“Time to Break the Cycle of Madness”
Rt. Hon Winston Peters
Leader NZ First
Airport Aircraft Museum
8 Jean Batten Drive, Tauranga Airport,
Date: August 10 2011
Time: 10 am
“Time to Break the Cycle of Madness”
When a number of New Zealanders founded NZ First 18 years ago we did so because we believed that the economic and social policies then recently holding sway, as now, were bad for New Zealand. We believed that in a democracy it was right to hold prevailing theories to account. We did not hold to the TINA principle, There Is No Alternative, and we certainly believed back then as we do now that the alternative being offered was, and is, the worst for New Zealand. Whether it was Labour then National, National then Labour they were basically the same in pursuing failed economic theories.
It was not that we had a new vision, for great leaders in our countries history had already produced that, but rather that the principles behind New Zealand’s historic rise to economically and socially lead the first world were being abandoned in favour of the few at the expense of the many. In short we were then, as now, the guinea pigs in a new untried, unproven economic experiment, the long term consequences of which we in NZ First believed we could already then see. It gives us no pleasure to have been proven right. No pleasure because the task is still at hand and by reason of the passage of time made yearly more difficult.
There always was going to be a day of reckoning and now it is upon us.
As we stare in to the abyss of the second round of the Global Financial Crisis New Zealand First’s views are more critical to New Zealand than ever.
This week, in what used to be called the ‘mother country’, there have been riots that have stunned the world. How could this happen in Britain? Finding the causes of this violent eruption is not difficult. There will be those that point to a failure of policing but that won’t suffice as an explanation. We are witnessing the result of the failure of both irresponsible capitalism and welfarism without integrity.
Of Britain’s poorest neighborhoods, many like Tottenham are right down there, with serious unemployment and social dislocation. Just kilometers away from a leading international capital they have rioted at a time when the global economy is in freefall. The UK is an economy of massive inequality in income distribution, a business sector exhibiting appalling greed and legalized theft, weak finance and banking structures and a serious import over exports imbalance. The inequality of incomes, wealth and opportunity is the worst it has been in nigh on 90 years. The wealth of Britain’s richest 1000 people rose by 30% last year alone, in the throes of a credit crunch. Britain has a lost generation about which it has done far too little.
It’s Britain now and other hitherto stable nations will very likely follow.
What of New Zealand? A number of the features just described have been present in New Zealand for some time. Last year those on our rich list enjoyed wealth growth of 20%. The gap between our rich and poor has been growing over the last 25 years. And the present government rather than addressing the symptoms is just adding to them.
Mr. Key seeks to blame global circumstances. New Zealand he says is ‘like a cork in the ocean’. But this is a cork without an anchor or a sail. It is bobbing nowhere and anywhere. Rather than leadership New Zealand is now directionless and seriously vulnerable. The May Budget and all its projections of confidence is not worth the paper it is written on. Further excessive borrowing will result, exports growth will ebb and domestic confidence will plummet. Saying that we are ‘better placed than most’ is nonsense. Panicked in to, at long last, accepting the need for a dramatic savings program the National Party and others are being found out.
All of a sudden a compulsory saving regime is now being given lip service. Where was the National Party on this issue in 1997? NZ First went to the country with a referendum for painless savings. You get a tax cut, put it in to a personal savings account, and secure your retirement whilst freeing New Zealand from the talons of foreign money.
A day of reckoning has arrived on many accounts. Accounting for the past, securing the future. That’s what the 2011 election is going to be about.
In the ideas department, the government is already running on empty. One of the most neglected areas is youth employment and trade training.
Unemployment in the 15-19 year old bracket is 27.6 percent. In the 15-24yr olds it is about 18 percent.
In some areas such as Northland the unemployment rate is much worse. No country can afford such a shameful outcome.
We have a generation of unwanted teenagers on the streets and some people in official places wonder why there is a strong culture of offending and drunkenness.
Add to this some teen pregnancies, the option of a life on the domestic purposes benefit and a series of boyfriends who have learned to accept a lifestyle that involves anything and everything except work.
To look at how stupid the situation is at government level look at what is happening with the Rugby World Cup.
Media reports say the government is approaching Rugby World Cup visitors in an effort to entice skilled migrants to New Zealand's "exciting, vibrant and healthy" way of life.
Passenger arrivals cards, which must be filled in by everyone arriving at any entrance port, have been amended to include the question: "Are you here for the Rugby World Cup?"
