SPEECH: Clutha-Southland Getting A Raw Deal Under National

Campaign for the Regions Tour – Gore

James Cumming Wing 29 Civic Ave,

Gore 4pm,

9th July, 2017


Excerpts from speech

Of interest on TV One’s Q&A programme this morning was the repetitive talk about yours truly, Winston Peters, and New Zealand First - about what they do and not do and laying out numerous scenarios that have one common factor.

None of these journalists and commentators will have ever spoken to Winston Peters before they go to air or commit themselves to print.

In brief, these are unprofessional and gross misrepresentations.

The public is entitled to know how leaders and politicians think but they should not be reduced to getting their news by misrepresentations, distortions and alternative media facts.

If the public want to know what Winston Peters thinks all they have to do is contact me or come to one of my meetings.

If you don’t get the information about me and my party that way, then utterly ignore it for the bovine scatology it is.

Not to put too fine a point on it, less than 80 days out from an election, the public deserves much better than this. 


Gore and Clutha-Southland have hit the headlines and made the news for all the wrong reasons recently.

It must have come as a major disappointment for the people of this region.

In the aftermath of the Barclay Debacle a reporter went to Nightcaps to talk to the locals.

None of the locals had heard of Barclay ever coming to Nightcaps. Todd Barclay is a young man who made a big mistake.

He made a big mistake over making secret recordings of a staff member and admitted in private to Bill English that he did.

Then to get him out of his own mess hush money was paid out from the Prime Minister’s fund.

Your previous electorate MP Prime Minister Bill English knew Mr Barclay had lied but he was involved in the cover-up with the pay-out and then he forgot all about it until he miraculously remembered after persistent questioning.

He has been shifty; he has been arrogant.

This unfortunately, is a disturbing trend of National.

You deserve better.


We have been told by many people as we have travelled through the country on our Campaign for the Regions, that they feel let down.

And that National has no sound policies to progress all of New Zealand. People are beginning to understand that now.


The wealth is getting sucked out of our regions with little payback. Our assets and land are being sold off to foreign buyers.

Regional roads and hospitals have been under-funded. And they’ve have turned their backs on our young people.

We have more than 90,000 young New Zealanders not in a job or training and National brings in cheap labour from overseas. They are just letting this problem grow.

REVIVING REGIONS There is a need to get resources flowing back to our regions – to revive our regions. And New Zealand First will do that. You need more central government funding for roads, infrastructure and hospitals. New Zealand First will make this happen.


The government takes the wealth out of this region. New Zealand First says money taken out of here in GST has to come back here. The government took in total $1.5b in GST from international visitors to New Zealand in the year to March 2016, and $950m the year before. Yet little has gone to councils that desperately need money for toilets, sewerage schemes and local road improvements to cope with tourist numbers. This has to end.


To make Gore and Southland prosper the farming community and exporters must have an exchange rate that supports them.

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.


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.


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.


A few months ago we saw the axe fall on Silver Fern Farms’ meat plant at Fairton near Ashburton.

Hundreds have been thrown out of work. The CEO of Silver Fern Farms said southern plants would not be affected and were safe “for now.”

That means anything can happen.

The fact is our red meat industry is in crisis whether commentators realise it or not.

The National government is leading this country along the road of foreign ownership and the main highway leads to China.

Did you not think it was strangely coincidental that shortly after Shanghai Maling obtained a controlling interest in Silver Fern Farms that the chilled lamb market miraculously opened up in China?

There might be a honeymoon period – but that soon quickly goes and the harsh reality sets in. We have a key export resource, red meat, with all its added value potential, rapidly passing into foreign ownership. The same is happening to dairying.


Dairy is our second biggest export earner behind tourism and is a major player in the Clutha economy. You would think we would have total control of this vitally important industry. We don’t.

We are steadily losing the added-value of our dairy produce.

Synlait with China’s Bright Dairy as shareholder, is now NZ’s largest manufacturer of finished Infant Formula. Last year China Animal Husbandry Group bought a 71.8 percent stake in Mataura Valley Milk.

About 50 per cent of what their new plant produces will be going to China. China Animal Husbandry Group (CAHB) president and Mataura Valley Milk Chairman Xue Tingwu said the Infant Formula market was expected to increase by 80 per cent during the next 10 years.

And guess who is going to get the added value of our milk on that one? We say handing over dominating control to Beijing or anywhere else overseas, is economic madness.

New Zealand First believes in economic nationalism and supporting our farmers. But we do not believe in handling over our wealth, our assets, our resources to foreigners.


How long will Gore and Southland be taken for granted? You have had poor representation. Your area has been an economic powerhouse for this country. But you have received little back. You are taken for granted. There must be a change.

New Zealand First has policies which will build a dynamic economy for our regions. We will ensure healthcare is available to those who want it and that roads are adequately funded.

Young people can expect to be trained for careers and not left to rot on the dole.

We will not allow our greatest assets to fall into the hands of foreign owners who will turn New Zealanders into serfs in their own country.

Join us.

Let’s make New Zealand a better place for you and your families.