Marama Davidson’s conference speech

Co-leader Marama Davidson’s speech at the 2018 Green party conference.

Karanga Hokianga, ki o tamariki, he uri rātou, he mōrehu.

Kohikohia rā, kei ngā hau e wha

Kōrerotia – ko wai rātou.

Kōrerotia – ko wai rātou.

Kei aku nui, kei aku rahi, i te tī, i te tā – tēnā koutou.

Rangitāne, ka tū te manawa i tō whenua ātaahua, i ō manaaki ki a mātou, hei te mana o te whenua – tēnā koutou.

Ki a koutou te hunga kākāriki, nāku te whiwhi kia kōrero atu ki a koutou i tāku hui-ā-tau tuatahi hei kaiārahi takirua o te rōpū nei – tēnā koutou.

Kia ora tātou katoa.

Hokianga Whakapau Karakia

Exactly a week ago I was being called on to my marae in Whirinaki, in Hokianga, by my home people.

They had been planning this event for months to celebrate my election as Co-leader of the Green Party. Their pride in me was humbling.

I was joined by my other hapū from across the Hokianga harbour, Ngāi Tūpoto, and a large presence from the Green Party, including my Co-leader James Shaw.

In my kōrero to my hapū I recalled stories of my childhood.

Of being raised at the foot of my maunga, Te Ramaroa.

Of swimming in my Whirinaki awa.

Of gathering seafood from our Hokianga moana.

Of being sustained and nourished by the bounty of our whenua, our gardens and our trees.

There was laughter across the wharekai as I talked about a bunch of my tutu cousins and I almost setting the hill on fire.

My home peoples’ faces burst with love as I talked about our old people, who have mostly passed on, who cooked for us, looked after our marae, embraced our traditions.

They taught us how to care for our whenua and our water, taught us how to care for each other collectively, ensured that we knew who we were, and how we connected to our place.

I talked about Aunty Josie’s delicious cooking.

And Aunty Lucy’s quiet yet staunch karanga.

And about Aunty Queenie Broughton’s beautiful flower garden.

I recalled Uncle Brian and Aunty Kiri Wikaira taking my whole family into their home because we felt we urgently needed to be back there.

And about my Uncle Nia who is like another father to me, who was always taking a bunch of us Valley kids to kapa haka, to sport, to the Ngāwha pools.

As my home people sat there listening to me I admitted that while I never dreamed of being Green Party Co-leader, being there with them that day made me realise that maybe my tupuna did.

It was these basic things that defined our existence; a need for our river to be clean, a reliance on our moana to be healthy and when one of us needed support, the whole Valley stepped up.

It is those realities that also define my politics.

Those teachings drive my aspirations for our communities, for Aotearoa, for the world.

Planning for future generations

Our country faces huge challenges that we must meet head on.

People are struggling even in paid work to pay their rent and buy healthy food.

More and more rivers are becoming too polluted for us to swim in.

Too many families are continuing to be harmed by persistent violence.

This degradation is the result of a system that pits us against each other and collectively against our earth, for the benefit of the few.

This stands in complete contrast to my upbringing that I just talked about, which made me recognise that our power lies in coming together and understanding our role as kaitiaki of our natural world.

Recalling our ancient wisdoms, harnessing our innovations, and pulling together for the generations ahead, is the only way we will get through.

When my hapū talk about strategic planning we don’t talk about one-year, or three-year, or even ten-year strategies, we talk about planning for seven generations ahead.

Looking at the challenges ahead of us through that lens, we realise just how immense they really are.

In seven generations will my hapū still be able to sustain ourselves from our land and water as we have always done?

Will our indigenous species, such as the majestic kauri trees of Waipoua forest, still exist?

Will we even have a habitable planet to live on?

There is no time for complacency or half-measures.

No time for tinkering around the edges of the status quo.

We know that what is required is transformative and systemic change.

Delivering in Government

In the short time the Greens have been in Government, we have set the country on that path.

We have delivered a fundamental shift in environmental policy in Aotearoa.

In Budget 2018, the greenest Budget in our history, Hon. Eugenie Sage, as our Green Minister of Conservation, negotiated the largest funding increase for DoC in 16 years.

After years and years of neglect, we have a government that is backing nature and investing in conservation.

The dollar figures are huge, an extra $181 million over the next four years is a massive boost for conservation – for DOC to work with hapū and iwi, councils and communities, to turn our predator crisis around and protect our indigenous species and the places they live.

Ending offshore oil and gas exploration has long been a key goal of the Greens.

