Speech: Rt Hon Winston Peters - The farcical virtuous circle, immigration is the economy
Speech to Auckland Rotary Club,
Stamford Plaza, 22 Albert St,
12.45pm-1.45pm, Monday, June 19, 2017
Thank you for the invitation to speak here today.
Fully aware as one’s experience tells you that this is not an audience susceptible to conversion when the facts are laid out.
That said, it is the intention of this address, to lay some facts before you which you are going to have to live with whether you like it or not.
The first fact is, “you can have great wealth in the hands of a few or you can have democracy and stability – but you can’t have both.”
Anyone who follows international events knows that we are in troubling, restless and uncertain times.
There is growing discontent in many democracies.
People are increasingly dissatisfied with what the major establishment parties of both the Left and Right have delivered.
Any society that allows a pool of discontented and disaffected young people to grow is playing with fire.
Not giving our young people a proper place in our society is hazardous.
Because it is fundamental for a healthy society for everyone to feel they have a stake in their society and its wellbeing.
In New Zealand First we say it is vital for all young New Zealanders to have a physical and financial stake in our country.
One way to ensure that the young are invested in their own country is through home ownership.
People who are buying their own home have a purpose, a direction, and a structure for their lives.
People who are buying a home put down roots in their community – because they have a stake in it.
And secure housing is vital in creating the conditions for raising families.
They are not then vulnerable to the blandishments of trouble makers.
For that reason every New Zealand government prior to this one has worked hard to create the conditions that favour widespread home ownership.
But thanks to both Labour, first, and then National that era has ended.
The idea that all New Zealanders who worked hard and saved could own their own home has vanished.
Of course there are young people who do get into their own home, if they are fortunate, often with the assistance of the bank of Mum and Dad.
Both this route to home ownership is patchy and uneven.
Soaring property prices have shut out a large proportion of young Kiwis from ever entering the housing market.
What an achievement!
Killing the Kiwi dream of home ownership for so many.
Young people also face another challenge in putting down roots and being connected to New Zealand society – job security – or more correctly – job insecurity.
The official statistics for the first quarter of 2017 show that the rate of youth unemployment is deeply concerning.
The proportion of youth (15–24 years) not in employment, education, or training (NEET) is running at almost 13% - (12.8% actual according to HLFS).
We are talking about over 90,000 young New Zealanders.
That is another number, or dismal fact, the Government never mentions in its spin about the economy.
Stable employment for those who want it, at decent pay rates is an important social goal.
Uncertain work prospects undermines commitment to a community.
It is fashionable for media types to talk about the “gig economy” as something trendy and hip.
Those who are forced to operate in such an ephemeral, transitory and casualised labour market will use less charitable words – because they face the reality of uncertain and precarious employment.
The big-business/corporate world is fond of “flexibility” but that should not obscure the downside for those compelled to have to earn a living under conditions of continual uncertainty.
Such uncertainly over a fundamental factor in life inevitably creates social stress and erodes social cohesion.
A home and a job – those are core aspects of every adult life.
Labour and then National’s shameful failure in both areas has blighted the lives of countless Kiwis.
The truth is that after 32 years of the neo-liberal experiment the character and the quality of our country has changed dramatically, and much of it for the worse.
For those who try to refute that statement let them give us the evidence of how we have risen in the graphs of real economic comparisons and not have countless alternative facts susceptible to various sociological interpretations and beloved only in the eye of the beholder.
Such as – show us one piece of economic analysis, just one piece, that says mass immigration is good for a modern economy.
In New Zealand First we assert that the old parties callous economic experimentation has served New Zealand badly – and that younger New Zealanders in particular, are paying a high price for their short-sighted and irresponsible policies. And much of what we used to own in our economy is now foreign owned and in control of outsiders.
Instead of tackling the housing crisis and the shortage of decent, secure jobs the National Government has pursued policies that could only worsen the situation in both areas.
Allowing unprecedented levels of immigration – a staggering 72,000 net migrants a year - directly impacts housing and jobs.
You heard that correctly. There is no mistake.
Yes, incredible as it sounds, New Zealand is adding a whopping 72,000 extra people a year through immigration most of whom have come to Auckland.
It is as plain as day - immigrants need housing and jobs themselves.
Notice they don’t bring housing and jobs with them!
But only one political party in New Zealand understood that for a long time.
The other parties and this government’s policy has now descended to a circular argument.
Labour admitted that last week. On this matter their policy is identical to National’s.
So here is their FARCICAL VIRTUOUS CIRCLE.
“We need more migrants, to build the houses and the roads for migrants.”
What utter stupendous, imbecilic, idiotic, moronic nonsense.
Yet these parties are in total denial of the facts - they have either the arrogance or stupidity to pretend this isn’t so.
Ministers like Nick Smith run around touting endless schemes to “solve” the housing crisis but notice these plans are always going to happen sometime soon, or next year, or over 10 years, and maybe never.
Notice there is never any actual delivery date and each plan supersedes its predecessor. They are castles in the air.
If we had a government that was actually serious about improving the housing and employment prospects of young people we would see action.
It would pull the obvious lever it does have – and close the open immigration door.
In an interview on Radio New Zealand’s Morning Report on 12 June the Prime Minister let the cat out of the bag and revealed what is actually behind the absurd level of immigration.
When asked why there was not a drastic cutback to immigration his reply was that if that happened it would stall the economy.
Bingo! So that’s how strong the economy really is.
In effect, Bill English is saying “IMMIGRATION IS THE ECONOMY”
So if the brakes are applied, collapse is on the cards.
At last the admission that the whole dishonest show on the economy is a con.
It’s only the trick of massive immigration – a sort of economic sugar hit - that makes GDP “growth” look good.
Who can recall when New Zealand enjoyed high quality public services?
The times when our schools, hospitals, prisons, and infrastructure were not grappling with overload.
Today it is only the dedication and commitment of those in public services that are keeping so many systems from collapse.
We say that it is not a utopian dream for all New Zealanders to have access to first world standard health and education services
By sleight of hand and trickery National has taken what once Kiwis took for granted as reasonable and achievable expectations and made them only for the lucky few.
In addition, the government has taken no steps to ensure that our rapidly growing population stays cohesive.
Although they are careful to conceal their real agenda, they are still locked into the way of thinking advocated by Margaret Thatcher who declared: “There is no such thing as society.”
In NZ First we could not disagree more.
All our policies are framed with a concern for the future health and security of New Zealand as a whole.
The New Zealand national interest is our starting point.
And there is one overriding imperative right now that is in the national interest and it is to cut back immigration to a sensible level.
We mean closer to 10,000 highly skilled immigrants a year, not 72,000 mostly unskilled immigrants per year.
Our policy will immediately brighten the housing and employment prospects for younger Kiwis.
Because a common sense immigration policy is basic to ensuring every Kiwi gets to have a meaningful stake in their society.
If we don’t deal to this crisis created by the other political parties support or condonation of mass immigration we can’t effectively deal with any other concern.
And because of the magnitude of their shorts-sightedness it is going to take well over a decade to fix up.
But beginning with this issue New Zealand First has the policies to rebuild this country and when our manifesto is out soon I trust you will read it.
In the next 96 days you are going to see or hear numerous speculative comment on what New Zealand First is going to do and you can be certain of one thing. None of those commentators will be reciting anything I said.
So under-resourced are the media these days that news reporting has been devalued and unsupported in favour of mindless speculation, opining, editorialising, and vacuous explanation have become the substitute.
But the great news, confirmed from overseas evidence, is that those in politics who speak straight to the people, do gain their support.
That, ladies and gentlemen, explains our inexorable rise in 2017.