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Larry Baldock, Kiwi Party Leaders Speech

Kiwi Party Conference April 5th 2008: Wellington.

Larry Baldock Party Leaders Speech

Good Morning.

The movie portraying the life of William Wilberforce is familiar to many of us as it played an important role in the formation of our party last year.

Before I continue into my speech I would like us all to watch this small film clip from the Movie by way of an introduction.

3 min film clip amazing grace.

Helen Clark Sue Bradford Peter Dunne John Key:

You will not drown out the voice of the people.

113 out of 121 MP's voting against the will of 74 - 84% of the people, would have been understandable in Wilberforce's day but in the 21st century it is reprehensible.

Our political leaders have shown the same disdain for those they are supposed to serve as the member from Liverpool when he said "the people' and referred to them as the mob.

Prime Minister you were wrong when you said there would not be enough support for us to get 300,000 signatures.

We have 340,000 and were not finished yet.

Sue Bradford you were wrong when you said public opinion had changed and that many were regretting signing the petition.

The NZ research poll six weeks ago confirmed that 74% are still opposed to criminalising all parents. That is 1% higher than the result of the same poll one year ago.

John Key you are wrong when you claim that after your amendment was passed that the opposition to the legislation subsided. We have collected more signatures since your amendment than before it.

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When the referendum is held on the Question 'Should a smack as part of good parental correction be a criminal offence in NZ?' and the majority of Kiwis say 'No,' The Kiwi Party policy will be to ensure that the referendum is respected and the law changed.

Let me make it clear, Chester Burrow's proposed amendment does not meet this criteria. Only a complete repeal of the Bradford Act or a re write to delete the prohibition on the use of force for the purpose of correction will be acceptable.

Recently as a nation, we paid our respects at the passing of New Zealand's greatest Kiwi, Sir Edmund Hilary. Again this week the Queen held a memorial service in his honour.
The Prime Minister said of him that he had timeless values that would endure.

These values have indeed endured, they have not only survived several millennia, they have also led to the transformation of societies across our western civilisations and these principles have built the foundations of our free and prosperous democracies.

While the PM can mouth these words, she seems oblivious to the reality that her agenda for NZ since the beginning of this millennia has in fact been intent on undermining these 'timeless values', through following a failed philosophy of humanism, secularism and socialism that was already tried in last century and found to be a complete failure.

When we launched this party we made it clear it would be established upon the timeless and enduring values that have made New Zealand great and a place we have all been proud to call our home.

These principles are on our website and in your folders this morning. One of the very first of these principles is the principle of democracy, and that principle has come under increasing threat under the Helen Clark led government over the past nine years.

There is a long list of legislation passed without the majority support of Kiwi voters. The abolition of the Privy Council, Prostitution Law Reform, Civil Unions, Foreshore and Seabed, Repeal of section 59, and the Electoral Finance Act to name some of them.

In order to establish some more checks and balances against this abuse of democracy in the future, the Kiwi Party would make four changes to the current arrangements.

Firstly we will change the threshold for a CIR referendum from 10% of those on the electoral role as it is currently to 5% of those who voted at the previous election. The current high threshold of 10% is why so few petitions ever succeed, and that is probably the way the National and Labour parties like it to be.

In the state of California citizens can achieve a binding, yes binding referendum with a petition of only 5% of those who voted for the successful Governor at the last elections. That works out at less than 300,000 signatures in a population of 36 million.

Secondly if any citizen completes a referendum calling for the repeal of legislation already passed by a deaf parliament as we have done then those referenda must be binding also.

Thirdly we would establish a referenda day mid term between elections so the people of NZ can express their views on significant or controversial issues twice during a 3 year term.

The fourth change we would make would be to require all private members bills that pass though parliament to be submitted to a binding referendum before becoming law.

It has become the government's strategy to introduce its secret social engineering agenda through the use of member's bills, instead of campaigning on their agenda presented openly in their parties manifesto in an election.

Instead they use member's bills and then whip their MP's into voting against their conscience in order to secure the votes needed to pass laws New Zealanders do not want and never voted for.

Over the past year, my wife Barbara and I have collected somewhere in the vicinity of 20,000 signatures for the petitions we handed into parliament a month ago.

