The only one denying you the right to vote is you
Rt Hon Winston Peters
New Zealand First Leader
Member of Parliament for Northland
10 AUGUST 2016
Speech by New Zealand First Leader and Northland MP Rt Hon Winston Peters
Introduction to NZ government and policy class
Wednesday, 10th August, 2016
“The only one denying you the right to vote is you”
Thank you for the opportunity to speak to you this morning.
Next year we will have a General Election and you will be given the choice of supporting the candidate and party you think best represents you.
People will be telling you how you should vote, including those of us who are aligned to particular political parties.
But we’re here today to talk briefly about your vote and New Zealand First.
We are not a party obsessed with ideology – our policies are reality based.
We are not beholden – constrained or limited by a whole range of pre-existing positions or in serving particular interest groups.
This gives us a unique advantage – we can look at the facts and together work for what is in the best interests of ordinary Kiwis and New Zealand as a whole.
New Zealand First stands absolutely for a society based on merit and equal opportunity for all.
And we do not take our identity or social cohesion as a society for granted.
This is particularly important given the large scale demographic changes that have been foisted upon us so carelessly by other political parties.
And the change they have brought about was never as a result of consultation with the New Zealand people.
There are parties in Parliament today belatedly expressing their concern about the adverse effects of mass immigration numbers on New Zealand’s economic and social health.
Some of these parties were entirely responsible for this because not so long ago they all thought this was a thoroughly good idea.
If anyone opposed their view they were immediately accused of being racist and xenophobic.
Let me share with you some comments New Zealand First received from a Chinese real estate agent in Auckland last week. The agent said:
1. “A large number of Chinese investment property owners, especially those purchased before the IRD registration rule was imposed, do not pay tax. They advertise privately through Chinese medium or among their own social circles. Our IRD, he said, is doing nothing.” And this agent said:
2. “The vast majority of foreigners are buying properties/land with capital gains as their primary concern; they are pure speculators. In the event of a downward property trend, they will be selling out in bulk and abandoning the New Zealand market.” And the agent also said:
3. “Auckland is quickly developing into a Chinese ghetto with ugly, cheap signages at every corner of the central suburbs. It is not the Auckland my family and many other Chinese families worked so hard to migrate to. With the overflowing of low quality Chinese immigrants rampaging Auckland, not only is our culture suffering an unrecoverable damage, many qualified immigrants are hesitating to move to New Zealand. The talk of "going to NZ is like going to China" is frequently heard in Japan where I recently travelled to.”
This Chinese real estate agent concluded in his personal letter to me: “The immigration policy has to change and you have to fight on.”
More and more people are saying this and speaking out about our current level of immigration:
- Treasury, the Reserve Bank, the Chief Executive of ANZ David Hisco, businessman Stephen Jennings.
But the government refuses to listen.
Your generation are seeing the result of large scale immigration:
There is artificial competition for rentals, housing, jobs, hospital beds, places in classrooms and lecture halls.
New Zealand First is not opposed to immigration.
It has its place but we do not want the situation we have today of a city the size of New Plymouth being created year after year.
We favour a cautious, sensible, and prudent immigration policy to ensure that our social cohesion is not in any way undermined or threatened.
The Prime Minister has stated that $100 billion of foreign capital was invested last year.
Despite the fact much of this foreign capital was not investment but speculation - he didn’t mention, of course, the billions vanishing from our country because of invisibles (exploiting corporate tax arrangements when they pay only a third of one percent in tax) and dividends to overseas shareholders.
Foreign corporates/ trusts
New Zealand First is not a party that supports people desperate to hide their super wealth in trusts located here so they can avoid paying tax; or unscrupulous people like money launderers.
We are totally opposed to large multi-national companies that operate here getting away with paying just a pittance in tax.
Last year overseas companies avoided paying billions in tax – that we know about.
For example Facebook paid only $43,000; Tegel Chicken about one third of one percent.
Unfortunately Coca Cola has been allowed to come in and take our water for a piffling fee and go off and make millions of dollars in profits.
One of these, a Chinese company Oravida, pays approximately $500 to draw up to 146 million litres a year from theOtakiri Aquifer in the Bay of Plenty.