Before I entered Parliament, I stood with communities in the North, on the East Coast and in Taranaki, to stop oil exploration and drilling in our oceans.

And now we’ve delivered on it, making history.

This Government drew a line in the sand and said no new offshore oil and gas permits.

But the decision to stop new exploration wasn’t in our Confidence and Supply Agreement with Labour.

It was possible because we are partners of this Government, because we are committed to transformational change, and because we can influence what happens at the highest levels.

I want to acknowledge the amazing work of Green MP Gareth Hughes in negotiating this end to offshore oil and gas permits.

And backed up by the sustained and powerful campaigning of tangata whenua, activists, communities and environmental NGOs, change happened.

When the pundits and mischief makers try and tell you the Greens no longer know what it means to be Green, or that we’ve lost our environmental focus, just remind them of this.

In the space of only ten months we have already put an end to offshore oil drilling and stopped an open-cast coal mine at Te Kuha.

We’ve put us on the path to phase out plastic bags, and secured massive funding commitments on conservation, climate change and public transport.

While there is still much work to do to implement that agreement, we are also not content with that alone.

I am so proud of my role as a non-ministerial Co-leader. It is my job to lead our engagement with communities and with our membership – to always be a champion for our kaupapa and the flaxroots of the movement.

We know that in some areas we need to negotiate and work with our Government partners to go even further, to be even bolder.

One of those areas is freshwater – our wai.

Championing freshwater

Our environment depends on it.

It’s the lifeblood of our communities – ko te wai te ora o ngā mea katoa.

The Greens have long championed protecting freshwater and cleaning up our rivers and lakes. We put this issue on the political agenda and now all parties acknowledge it needs addressing.

This term we have already secured a win to wind-down Government subsidies of large-scale irrigation schemes.

It cannot be overstated just how significant this is.

We have negotiated stronger regulatory instruments to deal with pollution, and more funding for freshwater restoration.

And I am proud to say that the Green Party has secured yet another Government commitment to further protect our water.

We heard the calls from communities around New Zealand and have worked with our Government partners to protect our water from sale.

I’m stoked to announce today that the review of the Overseas Investment Act will now look at putting the protection of water at the heart of decision-making.

Changing the law and making water extraction one of the issues to be considered when overseas corporates apply to buy rural land would ensure that this and future governments recognise that water is ours, and that it’s a vital natural asset.

Water should not be for sale to the highest bidder. Changing the law is a key step towards protecting it for the generations ahead.

Minister Sage and I will keep pushing hard to see that this change is included in the reforms that come out of the review.

We need to ensure that we are not giving away water to foreign corporations to bottle, export, and reap profits from, at the expense of New Zealand’s long-term interests.

The Greens leadership is still needed.

Our rivers are clogged with excess nitrates, sediment and e-coli contamination.

They are literally drying up due to over allocation.

The freshwater standards for pollutants need to be drastically strengthened and rigorously enforced.

As was highlighted in a report released just this week by Forest & Bird, we cannot only rely on nitrate measurement and farm plans monitored by overstretched regional councils.

Government must actively promote sustainable land use; we need to accelerate riparian planting, and support farmers to shift up the value chain to grow the value of our rural economy.

But we cannot go on the way we are.

I want to acknowledge and celebrate the Government farmer, Landcorp, for their leadership towards a modern greener model of agriculture.

We should be a world leader in organics and in sustainable agriculture.

Our point of difference on the world stage lies in our clean green brand and we can be adding even more value to our exports by following the example of many farmers who have already recognised this.

Clean freshwater is not a nice to have after we make a profit off it, it is life for land and people.

And we must honour the rights, interests and responsibilities of tangata whenua in freshwater.

It should be for hapū and iwi to lead us on what that looks like.

Outright ownership of water is anathema to both Māori and Green values.

If anything, the water owns us.

The Greens recognise the intrinsic value of freshwater and its inalienable right to be protected from pollution and over-use.

But we are also very clear that Māori have rangatira and kaitiaki rights over water, guaranteed in Te Tiriti o Waitangi.

The Crown has a responsibility to work alongside tangata whenua in a spirit of true partnership for the protection and restoration of our water.

On this, the Greens are holding true to our longstanding position.

The Te Awa Tupua Act 2017 received huge international coverage as it set a precedent in law to recognise water, the Whanganui awa, as a living entity, and for mana whenua decision making authority to be recognised as central to its protection and restoration.

We need to build on this work.

Protecting the environment and recognising Māori rights go hand-in-hand.