At tables all over the country we have heard good Kiwis from all walks of life express their frustration and despair at the majority of our elected members of parliament.

Many of the people we have met no longer hold much hope that any politician can be counted on to tell the truth.

If a politician speaks of honesty, faithfulness, fidelity, servant hood and humility, they are viewed by their parliamentary colleagues as a freak, a fundamentalist or someone with a holier than thou attitude.

The team the Kiwi Party is putting together to enter parliament after this years election, (Team Kiwi), will not be just one lone individual with a commitment to honesty, but a whole team.

A team committed to keeping each member accountable to those standards we believe every Kiwi voter is entitled to expect from their elected representatives.

It is clear to us that New Zealanders have little confidence in the current leadership and they despair of ever seeing honesty principle centred leadership modelled in our parliament.

According to Steven Covey, author of 'Principled Centred Leadership'. "The lesson of history is that to the degree people and civilizations have operated in harmony with correct principles, they have prospered."

When these principles are taught to us in our childhood and modelled by our parents we build a society where we do not need a policeman on every corner because we have one in our heads.

20 years ago the liberals removed discipline from schools. Now 20 yrs later the Government has to resort to assigning police officers to go into our playgrounds.

'Better the policeman in the head than one in every playground.'

As Dame Kiri Te Kanawa said recently on Close Up, there is no respect anymore because authority was taken from teachers, and now it is being taken from parents as well.

We have a tough road ahead if we are to avoid sliding further and further into a society of violence, corruption, family dysfunction and family breakdown.

When we launched the CIR we could have taken the easy road and simply focused on opposing Sue Bradford's bill. The bill she has now declared was never intended to solve the problems of child abuse.

We were concerned then, and remain concerned now, about our awful statistics on child maltreatment deaths as it is technically called.

The Crime Stats released by the Police this week revealed 12.3 per cent increase in violent crimes in 2007 - up by 6000 offences - almost all of them relating to family violence and the figures also show a 31.5 per cent rise in recorded domestic violence.

Is it just because there is more reporting? A crime is a crime, whether it is reported or not. Even if this increase in stats is entirely a result of increased reporting we know that we have a serious problem.

Statistics from CYFS own report in 2006 entitled 'children at increased risk of death from maltreatment and strategies for prevention' showed that children living in households with an adult unrelated to them were almost 50 times as likely to die of an inflicted injury compared with those living with two biological parents.

In simple words it means that when families break down, children inevitably become more vulnerable. They are prone to being hurt either physically emotionally mentally or spiritually.

That is why the second petition needs to be completed so that as a nation we can focus on this referenda question and ask our selves, are we going to just continue along the same path doing the same things hearing the same statistics and awful stories of abuse and do nothing, or are we going to say, in a loud voice, with a resounding 90% yes vote to the Question, "Should the Government give urgent priority to understanding and addressing the wider causes of family breakdown, family violence and child abuse?"

We have 276,000 and we can collect enough before the new deadline of May 14th to complete the 285,000 required but will we have enough of a buffer to survive the audit process?

We need your help to achieve that.

If it is true that we can only be strong as a nation when we have strong healthy families, then it surely behoves us to look not just at child abuse, but to understand and address the wider causes of family breakdown and family violence as well.

The second referendum we have taken all over the country is intended to call for a Royal Commission with broad terms of reference to look at what has gone wrong with family life in NZ over the last 30 years.

The recommendations flowing from that commission will help set government policy back on track to build a better future for all New Zealanders.

The success of the Kiwi Party in the 2008 General Election will ensure that we choose the commissioners to undertake this important work.

The third policy area I want to address this morning is that of social justice.

Many wrongly assume that any political party identified with a base of Christian values is going to be on the far right in its policies. In the case of the Kiwi Party I want to assure you that nothing could be further from the truth.

It is a ridiculous assumption given the evidence from history that will show that most social reform to help the poor has been led by Christians and inspired by Christian values.

My wife Barbara and I have 15 years of experience serving the poor and needy in the slums of Manila and all over the Philippines.

Like John Key I grew up in a state advances house with a solo mother who raised six children, so I can assure you we will not be blaming all our troubles on the DBP and single mums.

We must however, tackle the tough question of how to support sole parents while at the same time doing all we can to reduce the number of single parent households.