A few hundred dollars for New Zealand – multi-millions of dollars for this Chinese company – with water from New Zealand.
New Zealand First believes water taken out of New Zealand should be subject to a royalty paid to the Crown.
A proportion of that royalty should be returned to the region from where the water is extracted.
That’s only fair.
New Zealand First is opposed to separatism.
We absolutely oppose the trend supported by National and other parties to create a “parallel state” for Māori through programmes such as Whānau Ora.
We are opposed to divisive proposed legislation around the ownership of water.
We are opposed to reforms to planning laws which say that Maori are separate from the community, and therefore are entitled to a statutory body with legal powers of sanction over city, town and country planning applications.
We make this stand because we believe in one law for all – irrespective of ethnic background.
All New Zealanders, regardless of their origins, are entitled to good education, housing, health facilities and most of all they need good jobs with fair wages and salaries.
But we do acknowledge that lack of full-time employment is a serious issue for many, and more so for Māori and Pasifika young people.
We support a mixed economy.
We do not subscribe to National’s free-market ideology that wants to see private interests dominating the provision of public services.
There have been many examples of failure.
For example, the electricity sector is now a complete shambles.
It now mostly generates price hikes and requires a total overhaul.
National’s creeping privatisation poses great risks to our standard of living in areas such as education and health.
Access to education and health services are fundamental to a decent society.
There can be no real equality of opportunity if there is gross inequality and disparity in these two critical areas
So we support a high quality public education system and high quality public health service
We do not believe in selling our land or houses to foreign offshore interests and we believe that state-owned assets should be held in trust for the people.
Parliament and the government’s role is to protect and defend the people - to be guardians of the country’s resources – and to help the people reach their potential through enlightened health, education, housing and employment policies.
Now some others are trying to say it - but New Zealand First is committed to it.
New Zealand First believes that we must train, skill, educate and employ our own people first.
There is no excuse for the hiring of cheap labour from overseas when so many New Zealanders are on the unemployment scrap heap back here.
And on the question of student loans our position is that we want to amend the current scheme.
We would provide incentives to assist student debt repayment and work with sector stake holders, including the New Zealand Union of Students’ Associations (NZUSA), to review the whole Student Loan Scheme.
We would introduce a universal living allowance which is not subject to parent means testing as a priority for all full-time students.
And we would also introduce a dollar-for-dollar debt write-off scheme so that graduates in identified areas of workforce shortages may trade a year’s worth of debt for each year of paid full-time work in New Zealand in that area.
Lack of vision
We have these policies because we have a vision for New Zealand.
Over 8 years National has shown no vision, no strategy, no plan for New Zealand.
National has the Auckland housing crisis which they deny exists; increased immigration creating a consumer demand blowout, the Christchurch Rebuild, and billions of dollars from offshore buying New Zealand assets.
These are not the policies for a great future.
You can judge for yourself.
But there is a challenge for each of you here today.
For decades the percentage of young people choosing not to vote has been alarming.
This is not good for the social and economic health of our country.
Christchurch is known as being the home of the woman on the New Zealand ten dollar note, Kate Sheppard.
You might have seen the show on her recently at The Court Theatre – “That Bloody Woman!”
Kate Sheppard fought hard so that women would have the right to vote.
She did not take this responsibility lightly – she saw how important it was and she valued it.
And because she did, New Zealand became the first country in the world to introduce universal suffrage – allowing women to vote in political elections.
Sadly, today there are many young people who say ‘why bother voting, it doesn’t matter’.
Well, respectfully, that is wrong.
Each and every moment of your life the policies of governments are affecting you, many adversely so. You might think you can ignore politics but politics is not going to ignore you.
Kate Sheppard recognised this.
Everything in the cost structure of your life, whether at work, university or leisure, is affected by government policy.
So politics does matter and; if that’s the case, would you not be smart to have your say in what those policies are and the political environment to improve them?
New Zealand First encourages you to have your say and vote.
As Kate Sheppard said:
“Do not think your single vote does not matter much. The rain that refreshes the parched ground is made up of single drops.”