You cannot achieve one without the other.

As we saw in our Rivers Tour in the last parliamentary term, led by former Green MP Catherine Delahunty, tangata whenua and communities are at the forefront of cleaning up our waterways.

Right around the country it is hapū, iwi and rural communities who are doing the urgent work on the ground; fencing, riparian planting, and pushing for sustainable land use decisions.

As Co-leader and Water spokesperson I will continue to stand alongside those communities in pushing for what’s needed to restore the right of all children in Aotearoa to be able to swim in their local river.

E te whānau kākāriki, as we reflect on nearly a year as a first-time party of government, we have so much to be proud of.

But there’s still so much more work to do.

To restore our natural world, stabilise our climate and bring about economic justice for all people.

We need you, our members, alongside us every single step of the way. James, the MPs and I cannot do this on our own.

It’s going to take every one of us if we are going to succeed in transforming our country and our world.

And there’s no time to waste.

Nō reira, huri rauna i tēnei whakaruruhau o tātou​

Tēnā koutou, tēnā koutou, tēnā tātou katoa.

Shaw speech to IPCC Working Group on Land

Minister of Climate Change James Shaw has given a speech at the opening of an Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change Working Group on Land being held in Christchurch this week.

On Climate Policy:

Our new Government has made the commitment that we here in New Zealand will hit this target by the very beginning of the second half of the Century, in the year 2050.

Across Government we are setting targets for different sectors consistent with this commitment.

For example, we aim to be producing 100 percent renewable electricity generation by 2035, or sooner.

One recent estimate suggests that $19 billion of assets are at risk from sea level rise and flooding events – including 5 airports, 50 kilometres of rail, 2,000 kilometres of road and 40,000 homes.

Another report estimates that “the costs of weather events to New Zealand’s land transport network alone have increased in the last 10 years from $20 million a year to over $90 million annually.”

Quite literally – we cannot afford to ignore climate change and do nothing about reducing our greenhouse gas emissions.

That government report (Climate Change Adaptation Technical Working Group) I released last year explains why, because, the report says, “Overall, the cost to New Zealand of climate change impacts and adapting to them are expected to be higher than the costs of reducing greenhouse gas emissions.”

In other words, it’s more cost-effective to transition to a net zero emissions economy than pay for the repairs and clean ups.

So we plan to lock that commitment into law with the Zero Carbon Act.

On land use:

We are a small country with a big reliance on agriculture.

No other countries include agriculture in their emissions schemes so we’re considering largely uncharted territory here.

But when I was at COP23 in Bonn last November, a number of countries, who are starting to realise they’ll also have to deal with agricultural emissions soon, asked me what we’re planning.

Given New Zealand has such significant agricultural emissions, and given we have a long history of agricultural innovation and adaptability, we need to look at the issue and look at it as quickly as possible if we want to catch the crest of that particular wave.

So, we will establish an interim Climate Change Committee to begin work on the agricultural emissions question until we’ve established the full Commission under the Zero Carbon Act around the latter half of next year.

On trees:

We intend to see one billion trees planted over the next 10 years.

It’s about getting the right mix of slow-growing indigenous tree plantations combined with much faster growing exotic species.

The right mix and locations will bring a number of benefits:

  • There’s carbon sequestration. NZ indigenous trees are incredibly efficient as carbon sinks, but they’re slow to get there.
  • Another benefit is restoring biodiversity with the right planting in the right areas.
  • Water quality can be improved and sedimentation run-off controlled.
  • And forestry can stabilise erosion-prone land. Currently we lose 200 million tonnes of soil to the sea every year.
  • Plus, it promises a lot of jobs in parts of New Zealand that need them.

Conclusion:

New Zealand is embarking on the kind of reform and transformation we haven’t seen for more than 30 years.

As Minister for Climate Change, I am proud that New Zealand is hosting you, and I am proud of the work New Zealanders do in the IPCC and other international climate forums.

30 years ago New Zealand took a moral stand against nuclear weapons and has worked internationally since then for international non-proliferation and disarmament.

Our Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern has called climate change the nuclear free moment of this generation.

If we want to help lead the world towards meeting the goals of the Paris Agreement, we must create a moral mandate underpinned by decisive action at home to reduce our own emissions.

The science and evidence base that you people in this room build, and the very important work you do to communicate it to policy-makers is fundamental to what I and my political colleagues must do.

The science is settled; largely thanks to the work of the IPCC; both in collating the evidence and in communicating it.

It is now up to politicians, business leaders and communities to make the hard decisions about what to do to reduce emissions and to adapt to the changing climate.

