SPEECH: Rose-tinted Glasses Vs Reality

NZ First Rotorua Electorate Meeting,
Public Meeting,
June 24, 2pm.
Hangi and Concert Room,
Copthorne Hotel, Fenton St,

Our political masters are growing frenetic to convince all is going fantastically well - all you have to do is hang on a bit longer and you will get your rewards


Our political masters are growing frenetic to convince all is going fantastically well - all you have to do is hang on a bit longer and you will get your rewards.

You’ve been told this spin for over three decades.

You hear it here in Rotorua and the Bay of Plenty.

The population is up; business is booming; life’s great.

But hang on – let’s consider a few facts.

Unemployment in Bay of Plenty

Statistics New Zealand figures for the March 2017 quarter show nationally the unemployment rate is just below 5 per cent and that Bay of Plenty unemployment rose by 2.9 per cent to 7.6 per cent.   This region’s unemployment is now the second-highest rate in the country behind Northland and the highest it has been since December 2013.

Rotorua's unemployment rate, based on Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment figures, is 6.4 per cent.

A few weeks ago your local paper the Daily Post reported a woman moving to Rotorua last year after living in a tent for six months in Hawke's Bay.

The mother of two couldn’t get a job after nine months of looking even though she had more than four years' experience in the retail industry.

Another woman returned to her home town late last year after living in Perth for seven years. She started looking for work in the sales industry about four months ago, but was yet to get a job when the story was published. These are what every day New Zealanders are experiencing.   Yes, life is good for some but it’s not trickling down.

It’s blocked.

If you are down the scale – in the middle and below, then it’s a different ballgame entirely.

But let’s look beyond the spin.

1.   Over 130,000 New Zealanders are officially without a job, when one hour’s work a week represents a job.

2.   The government’s boast of GDP growth of  3% is bogus - the bulk of that is from a 2% annual population growth – and deduct that and you get 1 per cent.   3.   New Zealand’s productivity is low – well below better performing OECD countries and way behind Australia.

4.   The economy is fundamentally unbalanced.  National has done nothing to address the chronic balance of payments deficit which is $7 billion.   

5.   New Zealand remains massively indebted to the rest of world – with a net international liability of $156 billion.  

6.   The relentless flogging off of New Zealand assets goes on. According to the Overseas Investment Office 466,000 hectares of land was sold to offshore buyers in 2016 - five times more than the previous year.

7.   More than 90,000 New Zealanders aged from 15 to 24 are not in employment, education or training (NEET).

Let’s turn to tax cuts.  

The government’s made a lot of noise about their so-called surplus in this year’s budget, which was nothing more than exercise in creating accounting.   A surplus from under-funding - everywhere Any government can create a surplus if for years it under spends on nearly every sector.

We could recite a very long list that includes children in overcrowded schools being taught in corridors and sick people waiting years for the specialist medical treatment they urgently need.

Hospitals around the country are struggling to cope with an influx of patients – with DHBs in serious deficit everywhere.

In Whangarei, a Northland man recently waited all day, every day, for six days, to have a broken ankle attended to.

Almost on a weekly basis doctors and health professionals are warning of health services on the edge of collapse.

These conditions are a direct result of government conjuring up their bogus surplus irrespective of the cost inflicted on society and the environment.

There are many other issues and areas where the funding deficit is doing serious damage, for example;   

•      Poverty  

•      Mental health services

•      Conservation

•      Housing  

•      Bridges

•      Trains

•      Infrastructure

•      Roads

To say nothing of stopping contributions into the NZ Super Fund to assist with the future costs of retirement.

If the government was paying into the NZ Super Fund there would, on that payment alone, be no surplus – and how come commentators can’t get that simple fact?


Record net immigration is now at net over 73,000 per year as of last Wednesday.

Any government can get “growth” by mass immigration.

Question: Why stop at net over 73,000 new immigrants a year?   Why not net 173,000 a year?

Or further yet why not 273,000?

Think of it – then the government could boast that NZ has the highest economic growth rate in the world.

All three scenarios are ridiculous.

But this government will not come clean – and adjust its numbers to growth per capita, that is, GDP growth per person.

If they did, and it’s flat lining, you’d all know the truth.


Until immigration is drastically reduced any claims that politicians are serious about the housing crisis is just hot air – babble to conceal their real agenda.

And reduce it not from 73,000 to what Labour wants - 40,000 to 50,000 - but to 10,000,  the net number New Zealand First wants.

Auckland housing is now a full blown calamity.

Brian Rudman, said this in the NZ Herald, (May 17, 2017).

Economist Shamubeel Eaqub said denials of a housing crisis were now simply lies.

Our Prime Minister Bill English says we don’t have a housing crisis.

The facts tell a different story:   Auckland needs 14,000 new houses per annum just to cope with annual population growth. They are barely building half that. Already, there’s an estimated 40,000 shortfall in Auckland housing that has grown under National.

Tens of thousands of young Aucklanders will end up being renters for life.

And among them some of your children and grandchildren will be, unless something is done about it and now.

We’ll be releasing our housing policy for this election very shortly. It is realistic, based on the needs of New Zealanders now and into the near future.

It will be accompanied by a construction programme and financing land and house provisions to make these policies stack up.

Unlike the rest, we are going to build houses for people not the “market”.


We will turn the Overseas Investment Office from a toothless poodle into an effective watchdog with real teeth.   SAVINGS

Four Australian-owned banks dominate our banking sector.   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? As usual, AWOL - missing in action.    They are totally happy with 95% of the NZ banking system being owned overseas. It fits perfectly with their “sell-sell” agenda.

