While National’s Northland candidate Mark Osborne is making by-election port barrel promises that can be delivered – using taxpayer money – Winston Peters makes promises that he is very unlikely to be able to deliver on.
The NZ First website doesn’t appear to detail any of the promises being made.
There’s no detail about Northland promises, the website only refers to their 2014 policy manifesto. In that there’s only one reference to Northland, under MĀORI AFFAIRS :
New Zealand First will [lists a number of items including]:
- Maintain areas as Zones of High Housing Need (e.g. Northland, East Coast, Eastern Bay of Plenty). Such zones will have low deposit and low interest provisions made available to them. Encourage Maori to build houses on collectively owned land.
I haven’t seen him campaigning on that. He’s not targeting the Māori vote in Northland, who will largely be on a different roll, Te Tai Tokerau.
What about keeping Winston honest? He made a number of claims on Q & A yesterday:
Why should Northland voters put their trust in me? Well, I’ve got a track record for making things happen.
He’s been in Parliament for most of the last forty years. He’s made things happen at times past, like on the 1990’s and in coalition with Labour in 2005-2008 but the was rewarded by him and NZ First being dumped out of Parliament.
His track record for ‘making things happen’ in Northland is, ah, I don’t know. While he first stood in 1975 for Northern Maori he has never represented Northland (he was MP first for Hunua and later Tauranga before losing in 2005 by a wide margin).
NZ First haven’t stood a candidate in Northland for the last few elections.
My message is very simple to the National party voters – if you want an export-plus province, which you are, in the top of this country’s export wealth creators list to get a fair go, then you need someone who understands how the second-tier economy has happened and how you need a fairer go for farming, for fishing, and all those industries that used to provide full employment up there.
Understanding is one thing (and debatable), delivering is a different matter. Even if Peters did have some power in Opposition (he would have little) farming and fishing couldn’t be given special attention just in Northland,.
In short, the farming community knows that if the dollar was far better set – now, I don’t want to get complicated here – but if it was set to be sympathetic to exporters, then the north would be going so much better. And farming, for example, as the classic example of National party support, would not see one in four or five being seriously concerned about the bank that they are owing so much debt to now.
Not getting complicated means not explaining how he would set the dollar ‘far better’. He’s unlikely to be able to set the dollar at all. And if he could set the dollar it would be complicated, having a wider impact than on farming. Imports would be more expensive, including petrol.
Now, the fact is that up north, every industry that should be up is down, and everyone that should be down is up. In fact, it’s upside down there, and I’m committed to turning it the right way up.
No details on what that means and how he would turn things ‘the right way up’.
We’ll ensure they have a job with first-world wages, and we’ll make sure the employers get the tax concessions to keep them profitable.
What could he ensure? Targeted wage support, tax concessions and guaranteed profitability for Northland? While in Opposition?
I’m going to ensure that the wealth that Northland has – and it is serious – whether it be tourism, whether it be in forestry, whether it be in farming, whether it be in all sorts of horticulture and agriculture – which should be possible – is going to be freed up, but they are going to get the benefits of it.
Can we expect an explanation of what that means? Or details of how it could be done? Unlikely.
The Northland voters may give him a go but if he doesn’t keep his many promises he’s likely to be thrown out in the 2017 general election. And NZ First could be dumped with him.
From their website home page:
“New Zealand First is not afraid to confront Parliament head on and we refuse
to accept defeat in any cause we believe in.”
A win in Northland may be short term victory, but if they don’t deliver they may have accept whatever defeats the voters give them.