Our support should not be sending a message that there is no difference in outcomes for children growing up in single parent families and those led by a Mum and Dad committed to each other in a good marriage.

Clearly research shows that there are.

One of the greatest challenges facing us as a country is the number of children growing up without a Dad, and I understand and relate to that as much as anyone.

The principles this party is committed to speak volumes about a concern for the poor and needy, the orphans, widows and strangers and as part of the next Government, we will ensure that National does not return to their harsh policies of the 1990's that left so many families in real hardship.

In this area I want to outline two of the policies in closing that the Kiwi Party believes can achieve the lifting of the living standards of so many New Zealanders who are simply not getting by on what they are earning.

The first policy is intended to underscore and reinforce the point that we do not believe it is the government alone that can solve the problems of our society.

It is the third sector, Civil Society made up of the charity sector, wonderful organisations and charitable trusts societies and community groups, as well as the well known organisations like the Salvation Army and social services run by Catholic, Methodist, Presbyterian Anglican Baptist Seventh Day Adventist and Pentecostal denominations and small churches all over this country.

These are providing services on a daily basis and doing what they can to make life better for those around us who are less fortunate and in need. Without these organisations and their volunteers the Government could never hope to meet the needs in our society.

The PM has recently announced there will be a large increase in funding to be delivered in this year's budget to go to these organisations.

I think many New Zealanders will be sceptical of the PM's generosity and rightly so. It is election year and voters expect that money will flow to buy votes. After all, why has it taken so long for her to begin to meet these needs?

The problem is that anything the government gives comes with strings attached and a requirement for a box of paper work to be filed out.

And then on many occasions the government announces funding for a new pilot program which begins, shows some promising results and then finds that the support has been withdrawn and put into another 'new' pilot program.

Under Helen Clark's reign Government has been creating a society dependent upon Wellington. It wants all its citizens to become more and more reliant upon Nanny State from cradle to grave.

But the Kiwi Party believes that it is individuals, families and their communities that need to be empowered to solve their problems, not the State.

When Gordon Copeland, Bernie Ogilvy and I were part of the United Future caucus we worked hard to introduce the policy to lift the cap on the rebate for charitable donations.

We rejoice now that this is to become a reality. It is in fact the culmination of 20 years of work by Gordon since he was appointed to the position of chairman of inter-church working party on taxation when Roger Douglas was planning to take away the tax free status of churches and end tax rebates for donations back in the late 1980's.

We rejoice that the cap on tax rebates for donations will be completely removed and we hope this will encourage generosity on the part of many new Zealanders and further boost the charitable sectors ability to meet the needs around us.

But the Kiwi Party recognises that there are still many New Zealanders who do not earn enough to give much more than a few dollars of their hard earned money away, even though they would like to help others. After paying taxes, and then housing, food, transport, education, and healthcare there is very little left for discretionary giving.

Rather than have this Government take the taxes and then give money to the charities it likes, we believe every New Zealander should be allowed to direct a small part of the taxes they pay to the approved charity of their choice.

This policy would release up to $290 million into the community organisations and charities that are making a real difference in our neighbourhoods and would be given with few strings attached.

It would also be our hope that such an injection of funding may help many volunteer organisations to wean themselves off any dependence on the proceeds of pokies and pub charity money which has become the norm for so many since this scourge was released into our communities without adequate controls by the Minister at the time, the Hon Peter Dunne.

We should not be funding charity by robbing the poor to help the poor. Robin Hood would turn over in his grave if he knew.

This year is shaping up to be a big war on who can promise the most in tax cuts.

We believe in tax cuts and we will support tax cuts that make sense, but there are a number of places we believe tax cuts should occur in a way that will deliver more benefits for society as a whole rather than just reducing income tax across the board.

We have released several of our tax policies in a brochure available in your packs.

The Kiwi party wants to focus on increasing the income levels of those at the lower end of the income scale.

In regard to those truly dependent on benefits I believe Major Campbell Roberts from the Salvation Army made a very valid point when he said that the Cost Price Index adjusted benefits do not allow for those dependent upon our welfare system to keep up with the much higher increases in the cost of living they face in the core essential items such as food, gasoline, and housing.

