Rt Hon Winston Peters Speech: If You Want A Farming Future You Know What To Do

Speech to Federated Farmers Annual National Conference,
Macs Brewery Function Centre
Wellington,
9.30am
June 22, 2017

Dr William Rolleston, Chief Executive Graeme Smith and provincial executives members.

 

The last time we all met was three years ago in Palmerston North.
 
There were a lot more people back then.
 
Certainly there will be many more people at Palmerston North’s Convention Centre, this Sunday at 2pm, when New Zealand First launches its Campaign for the Regions.
 
If you live locally we suggest you be there.
 
Incidentally this Macs Function Centre is an interesting venue chosen by another party for a meeting on the 26th June. In this case being above a bar, they’ll need some serious Dutch courage to sit through several hours of Dr Morgan’s turgid nonsense.
Where we are at

What do they say about a week being a long time in politics? 
 
On Tuesday, National’s backbenchers went to Todd Barclay saying “we’ve got your back Todd” as the 9th floor of the Beehive was sharpening its knives.
 
If politics is like a chessboard, Mr English, in sacrificing his pawn, which Mr Barclay was, now means his King is not only exposed, but is fully in play.
 
If he thinks this will lance a boil he is sadly mistaken.
 
What Mr Barclay did, in covertly recording a staff member was illegal.  Yet it is a basic tenant of our legal system that you cannot contract out of illegal acts.  That is made worse by Leader’s Office money being used as hush money contravening Speaker’s Directions. 
 
That implicates Sir John Key but we also now have a current Prime Minister, who through text messages knew all about it making him complicit too.  What about National’s Mr Fixit, Mr Joyce, because there is “an echo chamber of forgettery” in this government, just like the 10 bridges in Northland.
 
And who made the decision to drop the investigation into Mr Barclay when a journalist was hounded by the full weight of the state police for something similar in 2011?
 
And if Mr English who spoke to you yesterday is so forgetful over making statements to the police involving a caucus colleague, how can anyone trust a word he says about the state of the economy? 
 
Under National what are down, exports and productivity, should be up - but what should be down, namely the dollar, imports and immigration, are all the way up.
 
They’ve got things totally upside down and my party in three months’ time, intends to turn them the right way up.
 
National is not right when a high dollar is widening the worst current account deficit since 2008 - the difference between what we sell and what we import.  Today, one dollar in every three of our GDP hinges on imports; at 34% of the economy it’s the highest ever.
 
That high dollar has seen exports crash and is further reflected in the worst business investment under this government, than in any of the past three so-called “economic expansions.”
 
As immigration smashes record after record, our per person productivity has crashed in direct proportion. 
 
For the most senior echelons of Feds do you know which organisation said all of this?  It was the Reserve Bank last week.
 
National may think importing checkout operators from the Third World can grow the New Zealand economy but New Zealand First has always seen the economic naivety of that approach.
 
We have a government staggering and an export economy spluttering

Just like the boiling frog parable, farmers’ rights are being eroded in such a steady way many do not notice it until it is far too late.
 
 But where was Feds, nationally, on workplace safety reforms that made lucerne a dangerous crop?
 How about quad bikes, where WorkSafe is relaxed if you carry a “cargo of huntaways” but a pillion passenger is a no-no?
 What about RMA reform, where Mana Whakahono a Rohe agreements introduce race-based planning, race-based control of water and Koha for consents?
 And what about the regional plans in Waikato, Southland and now Canterbury, that promise to seriously curtail farming?
 
Farmers are lions but frankly they are being led by some right royal donkeys.
 
Three years ago, in Palmerston North, we put the case that National had long ago left your side and we challenge you to deny that what we said back then has not come true.
 
Now, NZ First is not one to say we told you so, but in this case, we darn well did!
 
In 2017, NZ First is the farmers’ party

To be fair to most farmers it is the National Party that is leaving them, look at Todd Barclay’s credentials as a supposed rural MP.
 
So for heaven’s sake, wake up! 
 
The fact is National and Labour are the Coke and Pepsi of New Zealand politics.
 
This is why the modern farmers’ party is NZ First. 
 
We are the party of small business, a party that believes in a fair day’s pay for a fair day’s work whether as the boss or the worker.  We are a party that firmly believes that with rights come obligations.
 
Yet New Zealand’s number eight wire can-do mentality, the thing that makes us unique, is being strangled by pen pushers and petty bureaucrats.
 
Our candidates look, speak and sound like farmers because many of them are farmers

Being the only major party leader who represents an electorate and a rural one at that, I can tell you that there are plenty in Parliament and in the media who cannot tell a bull from a cow. 
 
And that includes the party farmers have traditionally supported, those who run it and those who represent it no longer look like farmers, they don’t speak like farmers and they certainly do not act for farmers and farming communities.
 
That’s because they’re either not farmers or those who are, a minority at best, are either of the Queen Street kind or who hunker after Lambton Quay.
 
Clutha-Southland voters have been treated shamefully.  The party they’ve loyally supported served up the 5 D’s – the drawling double dipping denier from Dipton who was replaced by the one term boy-wonder Todd Barclay.
 
New Zealand First, in complete contrast, has selected Mark Patterson, a fourth generation sheep and beef farmer for Clutha-Southland. Mark knows what the land is and the ups and downs of being a working farmer.  He’s ten times the value of whomever National’s bosses parachute in next as a candidate.
 
Just up the road from here, in Rangitikei, we have just selected beef farmer Rob Stevenson.  A son of the mighty Manawatu who is farming in Northland, Rob is looking to move back to his old stamping ground.
 
Then we have someone who is here, with us, in this room today.
 
It is with pleasure we announce Stu Husband, New Zealand First’s latest farmer candidate, who will be standing in the Waikato electorate.
 
