SPEECH: Let's Drop Second Best

Public Meeting,
Kumeu Community Centre,
35 Access Rd, Kumeu,
1.30pm, Sunday, July 2, 2017

Thanks for the opportunity to speak to you today in Kumeu.

First, I would like to introduce you to three women, who I am proud to announce will be standing in this election for New Zealand First in this region.

Tracey Martin

Many of you will already know Tracey Martin MP. Tracey has been a tireless worker in her community and for her portfolios, for Women, Communication and IT, and Broadcasting and Education. She has made an outstanding contribution as Education Spokesperson. Her costed and extensively consulted policy to get rid of student loans for Kiwi graduates who stay and work here is a platform policy for New Zealand First. Tracey will be standing again in the Rodney electorate.

Anne Degia-Pala

We are also privileged to bring into our team, Anne Degia-Pala, a remarkable woman who is devoted to community development. She has the skills, the talent and most of all the enthusiasm and drive that every electorate needs. Anne will stand for the electorate of Kelston.

Helen Peterson

New Zealand First is also welcoming on board Helen Peterson who will stand in Helensville. Helen has worked for 15 years in the disability sector. She works as an advocate for vulnerable adults, including older New Zealanders. She has experience as an ACC negotiator and in small business, when she ran her own tourism company. She is a Justice of the Peace.

Kumeu

Kumeu is heartland West Auckland and different from any other part of Auckland. But you out here are caught up in the out-of-control sprawl of Auckland. You face transportation problems: Congestion on the Northwestern Motorway seven days a week. You are spectators to Special Housing Areas and large developments on prime agricultural land springing up. More people means more houses, which should go hand in hand with more services. But out here it doesn’t. The obvious, such as infrastructure, seems to have escaped most politicians’ minds - local and central. Kumeu has been targeted for massive growth - one thing would be certain, no-one has ever asked you what you think of that. A simpleton would realise many of the new residents here will need to travel to work, as locals do. Commuter rail is the most obvious answer. The rail line is already here. The station and platform is here. The rail cars are sitting idle, ready to be used. There’s land that could be bought for park and ride, after a government foolishly sold off station land. The rail line is inexplicably under used. Rail use will get cars off the road. It will relieve you of the agony of sitting in Auckland’s gridlock. Other Aucklanders who love to come to Kumeu for fairs and events should have another transport option. You just need leaders who will listen - who already know the value of rail. Cities around the world use rail efficiently. We need to get rid of politicians who can’t see past the end of their nose when it comes to planning. You have a right to demand “Trains to Huapai/Kumeu’’ -  it should be a number one priority in this area. New Zealand First is the only party with a long record of seeing the wisdom of rail - both for commuters and a national freight and passenger network. You face higher rates to cover the soaring road sealing costs whilst this government has taken money away from rural roads for the last eight years. Every day you pay for the government’s lack of planning, lack of vision – and lack of concern for ordinary New Zealanders.

This Country deserves better

This country deserves much better. And it can be better. Our history used to be one of achievement, we led the world once.

• New Zealand First wants New Zealanders in decent jobs. • New Zealand First wants proper training to equip our young people. • Homes built for New Zealanders, not for an international market. • At least 1800 more frontline police to fight crime. • Infrastructure investment at the same time as any population expansion. • First World products being used in our buildings. • Funding to rebuild our health and hospital services. • Real policies to increase our productivity so stagnant under National. • Trade deals that work for us not just other economies. • Politicians and leaders who listen to the people’s needs rather than lecture them. • A country where there is one law for everyone and not different standards depending upon race, your politics, your nationality or your level of wealth.

A divided New Zealand

After more than eight years of National we have a country that has become deeply divided. The mass immigration crisis has added fuel to a chronic housing crisis - neither of which the government will recognise. Auckland is more than 40,000 houses short. Last year only 7200 houses were completed in city. Hospitals throughout the country are at or near crisis point with huge DHB deficits. Roads, highways and transportation have become acute problems. Our waterways have become seriously polluted and we allow foreign corporates to bottle our water for next to nothing and sell it for millions. Many young New Zealanders are at a loose end and without hope – more than 90,000 aged 15 to 24 are without a job and not in training or education. We have around 139,000 unemployed. And we bring in more than 73,000, many low-skilled workers, whilst leaving New Zealanders to rot on the dole. We have a Prime Minister who is slithering and sliding trying to save his neck with the Todd Barclay debacle after slithering and sliding over Pike River. Every New Zealander will be questioning Bill English’s honesty and integrity. And many National voters have had a gutsful of what is going on.

