Peters: Some Real Questions That Young Voters Need to Answer
Rt Hon Winston Peters
New Zealand First Leader
5 September 2014
Friday 5 September, 12pm
Waiariki Student Union, Rotorua
Some Real Questions That Young Voters Need to Answer
Thank you for the opportunity to talk with you, and answer any questions you may have at the end of this speech.
Lots of people (older than most of you) will often tell you what it is that you’re concerned about.
That’s right. Rather than actually listening to what you’re concerned about, and what you expect from your politicians, they tell you what you should be concerned about and how they’re representing you.
How does that work exactly?
Meanwhile, after visiting universities, polytechs and wananga around New Zealand, there are certain concerns that keep popping up over and over.
• The mess and unfairness of the student loan system.
• How difficult it will be to find a job after you graduate.
• Whether, when, and how you will be able to afford a house in the future.
• The growing sense of unfairness and inequality in New Zealand’s society.
• Concerns around New Zealand’s ‘clean, green’ environment, whether that is true, and if it’s at risk.
It’s entirely possible that when you go into the ballot box in two weeks time that these will be the questions that you’re seeking answers to from the parties on the ballot form.
It might be that your decision is based on what party leader does better in the series of televised leader’s debates in the past few weeks.
Maybe you’ve got one burning issue that you’re going to vote on for the party that best represents what you think the solution should be.
Perhaps you’re voting the way your parents have voted for years – and you’re continuing on that tradition!
It may be that you’ll vote for the political party that has the best billboards, or the ‘coolest leader’ or the funniest facebook page – the reasons of how and why we vote the way we do have been a source of frustration for politicians, media and pollsters for years and shows no sign of abating!
But having been in politics for a few years, allow me to pass on a few words of wisdom:
Your vote should reflect the vision of what you want New Zealand to be.
How many of you in this room have taken out a student loan to study here?
Don’t be shy, put your hands up.
Now, how many of you have given real thought and planning on how long it will take you to pay back that loan?
For it is a loan. That means it must be
paid back even though some of your peers may have lofty
plans to head overseas, never to return and hence, think
they don’t have to pay back thousands of dollars to the
taxpayers, who after all, are you.
However, there’s no doubt that the exceptional students who study at Wairiki Institute of Technology would never, ever, entertain such an idea!
How many of us know what our situation will be like in five, ten or fifteen year’s time?
The simple answer is that we don’t.
Even the best laid plans can go astray.
So perhaps it’s time for a rethink on the way we view tertiary education?
Not just in the way it’s funded – both to the provider and to the student, but in the way it’s promoted, and seen to be the only passport to a well-paid career.
This, and many other worthy discussions, are being drowned out in this campaign by talk of ‘dirty politics’, ministerial resignations, and pre-election rigging.
You can’t have escaped all the talk of ‘dirty politics’ over the past few weeks, since Nicky Hager’s book exploded into this campaign to turn everything upside down.
The Prime Minister’s favourite go-to line is that it’s a ‘smear campaign from the left’.
When the people who are complaining are the very ones who wrote the emails, including staff from his office and his party, it doesn’t make sense.
No doubt you all have many questions about New Zealand First’s policies, the campaign or how Parliament works.
But let’s ask some questions of you first.
Do you want a New Zealand that looks after everyone, from babies to grandparents, or just a select few?
In recent years there has been a growing gap between the rich and the poor.
Do you want a New Zealand government that looks after New Zealanders first?
Do you want a New Zealand economy where workers are well paid, and full time jobs are available for those who want them, and indeed need them?
Do you want a New Zealand housing market that caters for Kiwis – not foreign investors?
For young first home buyers, this will soon become very important.
Do you want a New Zealand where a full time job should enable you to support yourself and your family – not having to rely on government handouts?
Do you want a New Zealand that supports life long learning and expanding the knowledge and skillset of New Zealanders?
Do you want an economy that makes and produces our own products from raw materials – rather than shipping them offshore in their most primitive state then buy the finished product back at a higher rate once they’ve been processed?
Do you want a New Zealand that supports and invests in all the regions and doesn’t just focus on the big cities?
Do you want a country where the government focuses on a better, cleaner democracy, or just power for power’s sake, where principles and policies don’t matter?
Well, if you said yes to those questions it means your choice on 20 September is clear – a party vote for New Zealand First!