Given that NZ is already in net debt to the rest of the world to the tune of $156 billion it is long since time for action on this front.

New Zealand First will start by putting every central and local government account with KiwiBank.

We pay the money so our bank, not a foreign one, will clip the ticket.

CONSERVATION   Funding must match the task it faces.   Conservation must be for conservation’s sake not just for tourism’s sake.

New Zealand has among the highest proportion of threatened or endangered species – we are talking well over 2000 species on that list.

Endangered species in New Zealand are being sacrificed just so National can cook the books a bit longer.


The government’s track record on taking steps to reduce carbon emissions can be summed up in one word.


As the rest of the world moves forward and begins to tackle the great challenge of our time what has been happening in NZ?

NZ is going backwards.

Wellington is scrapping its trolley buses – a sustainable, low carbon form of public transport and replacing them with diesel buses spewing noxious emissions into the city’s streets.

KiwiRail is scrapping its electric locomotives on the North Island Main Trunk Line and replacing them with diesels.

These are staggeringly retrograde steps but they typify this government’s total failure in the area of climate change.    


We found out this week Clutha-Southland MP Todd Barclay lied to the public about making secret recordings of a staff member but 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.

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.

The PM needs to explain how national is using taxpayers’ money as a slush fund. Who set it up? Where’s the paperwork? How big is it? How big was the hush money settlement?

This was a secret contract to pay off a long term staffer where a crime was central to the settlement making the secret contract illegal, unenforceable and no longer protected by secrecy.

Mr English should welcome a Privilege Committee hearing – if he and the National Party have nothing to hide.

How can Todd Barclay hang on to his seat? There’s not a law for National and a law for everyone else.

Recently another National MP Alfred Ngaro said to people getting taxpayer funding, you bag us on the campaign trail and watch out, there won’t be money on the table.

One of those he attacked was the Salvation Army.

And beware the media - he accused John Campbell of making up stories of the homeless, as though people holed up in cars had been stage managed.

That is political arrogance.

There are numerous examples.

Health Minister Coleman calling critics of his mental health policy a bunch of Lefties.

Conservation Minister Barry bad mouthing critics of DOC underfunding.

Bill English saying there is no Auckland housing crisis when everyone not a signed up member of National says there is.

And then Nicky Wagner proved her mind was not on her job – tweeting she’d rather be out on Auckland Harbour than at a meeting on Disabilities of which she is Minister.

“Third term it is” has well and truly taken hold.


A contractor drilling holes at Pike River was gagged by his contract.

He was instructed to report to Solid Energy if anyone, particularly the media, approached him for information.

That’s how the disaster of 29 men dying is being handled.


My team went to Kaikoura because of complaints of slow progress on the roads.

The NZTA then had the gall to call up the helicopter firm and ask them who hired the aircraft.

What business is it of theirs?

They are a government appointed body but where is their independence?


We emailed St John to ask about new crewing proposals from government funding.

They wanted to know what the information was for, and copied their email reply to the Health Ministry.

This is just like the social housing providers. They were told if they had any media approach they must refer it back to the Ministry.

That’s a government starting to behave like the Mafia.


In the Northland by-election two years ago Whangarei MP Shane Reti phoned a resident and told her to stop complaining about a dusty road or any funds would dry up. Unfortunately for him she legally recorded the threat.


When two solo mums complained about cuts to training incentives Minister Paula Bennett ignored privacy laws by revealing how much those two received in welfare payments and generated a public backlash.

That’s vindictiveness at its worst.

Paula Bennett got her BA through such an allowance. She gets into political power and she scraps the allowance.


When the Human Right Commission criticised John Key increasing spy powers, he put the frighteners on them - he threatened to cut their funding.


Then there’s Act Party’s David Seymour, the MP in Parliament who got in on the coat tails of National.

He’s a bully too, a small one.

Mr Seymour not only visited a school to deter a manager from complaining in writing about policy, he went to his house.

He told him not to put his complaints in writing. The ACT Party is meant to the party of business but politically there is no demand for their political product and no market share so why is the media stoking up this twit?


In 2014 the Community Law Centre suspected its government funding was withdrawn because it spoke out about legal reform.

This followed other community groups saying they were being muzzled by fears that speaking out against government policies would result in losing funding.

All these stand-over tactics belong to another world, not New Zealand.

This is the party that has made a thousand cuts to community organisations – Women’s Refuge, Barnados, Presbyterian Support, Relationship Aotearoa, and a $13m cut to Adult Community Education in 2009, to name a few.


While all these shenanigans have been going on in Parliament one of the most serious frauds in New Zealand history has stayed under the radar.

As FujiFilms, the principals of FujiXerox New Zealand, have been lawyering up to take on a $500m fraud in New Zealand many commentators have just failed to grasp how serious this is.

The scandal is so serious that we say a full public inquiry should have been ordered a long time ago to pour some light on huge systemic business failure in this country.

It’s clear that Steven Joyce, Simon Bridges and this government are happy to deal with crooks.

Japan’s FujiFilms has appointed Meredith Connell, one of the government’s own criminal litigators to act in its interests. This shows the National Ministers and a number of useless butt-protecting officials to be the numbties they are.


NZ First does have a comprehensive set of policies to grow the economy in a way that will deliver decent jobs for Kiwis

And that is what NZ First will campaign on all the way to September 23.

NZ First will give New Zealanders a real choice in the 2017 election.

We need to follow a new path.

And with your support, we will.

Thank you.