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Peters Breaks His Silence! Thank-You Speech

Extracts from a speech by Winston Peters to a Supporters' Club
meeting in the Wesley Hall, Thirteenth Avenue, at 10 30 am on Monday
13th December 1999.

The new Parliament promises to be an interesting place, with a wide cross section of people from many different backgrounds in the House.

This is the representation that New Zealanders have decided they want for the next three years, and we in New Zealand First accept that.

We are sensible people and we make our point with our votes.

Nobody here runs down the street firing machine guns in the air when governments change, or use machine guns to change the Government.

New Zealanders voted at this election for a shift in political attitudes and a change to our economic direction. It is a paradox that in the main, people went back to the very politicians that started the so called "reforms". But people do that.

The new Government has just taken over and we in New Zealand First extend our best wishes to Helen Clark's administration and congratulate her on the smooth take-over from National.

We will honour the commitment we gave before the election and guarantee supply to the party which gained the most votes.

New Zealand First has already stated on record that we will support legislation aimed at preventing the party-hopping that has become one of the less desirable features of our political landscape.

New Zealanders do not want their politicians to change sides for personal gain - or when the going gets tough. List MPs who decide they can no longer support their parties should simply resign, and go.

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Electorate MPs who feel the same way should resign. And seek a fresh mandate from their electorate if they wish to change party direction.

Over the term of this Government, New Zealand First intends to support all good ideas and to act as a moderating influence on extremist policies.

In this respect, we want to reassure all New Zealanders that we will be a steadying influence in situations in which we hold the balance of responsibility.

During the election campaign the coalition partners in the new Government promised New Zealanders a better and more hopeful future.

We in New Zealand First will ensure that the coalition will deliver it.

For it is not only the coalition that will be on trial over the next three years - it will be the future of MMP itself.

We must be able to prove that we can make it work, and that will be a challenge to every Member of Parliament .

Hopefully, the last three years provided a learning experience for everyone and an end to the First Past the Post mentality in New Zealand politics.

It was certainly a learning experience for New Zealand First - and one that does not need repeating!

New Zealand needs a steady hand in the centre of the political spectrum to curb wild swings either way.

We also need a strong voice to remind us of our traditional values of fair play and caring for our citizens.

New Zealand First is still the party with that steady hand and our strong voice will be heard.

ends

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