The Masters of Bait and Switch
Rt. Hon Winston Peters
Leader NZ First
Address: Palmerston North Grey Power
168 Fitzherbert Avenue
Wednesday 22nd September 2010, 1.30pm
“The Masters of Bait and Switch”
Since election night 2008 there has been a new development in politics in New Zealand.
It is called “bait and switch” an old idea born in the United States as a tactic for selling in retail stores and since then redeveloped as a political tactic.
Bait and switch is highly effective and has become the most useful tool of the National government in New Zealand.
Here is how it works in retail:
A bait and switch is a form of fraud in which the party putting forth the fraud lures in customers by advertising a product or service at a low price or with many features.
Then the seller reveals to potential customers that the advertised good is not available at the original price or list of assumed features, but something different is -at a higher price.
This use of this term has extended to similar situations outside of the marketing sense.
It is used in politics with considerable success
over new legislation in the United
For example bills that propose minor changes in the law with simplistic titles are introduced. That’s the bait.
Then the wording of the bill is substantially altered at a later date. That’s the switch.
The National government with John key at the helm has perfected the art of bait and switch.
To give credit where credit is due – John Key – with the help of an army of strategists, consultants, spin doctors and focus groups has taken the art of bait and switch to new heights.
The issue of foreign ownership of New Zealand farms is a brilliant example.
When the bid from the Chinese owned Natural Dairy for the Crafar farms was made public, John Key waited to see which way the political winds were blowing – then agreed with the concern being expressed.
He stated clearly and publicly how he shared the concerns of New Zealanders about becoming tenants in their own country.
By doing this he soothed the anxiety – and made people feel he was on their side on this hugely contentious issue.
But – and it's a very big but – he is actually doing nothing to stop the sale of New Zealand land to foreigners.
Let's repeat that. John Key is doing nothing to stop the sale of precious land to foreigners except say that a “review” is taking place.
And the so-called review is a classic switch.
Ordinary New Zealanders are not getting a say in this.
Like, what happens to the soil we stand on is no business of ours.
The review of selling our sovereign land is being left to Treasury officials who are carrying out the work in secret.
Although submissions are allowed, only a technical group made up of lawyers who act for overseas companies are allowed in on the debate.
Faceless bureaucrats behind closed doors will make recommendations and then talk to their political masters.
Treasury of course is made up of people with their own right wing agenda. They were cloned during the height of the social and economic madness of the eighties and nineties.
These people know the cost of everything and the value of nothing.
Even if the Chinese bidders – in all their shonkiness - do not get the Crafar farms, another overseas bidder could.
In other words – while John Key makes soothing noises – the situation remains largely the same except that the hardliners with a vested interest in selling New Zealand are deciding policy.
This is the classic bait and switch tactics so beloved of big business and shonky politics in the United States.
Now, let's look at the job market – or what used to be called the job market.
There are actually very few jobs available these days – especially those that pay very well.
Leading up to the last election the National Party in opposition claimed Kiwis were missing out on good jobs here and that they were flocking to Australia for higher wages.
That was the bait – stay in New Zealand under a National government and there would be a better job at higher wages.
Now the switch – if you are lucky enough to keep your job in New Zealand, you are falling further behind Australian pay rates every day.
Let's face it – the gap between New Zealand and Australia wages is growing all the time.
This government is actually making things worse because its policies are reducing the demand for labour and real wages are actually falling because of rising costs.
And that is the cue for another bait and switch move – tax cuts.
That's the bait – the tax cuts.
Now everybody loves tax cuts and the government has been very generous with its tax cuts - particularly for its supporters – those people at the top of the heap.
Now hold on before we go any further – let's look at the facts.
Everybody gets a tax cut but no extra tax is gathered.
Let me repeat that. No extra tax is gathered.
In other words, the total tax take remains the same.
Now here's the switch - John Key gets an extra $300 a week on his parliamentary salary.
Someone has to pay him that extra $300 – and guess who that is?
It works like this.
Fifteen people in this room will pay an extra twenty dollars a week in increased GST, higher power bills, increased car license fees and so on.
The increases in pensions coming on the 1st of October are an illusion.
They are the bait that will be followed by the switch as you pay every day for the tax cuts for people like John Key through higher costs that you are not being compensated for.
The increase in GST will always hurt those on low and fixed incomes because they have less discretionary spending.
A higher percentage of their income goes on essential items that will cost more.
