“Vision And Investment” New Zealand First Announces Healthy Kiwis Package
Last weekend had hardly begun when there was a series of surprising events. All the other political leaders contacted the media to say that they were going to vote early, and where, and when.
Now what’s surprising about that is, not early on election day, but in the first two days of early voting. And, ad nauseam the media dutifully went along with it and that became the news and was on television channels at night.
At a time when day after day political parties are dropping clangers or making huge mistakes in their fiscal accounting or, stealing other parties policies and promising money to taxpayers as though there is a “New Zealand money tree” it begs the question, what sort of political campaign is this and why would political leaders want voters to vote early when they can’t know with almost two weeks to go, all the information to make an informed judgement before they vote.
With all due respect this is an off the planet campaign where politicians can make any promise they like with very little examination.
And why would two political parties be advising voters to vote early on the basis there might be another imminent lock down on, or before election day. This is fear mongering of the worst sort and it is patently obvious what is happening here.
Today cabinet decided to move Auckland into lockdown 1, not tonight, as it should be, as when the rest of the country went from lockdown 2 to 1, but for some inexplicable reason not until Thursday. And there hasn’t been a case of community transmission in the last eleven days.
So why are all the other political leaders wanting you to vote early? The answer, they don’t want you to have all the facts before you vote.
We all surely know now that New Zealand is in a sea of great risks. Until an effective vaccine is available there’s going to be one long and hard road back to sustained economic recovery.
Nothing is to be gained by all this glossing over the immense challenges ahead.
And where are those parties with a vision and policies to strengthen New Zealand’s resilience. Because if they did have such polices, they’d have been there long before COVID-19 turned up in February of this year.
Today we are announcing New Zealand First’s “Healthy Kiwi’s Package” (reference addendum).
In 2017 in our negotiations to form this government we argued for a Provincial Growth Fund to address the awful areas of neglect in our regions. Such as for example, moving Te Uru Raukau (Ministry of Forestry) out of Wellington where there are no forests, to Rotorua where there are some.
This is just plain common sense plus many other initiatives that we have brought to Rotorua and the Bay of Plenty.
At every Provincial Growth Fund opening the Labour party have requested to have a role and the National party local MPs would hip throw us out of the way, to be part of these provincial announcements.
The Provincial Growth Fund itself was launched by the Prime Minister in Gisborne, a policy that is the initiative of New Zealand First. We didn’t argue about that, we just got on with it. But strange as it is, that the National Party has called this critical investment a slush fund and Labour is campaigning to reduce the PGF dramatically to $200 million for the whole country.
All of the present governments ‘shovel-ready’ thinking comes out of the provincial growth fund conceptually; this is a fact. So, it begs the question, here in Rotorua, in the provinces, as to which political party has really got your back.
A recent Auckland event highlights what New Zealand First has been saying for a long long time. A truck crashed into part of the Auckland harbour bridge and was described by the media as a ‘freak occurrence’. That’s nonsense.
The truck crash on the bridge was not a ‘black swan’ i.e. A completely unpredictable event – it was something that could be expected to occur, at some time. An event waiting to happen – only a matter of time when. What it highlighted in Auckland and has everyone’s attention is that infrastructure planning and investment that should have happened years if not decades ago has not happened.
And that sort of unprepared shambles, the regions seriously know about. Now they’re all throwing up their hands, we’re going to build a tunnel, were going to build a second bridge, but these high-immigration parties have no idea how infrastructure must keep up with population growth.
They’re putting all sorts of ideas out there about what they would do whilst avoiding the question – well what did you do about infrastructure.
And what real vision did you show when you allowed New Zealand businesses and assets to be sold into foreign ownership. Remember, Labour started doing all of that, and National imitated them. And now they pose as the big kids on the block with a plan about the country’s needs.
One of them talks about better government whilst their budget fiscals or money coming in and money going out is shot through with four huge mistakes and over 4 billion of dollars of errors; alongside ACT’s $8.7 billion dollar hole in their fiscal plan.
The other one speaks of wellbeing whilst not supporting, for example, water conservation plans which the Provincial Growth Fund is already seriously putting in place. So, what well are they talking about?
The Provincial Growth Fund in the next three years remains a critical investment. We argued for it vigorously in 2017 and yet it took the others until COVID this year to understand just how important the regional economies are to our nation’s economic and social health. Imitation is the sincerest form of flattery. But you all know which party it was that had the forward vision in 2017 to announce and push for so many critical projects in the regions.
