Campaign for the Regions Launch Speech: The regions – Together, for New Zealand
NZ First campaign launch
Palmerston North Convention Centre,
354 Main St,
Sunday, June 25, 2pm.
The regions – Together, for New Zealand
It has been an explosive week in politics.
A week that will go in the history books as the time two Prime Ministers covered up a crime and were party to a payout to buy off a witness.
We have heard the people of Clutha-Southland feel hurt, fragile and let down.
They have every right to be.
While The Barclay Debacle revealed the corrupt inner workings of the National Party machine, it told us also that National Party takes the regions for granted.
One television commentator said National could stand a blue sheep in Clutha-Southland and it would still win the electorate.
The sheep would also be more honest. On television yesterday Mr English said in excusing his behaviour, “I am not a lawyer”. He conveniently forgets the adage, “ignorance of the law is no excuse”.
This is a sad state of affairs.
“Defibulators” - for National
The National Party Cabinet are into spin, downright deceit and Fibs. As Mr English displayed alongside Paula Bennet and others, they simply can’t tell the truth. So as part of our Heath Policy this election we’re going to order up a whole lot of defibulators and send them to their offices. Every time they tell a lie this machine will give them a shock. It might be painful but that’s what it will take.
Men like Keith Holyoake must be rolling in their graves.
Not only that – National has no sound policies to progress all of New Zealand.
They have let the wealth get sucked out of our regions with little payback.
They have let much of our assets and land be sold off to foreign buyers.
They have under-funded regional roads and hospitals.
They have no coherent plan for our regions just as they have no coherent economic plan for this country.
And they’ve have turned their backs on our young people.
They’ve allowed the situation to descend to the point one economist has said some of our provincial centres are “zombie towns.”
We’ve got zombies alright – but they’re not in our provinces.
They’re in the Beehive.
It is the regions that produce by far most of our country’s wealth.
Our biggest export earners, the sectors that pay our way in the world, are tourism, dairying, meat, and forestry.
We have Queen Street farmers but what are they doing for the wealth of this country?
Within a few years experts tell us more than half of New Zealand’s population will live north of Taupo.
Thats because of a lack of political vision and a contempt for the real wealth creators of this country.
National is most at home when they are in Wellington, among all the shiny suits and bureaucrats, adjudicating on New Zealand from their ivory towers.
Mr English has just finished his speech to the National Party conference. Bereft of ideas and excuses, all he could promise after nine years of National was increased incomes and lower taxes by 2020. Surrounded by all manner of deficits, Canute like he promises surpluses and tax cuts.
The Regions and Reserve Bank Reform
Fundamental to a successful economy – and thriving regions over the long term - is an exchange rate that supports exporters and the regions.
Our Reserve Bank Act is out of date.
We have an overvalued NZ dollar that has been a bonanza for financial speculators and traders but not exporters.
Despite the relatively small size of our economy our dollar is one of the most heavily traded international currencies
We need an exchange rate that serves real economic goals like strong and growing regional exports
The Bank’s outdated focus on inflation must be ditched.
As a small open economy New Zealand is dependent on a competitive exchange rate.
NZ has a persistent and chronic balance of payments deficit – and this shows the New Zealand dollar does not reflect the underlying reality.
Risks abound in the global economy and New Zealand is highly exposed and vulnerable to any volatility.
NZ First is committed to reforming the Reserve Bank Act as a vital step in safeguarding our economic future –and the future heath of regional New Zealand.
The Regions and Small businesses
Small businesses are the engine room of New Zealand’s economy and are critically in regions such as Manawatu.
Ninety seven per cent of all businesses in New Zealand are small businesses. They employ over 2 million people and produce 27 per cent of GDP per year.
By helping more businesses become profitable, sustainable and competitive will ensure they are in the best position to hire new employees and create jobs.
To boost small businesses New Zealand First will in this Campaign, set out its policies, to really help them start and grow by:
• A wage subsidy for small business that take on job seekers and provide work experience.
• Real incentives for small businesses to help disengaged youth become work ready and support mature age job seekers back into work.
