SPEECH: Rt Hon Winston Peters at Queenstown Public Meeting
Queenstown Memorial Hall, Cnr Memorial and Stanley Street, Queenstown, March 9, 6.30pm
NZ is becoming a house divided under National
Thank you for your invitation to speak tonight.
It’s great to be in the tourism centre of the South and also earlier today to visit that other magnificent tourist resort town, Wanaka.
This area is famed for its wonderful scenery, adventure tourism, bungy jumping and wonderful wines.
Bungy jumping is not on the list of things to do for this visit but perhaps a glass of wine might be enjoyed!
New Zealand First has often been called racist.
We are not.
We do not believe in race-based politics.
We believe in all New Zealand citizens being equal before the law.
No favours, no privileges – everyone equal regardless of ethnic background, religion or beliefs.
That is the bedrock principle on which this country was built.
But in New Zealand today, this principle is now under serious threat.
American president Abraham Lincoln once said, “A house divided against itself cannot stand".
That is where New Zealand is headed.
The National government is hand-in-hand with the Maori Party and leading this country down the garden path of separatism.
We saw this past week the Māori Party calling for a dropping in the retirement age for Māori and Pacific Islanders because those two groups generally have lower life expectancy than others.
That is separatism again – Maori and Pacific Islanders should be encouraged and helped to improve their "health" before asking for early retirement.
In a fair, just society no-one receives preferential treatment.
New Zealand First does not approve of the Maori King Kiingi Tuheitia endorsing political parties either. This week he endorsed Rahui Papa as a candidate in the Hauraki-Waikato electorate.
In his annual speech at Turangawaewae earlier in the year he said he would not vote for the Labour Party again and supported the Maori and Mana parties.
There’s no way his predecessor the Maori Queen would ever have done that.
She knew there are different political views in the Kingitanga movement, and she had to stay above politics.
We think the King should also be above party politics.
RMA – impediment to growth
This past week also proposed changes to the Resource Management Act with the Resource Legislation Amendment Bill had its second reading in Parliament.
The RMA has long been identified as being a farcical in certain instances and an impediment to the economic development of this country.
On one occasion Sir Bob Jones had to fork out $4500 for a resource consent and a cultural impact assessment, after consulting with 13 iwi, all because a reinstated window looked over a designated heritage site in Auckland.
If you went and asked small and medium business owners from North Cape to the Bluff, and no doubt here in Queenstown, what they think of the RMA – the response would be heated to say the least.
New Zealand First has for a long time supported common sense changes to the RMA.
Amendment Bill flawed
National spoke once of making reforms but virtually none of those they once mentioned are in their Resource Legislation Amendment Bill.
Contentious, highly controversial reforms that will structure our country along the lines of separatism are included and they are a threat to our democracy.
More power to Maori elite
Resource Legislation Amendment Bill will hand over enormous power to Marama Fox’s Māori elite – not for 99 percent of Maori.
Iwi will become consenting authorities either as a stand-alone full consenting authority or in a joint consenting role along with local councils.
Under the new bill, every council in New Zealand will be required by law, to invite the local iwi to “discuss, agree and record ways in which tangata whenua” through iwi authorities, can participate in the formulation of policy plans, including water management plans.
All of this has to happen within just 30 days of a council being elected.
The Freshwater Iwi Leaders Group has stated that among their goals is owning all Crown owned river and lake beds and the water column.
Once Environment Minister Nick Smith was opposed to race-based resource management.
But as soon as the Maori Party applied the heat and told National to accommodate iwi or else, he and National capitulated.
He and the National government chose Iwi over Kiwi.
We saw the same thing this past week with National. John Key said he would not touch NZ Super.
But the man who has stepped into his shoes Bill English said National will increase the age of eligibility from 65 to 67. This is just another in a long list of U-turns over NZ Super by National.
As far as the Resource Legislation Amendment Bill is concerned, National have been ‘brown-mailed’ into making policy concessions to the Maori Party.
They didn’t have the guts to stand up to the Maori Party.
Nor did they have the common sense to look around to the one party that could help them - New Zealand First.
New Zealand First has repeatedly offered to the government our 12-votes to secure major RMA reform.
But our condition for that support is simple and that is for reform to be based upon the principle of one law for all.
But National cannot bring themselves to uphold that basic principle of our democracy.
Ladies and gentlemen, the proposed changes to the RMA are a signal flare to the entire country.
We are no longer one people.
We are moving towards two separate groups with separate rights.
We are ignoring the wisdom of the past.
Aristotle once said:
“The only stable state is one in which all men are equal before the law.”
National have forgotten that.
If this flawed Resource Legislation Amendment Bill is not thrown out, then fasten your seatbelts, because your children and your children’s children are going to be in for a rocky ride.
And if you want it thrown out – then only one party will be making it happen.
