Forget the cost! Feel the Quantity! - Winston
Forget the cost! Feel the Quantity!
Embargoed against delivery 2pm Wednesday 20th October 1999
Speech by Rt Hon Winston Peters to the Cashmere Club, Hunter Street Christchurch.
Forget the cost! Feel the Quantity!
Today our country is being let down with a dumbed-down media. A media which will trot out any old rubbish and pass it off as news.
Last night we saw just how professional our state-funded and state-owned media are. It was quite obvious that, despite his million dollar taxpayer funded salary, Mr Holmes was not prepared nor had he researched for the debate.
There is in this country no such thing as investigative reporting. I thought that today I would play journalist, and give you some thoughts about Labour, and their policies, and make a few comments about a new political party called "NACT"-that's National and ACT.
The media have convinced themselves, and then set about convincing you that Labour will win the next election. And they have done so shamelessly.
For about two years now, most of the polls have been showing that Labour have been leading National. Labour have basked in the sort of self-proclaimed hope and glory that we could only expect of the 'born to rule' National Party.
For the past nine years Labour have been trapped in opposition. You would have thought they could have come up with some ideas in that time.
After nine years in opposition Labour have come up with nothing original to beat off National. But it is still impossible to tell them apart from National.
We voted for MMP in 1993, we have had MMP since 1996, but National and Labour are still impossible to separate. They are still the old tweedle-dee and tweedle-dum they always were.
Labour doesn't stand up to criticism very well.
We have looked into Labour's promises. But we haven't just looked at their official manifesto. We have read all their speeches and all their press releases as well. We have learnt that Labour have promised to hold 96 separate inquiries should they ever become Government and have promised to set-up no less than 158 new Ministries, Government departments and Government agencies.
Labour have promised us:
§ 13 new ministries,
§ 27 new 'committees'
§ 7 new funds
§ 3 new trusts
§ 7 new 'schemes'
§ 35 new quangos
§ 1 new court system
§ 7 new commissioners
§ 1 new foundation
§ 2 'forums'
§ 3 new ombudsmen
§ 22 new boards
§ 22 new advisory councils
§ and 7 new 'directorates'.
They also want:
§ 24 new inquiries
§ 82 reviews
§ 42 investigations
§ 6 explorations
§ 1 summit
§ 4 reassessments
§ and one discussion.
And they have not costed any of them.
It's a bit like the great old Jewish saying: "forget the cost, feel the quality." Labour want us to forget the cost, and feel the quantity.
The list of all the ministries that Labour are on the record as promising to set up is 13 pages long!
To be fair, Labour have promised to get rid of the Health funding authority…and replace it with 22 health boards, 22 "primary Health advisory Committees", 22 Hospital Management Committees, six Health Directorates and one Health funding taskforce.
Labour's tactic has been that for every problem they will just promise to either set-up an inquiry or promise to set up a new ministry or government agency.
Did Labour have any intention on delivering what they promised in 1984? Before the 1984 Election they promised they would 'save' rail, and would 'fix' the public service'. They did the exact opposite.
Labour's promises this time around remind me of the line in the Shirley Bassey song: "It's all just history repeating".
Labour are hoping that if they survive the election there will be an outbreak of mass amnesia, and that you will forget what they did to the country between 1984 and 1990. And that you will forget all the promises that they are making now.
The problem was that they might actually do all this. In 1984 everyone thought they were joking!
Labour are promising 13 new ministers-above the 26 we already have. Labour want to increase the size of Cabinet by 50%. That's 13 ministers who will have Ministerial cars, Ministerial houses, Ministerial spin doctors and consultants.
Where are we going to fit them all? The Beehive is already over crowded. We will need to do what they did to the Auckland Harbour Bridge when the traffic got too much-they will need to put 'Nippon-clipons' onto the Beehive!
Labour must be paying tribute to Bill Birch-they want "Think-Big" to come to Wellington.
New Zealand First knows that the country would run just fine with 80 MPs and 12 Ministers.
Cabinet will be so large they will have to hold it in the Wellington Town hall, or move out all the dinosaurs and hold it in Te Papa!
What will these new Ministers be doing all day? Will they be running their ministries? No, they will be attending the committees, inquiries and discussions they are planning.
All of these 158 new Government agencies will need a Minister to oversee them, a committee, a board and staff at the very least. All of these people will get paid taxpayer funds.
Believe it or not, we actually have a Government agency called the " New Zealand Pleasure Boats Advisory Board". It is their job to discuss what Government policy should be with regards to small pleasure boats less than 50 feet in length.
The 6 members of the Board were paid $170,000 in fees last year (that's $28,000 each). They employ a full time researcher and paid him $50,000 per year. Last year they met four times, and it costed the tax payer $20,000 each time they met.
Labour wants at least 158 of these quangos to be set up.
Labour have proven to us with their reckless promises that they cannot be trusted, and that they have not learnt anything from the last three elections.
Nor can we say that National are any better. At least with Labour we know that we are going to get bigger Government, more costs to business, endless bureaucracy and attending meetings.
With National and ACT you don't know where you stand. National and ACT have entered into what is commonly known as a 'gentlemen's agreement'.
No-one knows what they are planning, other than the fact that they will slash social services, slash superannuation and slash education spending.
It's like 1984 or 1990 all over again. When National said they would scrap the surtax, but had to wait for New Zealand First to do it.
Richard Prebble says that he won't go into coalition with us, well with his track record of slash and burn policies, and his balletic ability to dance around the truth then I can say that we couldn't be happier.
National and ACT have hit a deal whereby they plan to slash superannuation from 60% of the average wage to 58%, and there is a Treasury paper floating around which proves it. New Zealand First will not be a part of a Government that plans to rip holes in this country's social fabric and destroy what's left of it.
What does National's 'decent society' look like this time? I say that if ever Mr Prebble gets a chance to complete his unfinished business then New Zealand will revert to something out of a Charles Dickens novel.
Mr Prebble has stated that he wants to be Treasurer. We will have to bring the troops back from East Timor to protect our state assets from Mr Prebble.
New Zealand First is faced on both sides with two extremes. It is flanked on either side by two once great and proud parties who have forgotten their roots and forgotten the people who used to be their constituents.
New Zealand First is flanked by two parties that have willingly allowed themselves to be mesmerised by their extreme partners. New Zealand First is the only party which is not tainted by extremes, and has refused to forget those who put it in place.
We won't play their games and do deals in backrooms before a vote has even been cast. Mrs Shipley is now saying that she could work with me and New Zealand First. We find that hard to stomach after what she did in the Coalition. She is looking more desperate every day.
These people have no honour-just a shameless lust for power.