Here in this region alone, some of the projects to receive funding have been:
· Investing in Rotorua’s Infrastructure – investment of $24.7 million to redevelop the Rotorua Lakefront and the Whakarewarewa Forest
· Rotorua Museum Re-development received $15 million of PGF funding
· Priority One Western Bay of Plenty received $870,000 to fund Ara Rau – Pathways to Work hub to help Bay of Plenty youth find jobs – announced last week by my colleague Fletcher Tabuteau
· QE Health received $8 million to support the redevelopment of buildings that provide specialist clinical and rehabilitation services
And many other critically important projects across the region
Having made a commitment to the billion trees programme, New Zealand First believes it is important that the value-add proposition helps grow the timber to build our own homes and satisfy demand.
We will continue to invest in the value-add proposition that has been so lacking the New Zealand economy for so many decades. This will include for example, agritech and IT industries.
When it comes to Tourism, conversations are underway between my colleague Fletcher Tabuteau and Te Arawa with agreement in principle on re-training and education as the industry faces the impacts of COVID.
New Zealand First believes these polices will mean that New Zealand will recover faster, grow more jobs, and start to pay down debt so that our children are not saddled with the oppressive burden facing them.
· Without New Zealand First, who in a government of the left will exercise the necessary fiscal restraint to restore the budget into surplus and to begin to pay back the horrendous debt;
· Without New Zealand First, who can provide a check on the left’s hunger for taxing the life out of the productive workforce or a check on the Greens view that “tax is love” – give yourselves a break;
· Without New Zealand First, who will prevent an explosion in welfare spending and a highly likely social insurance ‘big government’ policy change;
· Without New Zealand First, who will prevent a left government of opening a new wave of treaty claims out of already settled ones, who will prevent a change where the mana whenua and authority of Māori iwi is overridden by protestors whether they belong on that land or not.
Be that as it may, New Zealand First is asking you to take out necessary insurance. To grow the economy while maintaining fiscal discipline you need New Zealand First back in government. We have demonstrated over the past three years our competence and our ability to curb Labour and the Green’s worst instincts. Then you have the other option on the right – similar extremism where cuts are made to every social service and the needy being left without any help at all.
Experience and common sense have always been desperately needed in government.
You have two votes in this election. One for a local candidate. The other for a nationwide party. With your second vote may we suggest that you need to take out some insurance.
Back your future and party vote New Zealand First. We won’t let you down.
NEW ZEALAND FIRST ANNOUNCES HEALTHY KIWIS PACKAGE
New Zealand First has announced its ‘Healthy Kiwis Package’ at a public meeting in Rotorua. The ‘Healthy Kiwis Package’ commits to;
• Increasing Pharmac funding to 1.4% of GDP by 2023, in line with other OECD nations
• Expanding free basic dental care for 18 to 25 year olds, Community Service Card holders and SuperGold Card holders.
• Providing a free annual eye check for over 65’s
• $10 million toward free counselling sessions through I Am Hope
• Committed to funding the St John Ambulance Service as they have asked of us
“During this term, we’ve already drastically increased funding to overhaul our health system, we’ve expanded free Doctors’ visits for under 14’s and funded a free annual health check for SuperGold Card holders. However, there’s more that we need to do,” said Leader of New Zealand First Winston Peters.
“New Zealand’s Combined Pharmaceutical Budget has underperformed, funded to a level of 0.9% of GDP compared to our OECD partners. Increasing this funding will give Kiwis greater access to the medicines they need to be healthy.
“We will establish a transparent annual medicines budget that includes new investment in community and hospital medicines to meet the OECD average of up to 1.4% of GDP by 2023. This new investment includes establishment of a specific rare disorder medicines fund of $30 million per annum,” said Mr Peters
“Expand free dental care through a yearly free check-up, x-ray and clean for 18 - 25 year olds, Community Service Card holders and SuperGold Card Holders. This would be funded and provided at community based dental facilities rather than overloading hospital services.
“Dental decay is our most common chronic disease with 1.6 million New Zealanders not obtaining dental care due to cost. We’re committing to halt preventable dental disease which can impact chronic conditions such as diabetes, cardiovascular disease, and kidney disease.
“We had a coalition agreement condition to provide one free annual health check and eye test for over 65’s. We’ve announced funding for the annual health check in Budget 2020 but need to secure the eye test. This is another preventative measure to halt preventable disease and improve health outcomes.
“Earlier in our ‘Back Your Future’ bus tour we announced $10 million toward free counselling sessions through I Am Hope/Gumboot Friday and committed to fully funding St John Ambulance Service.
“Investing in the health and wellbeing of our own will reduce issues, and costs, down the track. Any responsible government will see that Kiwis are our country’s greatest asset, so we need to invest in them,” said Mr Peters.