• Immediate Tax deductions for every new business asset costing under $20,000
• Immediate Tax deduction for professional expenses when starting a business, and by
• Streamlining business registration for those planning to start a business
• And we are going to get Nationals Ninny, Nosey Nannie state off your back.
Virtually overnight, New Zealand’s oldest licenced premises at Russel, The Duke of Marlbourgh Restaurant had to pull a burger that is a cornerstone of its menu –because it offended MPIs food preparation guidelines by the meat being “pink and raw”.
“Basically the Ministry is telling us how our customers need to eat their food”, said the good people at the Duke.
In Wellington now more tedious bureaucrat’s regimes of food preparation are being dreamt up requiring small businesses to pay thousands of dollar to comply or shut down.
You vote for New Zealand First and we’ll put a leg rope on them whilst reminding these bureaucrats who pays their wages.
The Regions and Student debt
Palmerston North is a university town.
Let’s face it there are a lot of hard-up students here, wondering how they’re going to get by with the weight of massive debts on their shoulders.
New Zealand First will get rid of the student loan for Kiwi students staying and working here in NZ after they finish their studies.
The only requirement is that they work for the same number of years as they have studied.
So three years in tertiary education requires three years in the workforce - five years tertiary means five years in the workforce.
But if they leave for a big OE, and decide to work overseas, they will have to pay back the cost of their tertiary education.
Where they have a current student debt then the system changes to our dollar for dollar policy.
For graduates with skills required in the regions, like teachers, nurses, doctors, police and other much needed regional skills, we plan to use a bonding system.
We will also introduce a universal student allowance.
These are our practical solutions to the huge debt students have to grapple with.
Our policies will also address many of the skills shortages we have in our regions.
The Regions and Infrastructure Deficits
If you were at the National Party conference you would have heard the sound of coughing and spluttering. That’s the sound of their Auckland delegates choking under the sheer weight of numbers due to a reckless and irresponsible open door immigration policy.
Billions are being spent to address Auckland’s chronically overloaded infrastructure.
Last weekend marked the official completion of the Waterview Motorway Tunnel in Auckland – the bill $1.4 billion.
The Auckland City Rail link is underway – there will not be any change out of $3 billion when that project is completed.
Yes Auckland’s infrastructure deficit is plain to see.
But what about regional New Zealand?
Regional infrastructure is the poor cousin – it is being overlooked and put at the end of the queue when it comes to funding.
And this is despite the massive growth of tourism – the costs of which fall primarily on regional NZ
The government boasts of a tourism bonanza, which is based in the Regions, and yet gives almost nothing back to the Regions to fund the cost of it.
We have 30,000 Kilometres of unsealed roads, single lanned bridges and a serious lack of toilets, parking and basic infrastructure.
In this campaign New Zealand First will detail how we are going to return the full GST from Tourists back to the regions in which they spent the money. The data, easily accessible which measures this spend already. You make the money here and you’re going to get your fair share back.
NZ First is committed to a massive campaign to seal local roads, improve overall road quality and double-lane bridges where sensible.
The Regions and Rail
Rail has a valuable role to play in the development of regional NZ.
But the National Government has run the railway network down to a neglected and parlous state.
NZ First will give rail a real role in regional NZ by properly investing in the rail system.
And we will stop the made conversation to diesel from electrification.
We will stop National’s Luddite behaviour.
Regional NZ also has to deal with the unreliability of cellular services and patchy broadband.
This is another illustration of where the government’s heart lies and it’s not in rural and regional New Zealand.
Regional NZ needs massive infrastructure improvement – urgently.
That will take substantial investment and NZ First is committed to making that happen.
The Regions and Stopping the Selloff of our Country
New Zealand under the old parties has been a soft touch for foreign buyers.
The wealth generated in regional NZ is increasingly flowing into the pockets of overseas owners.
The Overseas Investment Office (OIO) is a facade - a token exercise intended to give the impression that someone actually takes the national interest into account before foreign buyers get the green light.
The losses of land into foreign ownership are staggering 460,000 hectares alone last year.
The deals invariably get the usual Overseas Investment Office rubber stamp.
There is no requirement on foreign buyers to invest locally in downstream production or new technology.
Under our policy the rules would be strict - there would need to be clear, unequivocal and quantifiable benefits to New Zealand before foreign ownership was allowed.
