SPEECH: Campaign for the Regions Tour - Taupo
12 Story Place,
1pm, 12th July, 2017
Central government not backing the regions
It might be a bold claim but in the past two years and in the last 13 days in particular New Zealand First has seen, heard and experienced more of New Zealand and what New Zealanders are thinking than any other party.
Our Campaign for the Regions Tour began in Whangarei at the end of last month. During it we have been from Kaitaia to Invercargill – both islands coast to coast.
We’re on our way north.
On our travels we have not just talked but listened to people.
Wherever we have gone throughout New Zealand, we have been amazed at the initiative and get-up-and-go our regions are showing.
This goes for Taupo as well.
It is perhaps best exemplified here by Ironman New Zealand which has become the most international ironman event in the world.
It’s helped put Taupo on the world sporting map.
Clearly, there is no shortage of enterprise here.
But we have also found on our travels the energy and enterprise in our regions is not being matched by the government.
Ignored and neglected in large part, our regions are slowly being vacuumed of their wealth.
The deficits in government funding can also be seen everywhere.
Hospitals, schools, mothballed rail lines, crumbling roads overloaded with heavy trucks.
It is obvious to us the regions do not have the respect of government.
In fact central government is tone deaf to regional New Zealand.
Tourism is a major contributor to your local economy.
Tens of thousands of tourists, freedom campers and self-containers campers converge on your town and region.
Is not a surprise that your facilities cannot cope?
Other popular visitor destinations around the country have found the same thing.
New Zealand First pointed all this out last year.
Reluctantly, the government came up with some money but it has been a pittance.
It is wrong that like other parts of the country, you are struggling to pay for infrastructure – roading and toilets.
It is doubly wrong when you consider the government pocketed a GST tax bonanza of billions of dollars.
The government took in total $1.5b in GST from international visitors to New Zealand in the year to March 2016.
Only a small trickle of this money has gone to councils.
Here in Taupo, the amount of money visitors spent in the district for the year to early April 2017 was $603 million – 9.8 percent up on 2016.
You and other tourist centres are being robbed blind.
The government is taking billions out of the regions and giving peanuts back.
Worse still, these charlatans are trying to make themselves look magnanimous.
Under NZ First policy - we will return the GST paid here by international tourists for your tourism infrastructure and roads, and to stimulate job training and opportunities.
That’s fair and right.
And it would greatly ease the pressures and problems you are facing now.
Exports – forestry
NZ First is deeply concerned the supply lines of our main export earners have increasingly fallen into overseas control.
In the dairy industry, with Infant Formula, the Chinese now have a stranglehold on the supply line from New Zealand to the baby’s mouth in China.
In the red meat industry, the controlling interest in our largest exporter Silver Fern Farms is held by the Chinese
Another of our major exports, forestry, is dominated by foreign owners.
Foreign controlled companies represent just over 46 percent of the total exotic forestry estate but control eight of the top 10 forest companies in New Zealand.
In your region, as of July 2016, 73.68 per cent of ownership in Kaingaroa Timberlands was divided between Canadian and American owners.
Presently excessive exporting of raw logs is going on.
With massive volumes of raw logs being shipped out, billions of dollars in add-on value are being lost to other economies.
In 2000 there were 507 sawmills in New Zealand; in 2015 the number had dropped to 327.
Dairy, red meat, forestry, next to tourism, are our biggest export earners and we are losing control of them.
That is not in the best interests of this country – or our regions.
We are handling over our wealth, our assets, and our resources to foreigners.
NZ Herald attack
If you go page 8 and 9 of the NZ Herald today you will see not one, but two, whole pages of a thinly veiled attack on NZ First by the NZ Herald.
They are trying to associate us subliminally with an ultra-Right group about which NZ First knows nothing and with whom NZ First has had no contact.
This newspaper is a disgrace.
I have given more public speeches than any other leader over the last 29 years. I say public because I don’t try to speak to tied audiences.
This paper is so biased it has barely covered any of those speeches.
But here today in not one page, but in two pages is their baseless attack.
This morning I was called by another Herald journalist I have never heard of, just like the last one.
Apparently some real estate agent auctioning off an over-valued $3.2 million in Auckland told the largely foreign bidding audience that things were okay because Winston Peters wasn’t there.
My message to both the Herald, and the cerebrally challenged auctioneer is that the mass majority of New Zealanders don’t like their country being flogged off.
Some time very soon he will not be earning his massively over-rated commissions doing basically nothing in a property speculators’ paradise.
The twittersphere has gone ape at him but, according to Grannie Herald, that is my fault. What an insufferable bunch of fart blossoms they are.
The message we have for the NZ Herald is: the New Zealand public aren’t interested in your petty games, they are smarter than you think.
But it demonstrates the alarm that the elitist neo-liberal, largely offshore owned print media have been put to at the rise of NZ First, even despite the deliberately misleading polls.
New Zealanders have a right to be worried about their water.
The rumble has become a noisy call of concern.