A Country of Great Potential

New Zealand is still a Country of Great Potential –  but it is not being realised. We have fallen way short of what we could and should have been. We should be investing in research and development; reviving our regions, stimulating local economies, and exporting more than twice what we are doing now, investing in skills and jobs, rebuilding our health system. We need to revive the vision we once had for the country when we believed in ourselves, and backed ourselves, and built a country the size of the UK, with every modern facility, but with only the population of Manchester. After decades of economic experimentation, it is not ordinary New Zealanders who have benefited – it is the elite. The ones who think they know what is best for you and your families when in the end it’s all about what’s best for them.

Foreign control

New Zealanders used to be proud of being in control of our own destiny. Slowly, through globalism and its adherents in the Beehive, the economic drivers of our national economy are also being lost to foreign interests. Bill English is a globalist; so too was John Key, but why dwell on the past. If a billionaire like Peter Thiel wanted citizenship. No worries, National would fix it. Dairy is our second biggest export earner behind tourism. You would think we would have total control of this vitally important industry. We don’t. Chinese companies Evergrand, Synlait, Yashili, Yili/Oceania Dairy and the Chinese controlled Mautaura Valley Milk have tied up Infant Formula production here. China own, operate and control the supply chain from New Zealand to the baby’s mouth in China. Meat is our third highest earner. Shanghai Maling has the majority shareholding in our biggest red meat company Silver Fern Farms, and are calling the shots. A Chinese company has a controlling interest in one of our major agricultural supply businesses PGG Wrightson. Forestry is our next biggest export earner. Eight of the top 10 forest companies in New Zealand are overseas controlled. They are clear felling our forests and shipping out mountain loads of raw logs, whilst New Zealand timber businesses are struggling to get a supply of logs. New Zealand is a rich country but we are letting other strip our riches away – allowing others to profit not ourselves. Some of our best farmland is being sold off to foreign interests. Last year the Overseas Investment Office rubber-stamped sales of thousands of hectares of prime farmland to overseas buyers. Four Australian-owned banks dominate our banking sector - 95% of the NZ banking system is owned overseas. These banks remit billions of profits, dividends and other payments each year creating an enormous drain on our economy and the balance of payments. But where is our government on this? Acting as New Zealand Number One Salesman of assets and real estate. Nowhere.

NZ a dumping ground

On the other side of the globalism ledger we have become a dumping ground. Cheap sub-standard steel is being dumped here. There has been a flood of cheap imported plumbing products.

Unlike Australia, which has a compulsory system of assessing performance of products, known as Watermark, we have a voluntary system.

Estimates are that up to half New Zealand’s new homes have unregulated plumbing products installed.

Homes built in the Christchurch Rebuild and those now getting built in Auckland are going to start falling apart in 10 years’ time, maybe sooner. In March last year Standards NZ became incorporated with the Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment. Standards NZ is as inept as the Overseas Investment Office. Graham Burke, president of the Specialist Trade Contractors’ Federation says (NZ Herald, June 28) problems have become acute. “There is a lack of leadership and transparency, weak structures and lack of accountability.” He says the public should know standards have dropped and regulators like MBIE are not enforcing the existing standards. It’s a chaotic free-for-all. The cowboys are running amok. A managing director of an Auckland real estate firm said (NZ Herald, June 23) a future disaster was emerging in buildings with poor quality materials being used and substandard design and construction. Sub-standard plumbing, cladding, wiring, roofing products and walls are commonplace. Steel mesh is of abominable quality. How did this state of affairs develop?

CTV tragedy

Did the National government learn nothing from the Christchurch earthquakes? Do they not know that 115 people died in the collapse of the CTV building in Christchurch. Some of them, perhaps all of them, could be alive today, if proper standards were enforced. The CTV building has been described as “poorly, designed, poorly managed, poorly built, partially reinforced subjected to unconsented changes of use, with limited earthquake inspections.” (The Press, June 3, 2017).

No accountability

Yet, like Pike River – no-one has been held accountable. How many other potential death traps are being built in New Zealand at this very moment? Buildings are being constructed with cheap rubbish dumped here from overseas. The industry is increasingly employing cheap overseas labour as they cut corners and use unskilled workers to meet tight market demands. If something goes seriously wrong – we know what will happen, we’ve seen the fall-out from the CTV building and Pike River: No-one is held accountable. The foul stench of cover-ups from Pike River to the Todd Barclay debacle is in the air.

Conclusion

Ladies and gentlemen, we have 84 days to go to the General Election. Eight-four days for you to decide whether you are going to put up with what you have now, or aspire for something much better. It is possible with New Zealand First. This year’s election provides the opportunity. It’s now or never for New Zealand. Everyone must contribute to serious economic and social change, and it starts with your vote. With your help, together we can be certain of a great future.