SPEECH: Facts On Super And Separatism

Speech Grey Power Celebrating Age Centre,
Victoria St South,
Hamilton.
11am, Monday, July 3, 2017

FACTS ON SUPER AND SEPARATISM

No doubt you are tired of hearing about the Todd Barclay and the “Dodgy Bill” debacle. And about American billionaires fronting up with suitcases of cash, buying a New Zealand passport after 12 days, and disappearing back to San Francisco. It’s time for some good news. Today we are announcing an insulation programme to make sure all New Zealanders have warm homes. Not just for some of the fortunate ones – but all New Zealand. We will also remind you of our KiwiFund policy which will work for the good of New Zealanders. Not the banks and finance houses which are creaming off massive profits. And we will tell you why we are against the separatism of National and the other political parties.

NZ FIRST’S INSULATION POLICY

Last week the government announced eligibility to insulate homes would be extended to include low income homeowners in addition to landlords with low income or high health need tenants. They said over eight years about 300,000 homes have been insulated through the Warm-Up NZ insulation programmes. What the government and Prime Minister Bill English did not say is that this same programme will be axed next year. • They did not mention that 530,000 New Zealand homes still have no insulation or inadequate insulation. • They did not mention that the health of thousands of young and elderly New Zealanders will be put at risk when the programme is axed. Research by Motu Economics revealed that if houses are warmer children are more likely to go to school and less likely to get sick. • The government did not mention the Energy, Efficiency and Conservation Authority staff who have installed the insulation have been given termination notices. • They did not mention they cut funding to the programme last year excluding hard working New Zealanders who have diligently saved to buy their own home – homeowners - and gave a higher rate of subsidy for landlords to insulate their properties. But the landlords have not taken up the offer. Even Building and Construction Minister Nick Smith said landlords have failed to meet their legal obligations. That’s a first - a minister owning up to one of their policies failing. And we have the prime minister who talks big about social investment but has cut a programme that helps homes to be warm and healthy for people of limited financial means. New Zealand First has a policy to insulate homes and houses which need it. Our Insulate NZ programme will be a Public Private Partnership (PPP) and target the remaining 530,000 homes. We will aim to insulate 53,000 homes each year at $1000 for each house which works out at $53 million a year over 10 years. Just by way of comparison the government has spent $630 million on the Kapiti to Levin autobahn which after six months use is being ripped up to perform repairs. We will work with the private sector to deliver the programme. Under the previous Warm-Up NZ programme more than $200 million was contributed by the private sector over five years. New Zealand First will make sure homes are made warmer, healthier. We want an end to what was reported last week – the story of a Kapiti family who said their rental property was so mouldy, damp and hard to heat that they would be better off living in a tent. In May their daughter got sick. The mother said: "Our baby has been admitted to hospital three times with respiratory problems. "The third time it was quite bad because she ended up in ICU with bronchiolitis." New Zealand First will work to end this shocking situation.

KIWISAVER – THE BANKER’S GOLDEN GOOSE

KiwiSaver has just turned 10. New Zealand First says it has become the golden goose for bankers. As we build up our retirement nest eggs in KiwiSaver accounts, the banks and money houses that run the schemes put their hands in and remove as much as they like in the form of fees. ANZ holds one in four (a quarter) of the KiwiSaver accounts and takes a fortune in fees. ANZ has a record of doing well out of a government founded scheme. It took over popular Bonus Bonds and takes a high 1.3 % of the value of the fund as a manager’s fee earning itself tens of millions a year. The question is, why is the government allowing our retirement savings to be prey to excessive profits? We pay the fees whether our savings go up or down and there is no comeback. It would be better for us all if our KiwiSaver money has the option of a government guaranteed, government run scheme. At least give us this choice. Just as we have with the banking option of Kiwibank, a government run bank.

THE TRUE STATE OF KIWISAVER

Ten years since its inception 2.7 million New Zealanders have signed up to KiwiSaver but half are no longer contributing and half of the working age are not signed up at all. In these circumstances it is clear the scheme should always have been compulsory which is something we put to a referendum 20 years ago. Sadly in the maelstrom of politics we were voted down. But that didn’t vote away the problem.

KIWIFUND

New Zealand First has already proposed KiwiFund. It would have minimal fees, be government run, government guaranteed and the money deposited would primarily be invested in New Zealand for the growth of the country and it would stay in New Zealand. It’s time we had a better choice. Too much of the money we have saved is in private hands, where profits are likely to disappear overseas. We should have the chance to choose a government-run scheme, where the money stays in New Zealand and works for New Zealand.  It’s about putting New Zealanders and New Zealand First.

RETIREMENT AND THE ONE PARTY TO TRUST

New Zealand First is proud of the fact we introduced the SuperGold Card to improve the quality of life of New Zealand’s seniors to acknowledge their contribution to our society, and make their Super go further. There was a lot of opposition especially from National. They thought it was too expensive. But we persevered and established a research team to design the SuperGold Card launched in August 2007. Since then the SuperGold Card has been an enormous success and has greatly improved the lives of tens of thousands of Seniors.

NATIONAL OPPOSED THE CARD

National would love to have dumped the SuperGold Card years ago –if they could. But they woke up to the fact the card had been hugely successful. They knew there would be too great a backlash from the voters, so they let it carry on. They kept on sniping though. Steven Joyce tried to axe free SuperGold Card transport on off-peak transport services. NZ First took up the battle on behalf of our Seniors again and won. Then National capped the transport component of the card. Last year Seniors Minister Maggie Barry said SuperGold Card holders would have to buy new smartcards to get free travel on public transport in off-peak hours in Auckland. But she had her way and tens of thousands of cardholders were inconvenienced and had to pay $10 to get new smartcards. Then in the Grey Power national magazine recently she had the cheek to say the National Party had built the card into the great success it is today. “We have built the card into the great success it is and National remains absolutely committed to growing its value and usefulness.” Don’t be taken in by this tripe. You have only one true friend in parliament. New Zealand First. We alone have the record to back it up.