In respect of those working, we believe the Government should use its tax surplus right now to lift the minimum wage to $15 per hour for all adult workers and make that fiscally neutral to payroll expenses by giving an equal 100% tax rebate to employers to cover the increased payroll costs involved.

This rebate could be phased out eventually as the economy adjusts over time.

Michael Cullen and the Greens call on employers to lift wages and somehow bear the cost of that within profit margins.

The National Party talk about improving wages through tax cuts but across the board tax cuts will not deliver sufficient increases for our low paid workers.

The Kiwi Party proposes a combination of both. Raising the minimum wage but giving employers a tax credit to offset the cost so they can remain competitive in our local and overseas markets.

Opponents of raising the minimum wage often say it will cause many to loose their jobs since employers are forced to lay off staff or cut back on hiring new staff due to increased costs.
Our policy will neutralise that argument because it will be the Government not employers that will bear the cost.

One thing is becoming abundantly clear to every New Zealander.

We must offer better wages to stop the loss of our labour force to Australia, and it is the bottom end of the labour market that needs addressing the most.

Lift the minimum wage and a rising tide will lift all boats.
The flow on affect to other wages can be offset by further incremental reductions in Company taxes over time.

Let me explain this again.

The Kiwi Party will move the minimum wage from $12 to $15 and allow every employer to claim the cost of that wage increase as a direct tax credit.

This will benefit approx 140,000 Kiwi workers because we believe in the principle that a worker is worthy of their hire.

All of our tax policies can be implemented over a 3 year period at the cost of around 6 billion and with government forecasts of a surplus of around $8 billion over the next three years these tax policies are affordable.

The story of William Wilberforce has come at this time in the form of the movie 'Amazing Grace' to remind us of several important lessons from history.

It is an inspiring story about perseverance. It encourages us that the people's voice can be heard, and things can change.
Wilberforce fought on the basis of what should be, not what was.
Upholding Justice is the very core rationale for Government to exist and exercise its huge power to maintain a just society for all.
It is this commitment to justice that the Kiwi Party wants to see restored.

In the movie Wilberforce announced the universal truth, "Remember, God has made all men equal". This is one of the very foundations of a just society and something we need to be reminded of regularly.

Next Friday Gordon Bernie and I will be at the launch of the Kiwi Immigration Watch to give the full support of the Kiwi Party to this important initiative.

The Kiwi Immigration watch will be committed to giving a voice to so many of those seeking to find a new home in NZ who are not being treated with the justice they deserve.

If we have invited people here to work and pay taxes as part of our society we must treat them with the dignity and respect they are entitled to as part of that great truth Wilberforce extolled.

Immigration NZ is not providing the service they should be with unacceptable delays in processing, stories of lost passports, reports of corruption in some of our Embassies abroad and endless requests for information and extra fees that make no sense at all.

All these failures of service result in enormous frustration, financial hardship, and families being separated for unacceptable lengths of time and the Kiwi Party intend to do something about it.

Through the gathering of 600,000 signatures to force a referendum, I have shown that ordinary Kiwis can make a difference when we work together.

Some have said we cannot be a single issue party. I say you have to start somewhere, and this issue is worth fighting for.

Our critics say people won't vote on a single issue like smacking.

The same Herald Digipoll that gave the Kiwi Party its first mention at 0.4% after only 6 weeks of being registered revealed that 6.2% would vote this year based on the anti smacking issue.

Last month it was 4.2% so the average is the 5% we need to succeed.

We will happily accept their support then give them and many other Kiwis more than just one reason to vote for us.

With our commitment to democracy and policies to give every Kiwi a stronger voice in government decisions,

With a strong commitment to the welfare, health and strength of Kiwi Families,

With a commitment to timeless values, with integrity, honesty and transparency,

And our commitment to standing up for those in genuine need and policies to lift the earning capacity of those whose daily hard work keeps our nation functioning,

And with policies we will be releasing shortly policies to address the injustices being pursued by Department of Conservation and Ministry of Fisheries that are undermining the rights of every Kiwi to fish and hunt non-commercially to put food on their family's tables.

We can confidently say that the Kiwi Party has much to offer voters in this year's election.

I ask you to join with us in turning our nation back to the principles and values it was founded upon.

Thank you.

Larry Baldock
Party Leader
The Kiwi Party

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