party and we are an effective policy force – we deliver.

We make no bones about it.

New Zealand First is not an encounter group – a coffee circle or a social club.

We are in politics to make a difference.

So we are not obsessed with preaching to the converted.

To be an effective political force three things are needed - focus – teamwork – and intention.

We have all three – so we can deliver.

And we have delivered a remarkable set of achievements in the present parliament including:

 Increases in the basic rate of superannuation
 A massive injection of funding for elder care
 The SuperGold Card
 An increase in the minimum wage
 1000 more police

For the size of our Parliamentary team we have been highly effective in making MMP work for New Zealanders as a whole.

And we will work constructively in the interests of all New Zealanders with the party you tell us to.

We are prepared for trouble ahead.

You do not need to be psychic to foresee that New Zealand is in for turbulent times.

The imbalances in the international economy and the consequences of the bad loans crisis will probably take years to work themselves out.

Our economy is in for a real buffeting –and certainly we face a much greater level of volatility than ever.

Keeping the economy on an even keel is going to get a whole lot trickier.

In case no one has noticed New Zealand happens to be the most isolated developed country in the world.

This is not a time for a government to be learning on the job.

Careful and deliberate policy making will be crucial.

But there is a touch of the naive about many of the ideas that National is offering as solutions to the country's problems.
Their talk is all about cutting taxes, reducing spending and demonising the public service.
But hold on!
Their social welfare spokesperson has said that frontline Work and Income staff will be increased to deal with the expected rise in unemployment.
It’s not much of a solution is it?
Their answer is to increase the length of the dole queues.
It all looks depressingly familiar – it is straight out of National’s 1990’s song book.
But in hard times the last thing New Zealand needs is an outbreak of National’s scorched earth policies in the public sector

The fact is that ordinary New Zealanders are not hanging out for a return to the disastrous free market nonsense of the eighties and nineties.
NZ First has a set of clear and explicit stands in all the main policy areas
You will not hear us going around trying to mesmerise people by the rhetoric of change
Change may seem like an innocuous term – but in the past it has ushered in real pain and hardship for many New Zealanders
We know about this because that is why New Zealand First was formed to counter the social carnage brought by both the two old parties.

New Zealand’s senior citizens have a particular reason to vote for us.

We all know that getting old is a fact for life

It is an inconvenient truth that all of us hope to be counted among the elderly

So we all have a stake in seeing that the elderly are well respected and supported

Because the bad news is this – no other group in society is as vulnerable:

 No other group is more exposed to the ravages of inflation eroding their living standards

 No group is more at the risk of being marginalised

 No group relies more on government policy to ensure that the levels of income support remain fair and adequate

New Zealand First has a proven record of delivering tangible improvements for our senior citizens

Our pledge to senior citizens is this:

 As we have done during this Parliament we will ensure the level of superannuation is regularly updated to safeguard its real value

 We will continue to build on the initiatives we have taken for the elderly such as the SuperGold Card – to enhance their value

 We will bring power subsidies in winter

 We will guard your interests like fierce watchdogs.

You deserve competent government.
You deserve a government that knows where it is going – that has a long-term strategy – a vision of where it wants to take the country.
In our view, the great majority of New Zealanders have no appetite for a radical lurch in a free market direction.

Nor do they want a government with a social agenda that changes traditional values .

The truth is New Zealand cannot afford a National or Labour Party government that has unbridled power.

In the case of National, a combination of inexperience and arrogance could prove to be fatal for us.

And that is why your vote is important.

Because whether it falls to Labour or National to form the next government the worse case scenario for New Zealand is if either of them were to govern unchecked

Such an outcome would be a black day for New Zealand. And that is why it is vital that there is a strong New Zealand First presence is the next parliament.

You need someone to protect you and save your country.

That is our job. And we take it very seriously.


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