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Winston Peters' Speech: The Road Back

Embargoed against delivery

Rt Honourable Winston Peters

Address to NZ First Tauranga Electorate

7 pm, Friday 10th December 2009.

St Johns Church Hall
Bureta Rd, Otumoetai

“The Road Back”

Tonight we need to talk about two topics:

what we are doing as a party to prepare for the next election, and

why it is vitally important that NZ First returns to Parliament in 2011.

No political party wants to be out of office – and NZ First is no exception.

But from last year we resolved to be back in Parliament at the next election.

We are using this period to rebuild, to make sure that the time is well spent and that when we go back into Parliament we do so with renewed vigour and commitment.

So what are we doing?

Well we are active on a number of fronts.

First - we are determined to avoid the errors of the last campaign.

To that end we have been carefully checking our processes and organisational arrangements to ensure that our house is entirely ship shape.

There will be no successful repeat of the attacks that derailed us in 2009.

Second – we are thinking through and developing our policies.

Our basic policy positions are well founded but it is important that we support and back up our policies with the best possible arguments and evidence.

That means taking the time to look at issues carefully and objectively. Unlike National or Labour, NZ First prefers to be guided by facts rather than rely on some pre-ordained ideological viewpoint.

When the facts change we are open to rethinking our point of view.

The third thing we are doing is connecting with New Zealanders at the grassroots level.

Over the next twelve month we will be working hard to get our message across in a number of ways.

For example, we will be improving our website as a channel of communication and dialogue with our members and the public.

And we are also getting out and about to meet with New Zealanders directly – and what we are seeing is very encouraging.

Our meetings are well attended.

Kiwis are keen to hear what we have to say because we are talking about the issues that they are actually concerned about.

And, as NZ First has always done - we will pull no punches – we will put our views forward fearlessly.

We see that there has never been a greater need for straight talking.

Which brings us to the second part of this talk tonight - why it is vital that NZ First returns to Parliament in 2011.

We need to be in Parliament because right now your voice and hundreds of thousands of others is not being heard.

The people our party was founded to serve – ordinary New Zealanders – have been abandoned by the other political parties.

Wherever you look the interests of ordinary Kiwis are being put at the bottom of the pile.

And that is why it is important that YOUR voice is heard in Parliament.

Because we represent the interests of real New Zealanders, NZ First is distinct from the other parties.

First - let me just spell out what we are not.

We are NOT a race base party – and have consistently stood against the encroachment of racial division in our society - in whatever form that took.

(And note that it took Mr Goff well over a decade to see the wisdom of our position)

We are NOT a mouthpiece of corporate interests and the globalisation agenda of big business.

Second - what we stand for is equally clear.

We stand alongside those patriotic New Zealanders committed to the values that built this country - so we do not consider love of country a crime.

We speak up whenever we see the interests of New Zealanders are being damaged.

And there are plenty of instances of this happening.

The other parties subscribe to political no go zones – taboo area which they tacitly agree must not be discussed.

NZ First has never gone along with this sort of duplicity and deception.

So, for example, we will continue to sound the alarm over the consequences of a lackadaisical approach to immigration.

Look how absurd things are in this country. There has been an enormous hue and cry over increases in ACC levies for motor bikes – but in contrast the huge impact of large scale immigration on the costs of our services goes unchallenged – except that is by NZ First.

People are not blind - all the nonsense that is written about the benefits of immigration is bogus.

It is bogus because it never includes the real costs that immigration imposes.

Go into the emergency department of any big city hospital and you can see the impact that large scale immigration imposes on our health system.

With our system of universal entitlements, people who gain residence can access our heath system – our education system – our unemployment benefit system, ACC and often housing assistance – and then of course eventually the national pension pie.

It’s like winning Lotto – without even paying the cost of a ticket.

That is the system that your taxes have paid for – but which well paid and well privileged politicians in the other parties treat like a free good.

It is outrageous to treat systems paid for by Kiwis – and which are already being rationed - in this sort of ‘help yourself’ fashion – and we will continue to say so.

When it comes to looking after the national interest, NZ First’s scepticism is a healthy influence to have in Parliament.

Let us look briefly at Dr Brash’s recent report on productivity.

That the report purports to be about productivity is a sick joke – its actually about the pauperisation and impoverishment of ordinary people.

But Brash’s report should not be seen in isolation.

John Key’s government knew beforehand exactly what they were paying for when they engaged Dr Brash.

Brash has forgotten nothing and learnt nothing from the days of infamy when Roger Douglas and Ruth Richardson and their acolytes were decimating our economy and society.

No, there is an agenda at work here.

It seems incredible to us that so many people have forgotten that Don Brash was the leader of the National Party a very short time ago.

Many of the National MPs now in Government voted for him. They are still there in their droves and it is simply not true that they are all born-again centrists.

They still think the same – and they think like Don Brash.

Brash’s report is actually part of the preliminary softening up process – it is part of the wider campaign to shift the economic climate in favour of a right wing –laissez faire market ideology.

Mr English’s budget next year will slash public spending -expect a whole lot of public sector cutbacks and consolidation.

A number of organisations and agencies will go – but this will still only be preliminary skirmishing.

The really draconian stuff will come later –for example the assault on the public pension will be the agenda for their second term.

That will mean all or a combination of

Raising the age of pension eligibility from 65

Reducing the real value of the pension progressively by amending the indexing formula so that it is eroded faster by inflation

Re-introducing some form of means –testing

And here is the rub. If you think that smart young policy analysts in Treasury are sharpening their pencils in anticipation over how to cut pension spending you are probably not wrong

Although until the day before such measures are introduced they will be vehemently denied.

And then – hey presto - suddenly draconian cuts will be presented as urgent - unavoidable – imperative.

New Zealanders need a party in Parliament that is not going to compromise or undermine national superannuation.

Only one party offers that assurance – NZ First.

You do not need reminding that there are some big battles ahead – and you do not need to be psychic to see that national superannuation will be one of those battlegrounds.

As I have outlined today NZ First will be ready to do battle at the next election.

Because holding on to and protecting what we have in this country cannot be taken for granted.

Together - with you help - we can build a better New Zealand.

NZ First is on the road back – come along with us!


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