Under a Labour Department proposal, visitors who answer "yes" – and whose occupations are on the list of skills shortages – will receive marketing material, including emails encouraging them to migrate.
They will be urged to sign up to the Government's promotional website New Zealand Now, which extols our "unique lifestyle" and offers assistance and information about migration.
An advertising campaign aimed at skilled workers on holiday will see fliers placed in hotels, i-Sites and transport outlets, and Immigration New Zealand advertisements in Rugby World Cup 2011 publications, online and in social media.
Those targeted include:
Engineers, surveyors, regional planners, early childhood and secondary school teachers, anaesthetists, audiologists, midwives, social workers, IT staff, chefs, mechanics, ship captains and film animators.
We have this response. Every year tens of thousands of New Zealanders leave because they can find a better life overseas.
These people have generally been trained in an area that is needed here but the wages are too low or the conditions so poor that they can do far better overseas.
So the government then tries to replace these workers with migrants, deliberately turning its back on the thousands of young people who have been destined for the industrial scrapheap since they started secondary school.
It makes no sense to bring in huge migrant numbers while thousands of New Zealanders remain unemployed.
New Zealand First’s answer to break this cycle of madness is to start crash programmes of training for young people, similar to the rehabilitation programme schemes started after the Second World War.
Thousands of ex-servicemen received special training.
It was one of the most successful programmes ever introduced and it created doctors, dentists, trades people, accountants – the list was quite long.
These people were motivated and their success rate was quite remarkable.
We are not suggesting that we throw open the doors of Otago Medical School to all the teenage unemployed but we do suggest that we throw open the doors of every trade training establishment in the country and drag them inside.
For those employers willing to take on a young person and train them, we suggest that the government consider paying an incentive in a system that works like this.
A young person receiving the dole would be offered a job with training. The firm would pay wages and would receive a top up from the dole payment.
There would be a carrot and stick for the young person. The carrot would be training and some wages.
The stick would be no dole without taking part in the programme.
Now this scheme would not suddenly solve the problem of youth unemployment but it would be a start.
You will recall that National promised a “bright future”. In the May Budget the finance minister proudly proclaimed that 171,000 new jobs would be created over the next four years.
Since then more than three thousand people have lost their jobs and the government is leading the charge in sacking people.
Their only idea for economic salvation involves selling taxpayer assets built up at huge cost over many decades.
We are talking now about power stations and our airline.
That’s just for starters because do not forget that thousands of hectares of farmland are being sold to foreign buyers on a regular basis.
In less than two years 50,000 hectares has been sold overseas and with the Crafar farms – another 8,500 hectares will be flogged off after the election.
No country whose assets are foreign-owned has ever been able to control its own destiny. We struggled for many decades to throw off the yoke of British political and economic colonialism.
We are now heading back to a similar situation and it is not to the advantage of any citizen unless he or she is a wheeler dealer, paper shuffling money speculator.
This is a government for foreign buyers and selected Kiwi middlemen.
Someone is going to make a real financial killing over the sale of these public assets and you can bet your bottom dollar – if you still have one – that it won’t be a Mum and Dad investors.
At the start I recalled how we in New Zealand First had tried for many years to get New Zealand and New Zealanders to accept and contribute to a superannuation fund that could have rapidly grown to finance major developments in this country.
We could have owned everything ourselves. We would not have been beholden to foreign savers and investors. Sadly this became a political football. So many in the old political parties, finance houses and foreign banks just couldn’t see beyond their narrow, venal interests. The national interest was cast aside.
In the coming campaign New Zealand First will be sharing it’s vision for our youth, our aged, our provincial and national economy and laying out the alternatives in New Zealand’s eleventh hour. Public relations using the tax payers money to convince an ever growing number of victims that what has been done is good for them, will be confronted head on.
The result of what they have done, and are doing, means New Zealand’s financial future is now a gamble. The disgraced Merrill Lynch is no training ground for running an economy. Look at the debacle in America and tell me it isn’t so.
But we still have a chance, if we take it, of turning this nation’s decline around as long as we keep what we have got, build at last a real KiwiSaver plan and invest it at home in industries and areas that will give our young people a real future. If we do that then the mass majority of middle aged, and older, may still have a bright tomorrow.
Ladies and Gentlemen, you have a vote soon. Party Vote NZ First, and remember We Win, You Win.