Former PM Key once said he didn’t care if thousands marched on the street in protest.
He’d do what he wanted to.
New Zealand First is not like that.
We understand your fears.
• We recognise that the New Zealand people own the water.
• You want clean water
• You don’t want outsiders, or anyone, taking your water for free for bottling and making huge profits.
Ownership of the water
Under National, ownership of the water is to be shared between the Crown and iwi.
It’s already been agreed.
National and iwi have done a deal over fresh water.
The evidence is in the Waikato.
This will spread through the country.
Iwi will have rights and interests above yours. This is separatism by stealth. The National Party on the foreshore and seabed has opened up a nightmare of now over 500 claims. That nightmare is about to be repeated with water.
Waikato Regional Council has bowed to the new model recognising “Iwi rights and interests in fresh water agreed with central government are recognised and provided for”.
Clear as daylight.
They are responding to the establishment of the Tuwharetoa Maori Trust Board and Waikato Regional Council Co-Governance Committee.
It is bad news for all New Zealand.
The Iwi Leaders’ Group had a shopping list for National.
Maori will be able to sell water back – that’s right - trade in water, because they will own it.
National didn’t tell you about this – it will be cemented in place and that’s it. Maori ownership of a natural asset that will become more and more valuable.
The world is already short of water.
The Greens call us racist. But they support ownership of water by race.
One party stands against separatism, and it is reminding you now.
Without water humans cannot survive. Fact.
But it must be clean.
Every person in New Zealand, every council, the government, business and industry is responsible for keeping it clean.
Because that’s been let slide we all responsible for making it clean again.
Let’s be clear.
It’s not just dairy run-off, towns are big polluters too.
They have larger populations, more industry.
Our fresh water 2017 report from the Ministry for the Environment town waterways are 22 times worse than natural waterways while the rural water is nine times worse.
The report says 87 per cent of New Zealanders live in urban areas, and the population grew 17 per cent from 1996 to 2013.
It says towns and city activities led to higher nutrient concentrations, erosion of the banks, and reduced biodiversity in water ways.
So let’s stop the finger pointing.
Stop the blame game.
Let’s get on with it. Clean the rivers, streams and lakes for ourselves. For the environment. For our image.
That’s New Zealand First policy.
Working together to clean up out water. Not with chemicals but with common sense, driven by environmental concerns and concerns for our children and grandchildren’s futures.
Profit from water exports
You don’t want others making huge profits out of your water.
And taking it virtually free.
Bottling companies have had a free rein. They pay a few hundred dollars for a consent that can last 30 years.
Set up a bottling plant, and export the water.
Big foreign corporates involved.
Like Coca Cola.
That’s because they know the value of water overseas. Where there is pollution. Where populations are so big the wells have run dry. Where it’s impossible to get drinkable water from a well, river or lake.
They are profit makers. We’ll make them pay. National won’t.
It is a simple matter. Amend the Crown Minerals Act for a royalty on water.
National refused point blank to do this when we asked them to in Parliament.
National is spreading Iwi water ownership to all NZ.
National won’t charge the bottle exports a royalty, but they will ping you with every cost in the book for discharges, and monitoring nutrients.
How we look after our water, who owns it, is about New Zealand’s future. It’s in your hands.
Royalties for the regions
• Under NZ First policy – under our Royalties for the Regions policy no less than 25 per cent of the royalties will go back to the regions.
• Under NZ First policy – any water rights for exports will pay serious royalties which will go back to the region where the water came from.
• Under NZ First policy there will be no more you having to go cap in hand to Ministers and bureaucrats to ask for your own money back.
To give Taupo district the lift you should be getting New Zealand First has other policies that will provide a much needed injection.
• We will provide assistance for small businesses.
• One of the measures will be a wage subsidy for those who take on job seekers and provide work experience.
• We will provide immediate tax deductions for every new business asset costing under $20,000.
New Zealand First will also shift government departments out of Wellington and Auckland and spread them into regional centres like Taupo.
The dollar will not be inflated by around 15% and doing so will help exporters and not the paper shufflers, currency speculators and overseas banks.
Foreign land sales
Some of our most iconic farmland is being sold to foreign buyers.
Foreign buyers snapped up 465,863 hectares in 2016, compared to 79,897 hectares sold to foreigners in 2015.
Where is the gain for New Zealand?
Our preference is for New Zealanders to farm and look after the land for generations to come.
With just over 70 days to the general election, voters in regions such as Taupo district are being given a choice.
They must ask themselves:
Do you want a government which ignores you and has its mind and focus elsewhere?
Do you want this country to continue becoming more economically and socially divided?
Do you want a country where thousands of young people born and raised here are thrown aside and left to scramble for jobs against thousands of migrants?
New Zealand First was founded with a vision for this country.
We have not wavered from it.
Our vision is to look out for the interests of New Zealanders first.
Our vision is to end the sale of our valuable assets to foreigners and to protect our borders.
And our vision is to support and sustain our regions – where most of the economic wealth of this country is generated.