In ten days these financial changes take effect.
After carefully studying these changes our advice
is tighten your belts – there are tough times coming –
especially for those people on low and fixed
Don’t be fooled by the bait of tax cuts and a slightly higher pension.
Think about the switch and the higher prices you will be paying for everything.
You will actually be hit by a double whammy as
prices rise at the same time GST increases.
It's been reported that cabinet ministers will be mounting a PR campaign over the next few days to explain the benefits of the changes.
Apparently, according to John Key – a family on $75,000 a year will be $25 a week better off.
Although that figure can be disputed, the fact is that most New Zealanders are not on $75,000 a year.
They are well below this figure.
Now for another example of bait and switch – we could go on all day about the National government baiting and switching.
Look at the foreshore and seabed.
In 2004, New Zealand First persuaded the Labour government of the day into declaring Crown ownership of the foreshore and seabed and guaranteed historical customary rights for Maori.
National screamed blue murder.
You all remember the ‘Kiwi not Iwi’ billboard campaign.
National ran a vicious racist campaign claiming that we had sold out the heritage of all New Zealanders for the benefit of Maori.
Go back and look at the media statements, the speeches in Parliament, in Orewa and the billboards.
More bait – and then the most spectacular switch of them all.
In a bid to appease the Maori party, National is privatising thousands of kilometres of coastline and handing the ownership to groups claiming to represent coastal Maori.
There are actually no guaranteed rights of access and only some Maori will have a say in this.
The voices of ordinary New Zealanders have been silenced while their birthright has been taken away.
If governments in Europe or even Australia tried to do this there would be riots in the streets.
Don’t take any notice of Hone Harawira voting against the legislation.
John Key has interpreted opposition from Hone Harawira to mean” we have got it about right”.
The Harawiras won’t be happy until they get all of New Zealand back and put the last white person on a plane out of here!
For Mr. Key to think that not satisfying Hone Harawira should be the bench mark of sound law or satisfying the rest of us is about the most naive thing one could hear in politics.
The 2004 legislation was fair.
It gave ownership to the Crown on behalf of all New Zealanders yet provided for the special historical relationship between Maori and the coastal area.
That law, with provisions to protect Crown ownership and Maori interests, satisfied the national interest as well as coastal Maori, all of whom said so at the time.
That is why the Maori Party went silent on the issue for three years until after the last election when they made a sordid deal with the National Party, completely out of left field.
The foreshore and seabed about face by National is the biggest turnaround in New Zealand politics for many years.
It is interesting to note that in a former life, the Attorney General was a sometime Treaty lawyer.
Now he has generated years of highly paid work for the Treaty gravy train while at the same time deprived the majority of New Zealanders – both Maori and non-Maori - of their coastal rights.
Under this new legislation there will be decades of Treaty claims over customary titles.
Make no mistake – the customary title now put forward by the government means ownership.
The foreshore and seabed is a rich resource and the courts will be clogged up until a sensible government again sorts out the mess.
Let's turn to health now – again the bait and switch.
Before the last election, there was a running commentary every day from the National party about the health system failing to deliver.
When, in the lead up to the last election, did they ever promise to cut services for the elderly?
Did they say that under a National government district health boards would slash the availability of home help?
No, what happens is that the government puts pressure on health boards to cut costs so they are forced to do the dirty work and take the blame.
In the lead up to the last election, National offered a new smiley face and peddled politics of the centre.
Make no mistake – this is the same National Party – that continued the right wing policies of Rogernomics in the nineties.
The difference is that now they have perfected the art of bait and switch.
It is a form of fraudulent selling in a shop but in politics the only comeback is when you vote at the next election.
And speaking of the next election – it was of great interest to us in New Zealand First to learn on the television news a while ago that Winston Peters was going to challenge John Key in the Helensville electorate.
This story now has a life of its own – and we have received many calls about how clever this strategy would be.
The only trouble is that it has never occurred to New Zealand First for its leader to stand in Helensville.
The decisions about candidates and electorates are months away.
When these decisions are made you will hear it first from New Zealand First.
Take the exclusive scoops from the media about our party and its Leader with a bag of salt.
However, there is one report you can believe.
You can certainly believe any report that says New Zealand First will be back in parliament next year fighting for the rights of ordinary people.
You can certainly believe any report that hundreds
of thousands of New Zealanders are again going to have a
voice in New Zealand politics.