New Zealand First.
National’s empty promises
As we are always reminded, Auckland is bursting at the seams with housing, congested roads, crowded hospitals and schools, all driven by out of control immigration.
You face similar problems – but unlike Auckland – you are being left alone to deal with them.
You do not have the power and clout of Auckland.
Your roads are proving inadequate; you have a major problem over housing and housing affordability.
Accommodation for workers has been stretched to the limit and that problem has spread to Cromwell and beyond where seasonal workers have to live in tents.
All the government can give you are promises – and more promises – like making New Zealand predator free by 2050, or 90 per cent of rivers swimmable 80 per cent of the time by 2040.
These are just pie in the sky promises and National love making them.
They know they will be long gone from parliament by 2040 and 2050.
Last year Transport Minister Simon Bridges came to Queenstown and said four-laning Kawarau Rd, between the BP station and airport roundabouts, was on the New Zealand Transport Agency's long-term work list and he would ask the agency to bring that forward.
We’ve been hearing this sort of thing from Mr Bridges in Northland.
He talks big.
This week he said the government would upgrade State Highway 1 between Whangarei and Oakleigh at a cost of up to $500 million.
Seeing is believing.
This is just another of his whopping promises.
In the 2015 Northland by-election National made all sorts of promises.
They promised ten double lane bridges in Northland and apart from one sod turning ceremony, work has not begun on a single one of them.
So, unfortunately, do not get your hopes up about four laning Kawarau Rd or about a promise for a new two-lane Kawarau Bridge either.
Also, last year then Prime Minister John Key came to Queenstown on the promising trail.
He pledged the Government would ''do more and spend more'' in Queenstown.
He announced last year as well that a $1 billion infrastructure fund would be established.
But the $1 billion fund will not even remotely cope with houses needed for new immigrants, let alone the country’s natural population increase.
The simple reality is the government has seriously under-funded provincial New Zealand and centres like Queenstown.
Asian Infrastructure Bank
The government flogged off our state assets built up over generations.
The money went into the Future Investment Fund which was launched in 2011.
They used the fund to pay a $140 million contribution to the Chinese led Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank.
The money will be used to build roads, schools and hospitals – but not in New Zealand.
The government also agreed to have $56.1 million available to the Chinese bank to be called on.
That total amount of money - $700 million – could have been invested in New Zealand infrastructure to help places like Queenstown.
But it has gone to the Chinese Infrastructure Investment Bank.
Government all take, no give over tourism
Last year the only money the government would give councils up and down the country struggling to provide infrastructure to cope with massive demands from tourists was $12 million from a Regional Mid-Sized Tourist Facilities Grant Fund.
This is pitiful.
Tourism Industry Aotearoa TIA, said $100 million was needed.
This week Associate Tourism Minister Nicky Wagner had the cheek to say there was “a great response” for the $12 million funding, and that it was over-subscribed.
What did she expect when councils are desperate to get their hands on some money to build infrastructure?
She said total international spend in New Zealand is expected to reach $16 billion in 2022, up 65.5 per cent from 2015.
But where is the funding help to cope with this growth?
She could only mention that Regional Mid-Sized Tourist Facilties Grant Fund which deals in peanuts and a project called – ‘Project Palace.’
She said ‘Project Palace’ would accelerate new private sector investment in New Zealand’s hotel infrastructure from outside New Zealand.
No mention of roads, toilets or general infrastructure.
In a special report (Tourism Infrastructure Study, November 30, 2016) TIA said under-investment in tourism and infrastructure ‘could potentially reverse the benefits New Zealand has enjoyed from its robust tourism growth to date.’
Even Ms Wagner recognised this when she said on Thursday that if social impacts and environmental risks were not addressed there could be “some impact on the visitor experience.”
That is happening already.
We have freedom campers treating our outdoors as a toilet.
But tourism centres and councils are being denied financial support from this government which at the same time is creaming off $929 million from GST on international visitor spending each year.
This $929 million provides a $630 million surplus.
How much of that money trickles back to Queenstown, Wanaka, Cromwell and Central Otago which draw in hundreds of thousands of tourists every year?
The bottom line is: The government has collected millions of dollars in GST from international tourism.
For the money they are getting out of tourism, they are giving back peanuts.
A lot more of that money should be going to councils to assist with their infrastructure demands.
New Zealand First will make sure that happens.
This year voters will have to ask themselves some serious questions.
Do they want to see New Zealand become a house divided?
Do they want to allow National and the Maori Party to take New Zealand into a troubled and difficult future with their separatism?
And here in Queenstown – do you want to go on hearing promises which are just hot air?
Do you want to go on seeing the government take massive amounts of money out of the tourism sector and giving back next to nothing?
If you don’t – you will have to vote for change, and for New Zealand First.
Because New Zealand First assures you – when we become part of government - there will be change.