SUPERGOLD HEALTH CHECK BILL

Next in 2015 we wanted to introduce our SuperGold Health Check Bill before Parliament. The intention of the bill was to provide three free GP visits with the SuperGold Card each year. Grey Power supported this bill. Unfortunately United Future, ACT and National did not. It lost by a single vote. New Zealand First’s policy is to give three free doctors’ visits a year. If only one percent of those who get these doctors’ visits don’t go to the hospital this policy is cost neutral. But in addition we will finance one free eye check a year. The total cost of vision loss from macular degeneration is estimated to be $391 million in 2016. 1.5 million New Zealanders are at risk of this very real problem. We plan to save thousands of people from simply going blind because the state could not see the sense in helping them not to.

NZ SUPER

National doesn’t like NZ Super either. Like the SuperGold Card, they think it’s too expensive. Labour are all over the show with NZ Super too. The last two elections, in 2011 and 2014, Labour said they wanted to bump the retirement age up to 67. This election Labour has done a somersault. They’re back to 65 for the retirement age. Before the last election National said they wouldn’t touch NZ Super. Now they’ve flip flopped as well. They want the age up to 67 - by 2040. Only one party has fought for and defended NZ Super – New Zealand First. We wanted government contributions into the NZ Superannuation Fund, or Cullen Fund. National didn’t. They pulled the pin and then started taxing the Fund. If they had kept contributing $2 billion a year to the Cullen Fund it would now be worth $50 billion, instead of $33 billion.

KEY TO AFFORDABILITY

Ignore all the fear-mongering from the National Party spin machine about NZ Super being unaffordable. It is affordable. The secret to maintaining NZ Super’s affordability is increasing the size of our economic cake, restoring productivity, and controlling immigration. This is achievable, but not with present and recent policies.

IMMIGRATION

For a long time New Zealand First has been a lone voice warning of the consequences of mass immigration. Other “Johnny come latelies” have piped up recently. But we’ve been warning about the downside of immigration for years. No country can take net 73,000 people a year – a town the size of Rotorua, and most going to Auckland. Compare the UK government’s net immigration target. For a country of 65 million people the UK target is 100,000 net. And now a growing number of New Zealanders are becoming concerned. We’ll bring it down to 10,000.

HOUSING

In 2007 John Key said there was a housing crisis. He had all sorts of solutions. He got into government in 2008. And did nothing. He even denied there was a housing crisis. So we’ve had nine years of no housing relief but a growing population.

Nick Smith as Housing Minister has been an embarrassment. Only 7200 new houses were completed in Auckland in 2016. It needs double that number each year.

HEALTH

DHBs all over the country are having to watch every cent because of under-funding. There is a desperate need for more theatres, waiting rooms, beds. DHBs have been told to cost cut. Staff don’t take holidays, jobs remain unfilled. That’s no way to ruin a health system. You all pay your taxes.

THE NATIONAL PARTY AND SEPARATISM

You will recall in 2005 the National Party campaigned on Kiwi not Iwi. Since coming to power in 2008 they have headed down the pathway to separatism without any consultation with you.

National’s race-based planning is here with the Waikato Regional Council voting last week to give water allocation and trading rights to Waikato Iwi.

Everything this National Government said would not happen, is happening.    Waikato Regional Council has approved as a high priority policy: “Iwi rights and interests in fresh water agreed with central government are recognised and provided for”.  They even define success as being: “when Iwi have adequate access and rights to water”.    The implications are massive and turns upside down Waikato’s already controversial Variation 6.  Those allocated water will see that clawed-back and given to Waikato Iwi who’ll be free to use it as they see fit.    This includes selling it back to those it was taken from, but of course, with a margin on top. The Sicilian Mafia would be envious of such a protection racket as it is Koha for Consents.

Yet Waikato Iwi will not be subject to the same nutrient and farming limitations as everyone else, but everyone else will be expected to meet ever tighter water quality rules.  This is “farm as I say and not as I farm” with everyone but Waikato Iwi copping the blame and the costs.

It’s a greenlight for full scale water trading so long as you are from the right Iwi.  The gerrymandering even extends to stacked Waikato Iwi representation on the re-established Tuwharetoa Maori Trust Board and Waikato Regional Council Co-Governance Committee.

This is a complete and utter sell out by National.  The dripping liberal wets in National have become the guilt-ridden hand-wringing European branch of the Maori Party.

National’s coterie of quislings have peddled lie after lie like repeatedly saying that ‘owning a resource like water is as nonsensical as a resource like air.’  If that’s true, what on earth are “Iwi rights and interests in fresh water agreed with central government”?

And then you have it – separatism by stealth.

CONCLUSION

New Zealand First will bring some light and warmth for all New Zealanders. Not just some – the elite. We don’t have to have cold homes, hospitals that have cut their budgets to the bone; or families living in cars. Too many have accepted this is the way it is and it won’t change. It won’t change if you want to follow the same path. Decades of neo-liberalism have split and divided this country and denied tens of thousands of New Zealanders opportunities and a standard of living which were once the norm. New Zealand First has policies that will turn this country around, We will build a dynamic economy, rebuild our healthcare, revive our regions and bring a brighter future for you and your families. This country needs new leadership and a vision. New Zealand First has it. Working together we can make New Zealand the country it could be – the country it should be.