Stu Husband is as much a dairy farmer as you can possibly be. Farming in Tauhei, he is not only Federated Farmers Morrinsville chair but a Waikato Regional Councillor. Stu’s also winter milking, so he knows hard work and what farmers need to farm for generations.
 
In people like Stu, Rob, Mark and others, we have the people, we have the policies and we have the power to put New Zealand‘s Farmers First.
 
First order of business – the RMA and Koha for consents

Nothing speaks more of the betrayal of farmers by National, than that party’s descent into the European branch of the Maori Party.  National’s so wet they could fix drought.
 
NZ First promises meaningful reform of the RMA and that starts by repealing every single race-based clause that has been bolted onto it by National and Labour.  We need a planning system that facilitates responsible growth and there is no place for Koha for Consents or racial preference.
 
Last year, at the Ōrewa Rotary Club, we warned that National was caving into the Māori Party's "brownmail" and attempt to create a whole new “bro-rocracy.”
 
Dr Smith, who has a twin doctorate in slips and slip-ups, accused us of scare mongering but then put "Mana Whakahono a Rohe: Iwi Participation Arrangements" into law.  And where was Federated Farmers?  Not a mutter, not a murmur, not a syllable, not a sound.
 
These Mana Whakahono a Rohe arrangements mean an unelected "bro-rocracy" get a say on not only district and regional plans, but consents and compliance – everything.
 
Lawyers Stephen Franks and Pam McMillan say there could well be tension with s36A of the RMA, because local authorities and applicants have no duty to consult with any other person.  You think?
 
Farmers assume that s36A will be respected, but if recent history is any judge, it won’t.  Just 31 years ago, meaningless Principals of the Treaty of Waitangi appeared in the State-Owned Enterprises Act.  Now look at where this has taken us. 

These agreements, Koha for Consents, are a protection racket the Mafioso would be proud of. From water consents to discharge consents expect ticket clipping all along the way.
 
Be under no doubt that NZ First stands for one law for all and repeal of these race-based passages is the start of re-joining the letter ‘K’ to the word ‘Iwi’ – Kiwi. 
 
For that reason alone you need to send National one almighty message this September and can we suggest, it starts and ends with NZ First.
 
Farming and the environment are flipsides of the same coin

The Kermits may have declared intensive farming public enemy number one but not NZ First.  The solution starts by ending this growing rural-urban divide.
 
The solution to better water quality is not what Labour and the Greens want, to lop the heads of cows under so-called caps, but is around improving the farm environment, technology and above all, water quality reporting.  That demands an upgrade to nutrient tools like Overseer before they can be put into regional plans.
 
To us water storage is a good and when did you hear a party leader last say that?
 
You should be disappointed in Nathan Guy, not the sharpest knife in Mr English’s Cabinet we know, when he says that there are limits on farming.
 
We also know predictions can be a Grand Canyon wide of the mark.
 
The first Earth Day in 1970 saw predictions from mass extinctions, to running out of oil and metals and even that most of the world would be in famine by now.  They didn’t get it right because they underestimated two things: Inventiveness and adaptability.
 
If cows are to blame for poor water then why are our most polluted waterways in the cities?  The Kermits and media blamed Havelock North’s water contamination on dairying, despite the nearest farm being 40 kilometres distant. In the end it was council error.
 
The fact is you are far more likely to get sick eating chicken than from taking a dip. 
 
It is a similar thing with climate change where millions of hectares of pasture, shelter belts, farm forestry and riparian plantings do not get counted as offsets.
 
Climate change is real but spending just over $20m a year researching solutions whilst $1.4 billion buying carbon credits from foreigners is in just one word….nuts.
 
NZ First does not support the Wall Street-like Emissions Trading Scheme.  We stand for a UK-Norway style Climate Change Act.  Savings from no longer having to buy $1.4bn worth of emission units off shore every year, will be redirected into R&D and adaptation in our own economy. 
 
That’s where we will do our bit and in the weeks ahead you will learn how our policies will result in New Zealand:
 
 Boosting the resources available on-farm and in the heartland;
 Changing monetary policy to an exchange-rate based model so we have a dollar and an economy for exporters, not importers;
 Tax policies to improve your business and farm environment equally;
 Trade agreements that work in our interests starting with Russia and the UK;
 Lifting public R&D spend to 2% of GDP with a major overhaul of public science, farm training and will include the return of a formal farm cadet scheme;
 Owning our futures on-farm and in processing;
 Putting Government Industry Agreements (biosecurity incursion costs) on importers and not farmers;
 Overhauling Biosecurity NZ so it is fit for purpose; and
 Getting government out of the cities and into the regions.
 
Immigration:

For Mr Hoggard’s benefit our immigration policy can be summed up by the saying: blood is thicker than water.
 
We have a serious issue with over 90,000 youth not in education, employment or training.  That’s the tip of a larger and growing under employed iceberg.  Where you only have to work one hour a week to be classed as ‘employed.’
 
Now you are bright people.
 
Would you ignore mastitis in a cow or leave pink eye in sheep untreated?  Would you just shrug your shoulders and buy-in replacements because that’s what we’re doing with unplanned immigration.
 
We hear National threatening economic Armageddon if this tap was turned down.  That our hospitals and building sites would grind to halt.  That’s bull dust.
 
If we allowed in every builder, every rocket scientist, nurse, vet, agricultural scientist and even, the odd CEO, New Zealand’s immigration would not even break 13,000.
 
We don’t need more baristas.
 
NZ First will replace the unemployment benefit with the Community Wage so that people have to work for a benefit.  That keeps them work ready.
 
And if they don’t want the State’s help, the State has no obligation to fund them. 
   
You lions are being led by donkeys in blue.  Break the cycle.  Back NZ First and our candidates who look, speak and sound like farmers because they are.