The Regions and Water
A few years ago the Manawatu River was rated the most polluted river in the Southern Hemisphere.
Three hundred rivers and streams across North America, Europe, Australia and New Zealand were assessed.
And clean, green NZ came up with the worst river of the lot.
Most of the Manawatu River’s was due to nitrogen runoff from farms; but treated sewage discharged by councils was also a major contributor.
No doubt councils and most farmers would accept such degradation of waterways around New Zealand is not acceptable.
New Zealand First is calling for the National Policy Statement on Freshwater Management to be reviewed.
We cannot allow our rivers and waterways to descend to the level of cesspits.
New Zealand Frist would ensure that only the sustainable taking and use of water for commercial purposes is permitted by developing a national water use strategy.
Legislation must be in place to make sure that the granting of RMA consents is consistent with the proposed new national policy statement and the Strategy.
But we are going to properly finance rural New Zealand into environmental recovery because we are all in this together.
Royalties to the Regions
NZ First has a Royalties for the Regions Policy.
Under this policy, 25% of royalties collected by the government from enterprises such as mining, petroleum and water stay in the region of origin.
As an example, the government collects over $400 million in royalties.
Under our scheme over $100 million, year on year, would remain in the regions for investment.
That money would help to regenerate regional New Zealand.
It is demonstrably wrong that companies like Coca Cola, Suntory Holdings, Oravida, Fiji Water – can take our water for a pitiful token fee while they make millions of dollars from it.
National says no-one owns the water – so foreign companies can come in and take it.
Do you think that is right? No. And nor does New Zealand First.
As we said at the start, National have been a major disappointment, not just to the wider population of New Zealand but to their own faithful followers.
Arrogant National MPs - Alfred Ngaro acting like a Mafiosi heavy telling the Salvation Army to shut up or else.
Nicky Wagner tweeting frivolously and insulting the disability community.
Simon Bridges blocking information being released on KiwiRail in reply to an OIA.
And now hush money and a prime minister donkey deep in a cover-up.
The true economic reality
In spite of all the pixie dust Mr English and his colleagues come up with, there is not a lot to be optimistic about.
The government says we have GDP growth rate of 2.8%.
But New Zealand’s population has been growing at 2% annually, mostly from overseas.
So, 2% has to be deducted from GDP numbers before any real growth can be claimed.
The real barometer of prosperity, GDP per person is pitiful – less than 1 per cent a year.
We have homelessness.
Thousands of young New Zealanders aimlessly going nowhere.
Record net immigration has now shot up to another record of more than 73,000.
And the government tells us they’re skilled workers and we need them.
Most of them aren’t skilled.
We have a director general of health who can’t get his sums right and a health minister who is so obsessed with taking a hatchet to health, he didn’t notice the funding blunders until it was too late.
Fourteen DHBs overpaid and six under-paid.
This is banana republic stuff.
95% of the NZ banking system is held overseas
NZ’s net debt to the rest of the world has soared up to $156 billion.
We have regions running on empty.
We have unacceptable delays from the Electricity Authority sorting out their pricing methodology creating uncertainty and preventing business owners investing in the regions.
Law and order has fallen apart in many provincial areas with fly-by policing and empty police stations.
These are facts.
The Regions and Personal Security
In the last eight or nine years new Zealanders have been told that crime is falling. It’s a lie of course hidden by the Governments catch and release policy – catch criminals but warn them and not charge them. That’s how National has got lower crime figures but their deceit has been exposed and they’re trying to cover it with and extra 880 police over the next four years. And that’s 1000 short of what’s needed.
New Zealand First will recruit 1800 extra front line police in the next three years. Just like we recruited 1000 front line police the last time we had the power to.
New Zealand First wants to restore hope in our young people.
Hope so that a job is achievable for them.
Hope so that they can one day own a home of their own.
Hope so they don’t see despair, but a future for themselves, their families and their communities.
And hope in our regions and our whole country.
New Zealand First has the policies to turn this country around.
To make it a better place for you and your families.
It’s time for a change.
New Zealand was once called “God’s own country.”
We believe it can be again.
Together we can do it.