 

Trump’s State of the Union speech

President Donald Trump has given his ‘State of the Union’ speech.

RCP: Full Replay/Transcript: President Trump Delivers 2018 State Of The Union Address

It will please some, who would have been pleased regardless.

It will dismay some, who would have been dismayed regardless.

It will have angered some, who would have been angered regardless.

I really can’t be bothered checking it out, but here’s something on it from Politico: Trump offers same policies in new bipartisan packaging

In his first State of the Union address, the president positions immigration and infrastructure proposals as unifying initiatives.

In his first State of the Union address to Congress, President Donald Trump struck an upbeat, optimistic tone and promised to move forward with a “clear vision and a righteous mission — to make America great again for all Americans.”

Much of the speech sought to paint a portrait of a country moving ahead in a united fashion to ensure Americans a better political and financial future — a contrast in tone to the president’s often divisive rhetoric during the 2016 presidential campaign where his opponents received derogatory nicknames.

But Trump focused largely on familiar policy proposals, including on immigration and infrastructure, which he positioned as common-sense, mainstream ideas — even though Democrats have been cool or outright rejected them.

Nowhere has that been clearer than in the immigration plan outlined last week by the White House, which Trump said “generously” outlines a path to citizenship for 1.8 million undocumented immigrants, twice as many as are currently covered under President Barack Obama’s DACA program. He committed to ending the visa lottery system and eliminating immigration preferences for extended family in favor of what he described as a merit-based system, ideas Democrats say upend the tradition of immigration laws in this country.

“It is time to reform these outdated immigration rules, and finally bring our immigration system into the 21st century,” Trump argued.

But the immigration policy details spoke to the hawkish side of Republican party — breaking with the speech’s theme of bipartisan cooperation.

Trump devoted the first part of the speech to the historic tax legislation passed in December along a party-line vote. He spoke fondly of its details, including a doubling of the child tax credit and an increase in the standard deduction; and of a skyrocketing stock market that he said has helped pad Americans’ 401(k) accounts, pensions, and college savings plans.

“The era of economic surrender is over,” he declared.

Absent from Trump’s speech was any direct mention of his predecessor — even though much of Trump’s work over the past year has involved undoing Obama’s legacy, or defining himself in contrast to his 2016 campaign rival, Hillary Clinton.

Trump also made no mention of Russia or the ongoing investigations into Russia’s meddling in the 2016 election, a probe that has expanded to include the question of whether Trump or people close to him obstructed justice by firing former FBI Director James Comey.

The format of the speech played to Trump’s strengths by blending policy promises and prescriptions with stories of real Americans affected by the changes his administration has made — in an attempt to turn a prime-time speech into one slightly more connected to average Americans.

The Hill: Trump makes case he’s stoking American dream

President Trump called for bipartisan action on immigration and infrastructure in his first State of the Union address on Tuesday, asking a deeply divided nation to come together after a tumultuous first year in office.

The president said his agenda is working, arguing a growing economy that he linked to the tax-cut bill passed by Congress in December has created “a new American moment.”

“To every citizen watching at home tonight, no matter where you have been or where you come from, this is your time,” Trump said. “If you work hard, if you believe in yourself, if you believe in America, then you can dream anything, you can be anything, and together, we can achieve absolutely anything.”

The address comes against the backdrop of a partisan divide in Washington that has deepened since Trump’s inauguration.

Democrats, many of whom brought “Dreamers” as guests to the president’s speech, booed and hissed when the president mentioned his plans to slash the number of people who immigrate to the U.S. through family connections — a practice Trump has decried as “chain migration.”

Sen. Dick Durbin (Ill.), a key Democratic negotiator on immigration, shook his head when Trump mentioned his plan to eliminate the via lottery, which allows people

Virtually no Democrats applauded any aspect of Trump’s plan, which he called a “fair compromise — one where nobody gets everything they want, but where our country gets the critical reforms it needs.”

Representative Joe Kennedy III (D-MA) delivered the Democratic response.

 

James Shaw’s ‘State of the Planet’ speech

James Shaw gave the 2018 Green ‘State of the Planet’ speech yesterday:


 

Five years after the Velvet Revolution that made him President of Czechoslovakia and then the Czech Republic, the former dissident and poet Václav Havel, said that:

“There are good reasons for suggesting that the modern age has ended.  Many things indicate that we are going through a transitional period when it seems that something is on the way out and something else is painfully being born. It is as if something were crumbling, decaying and exhausting itself, while something else, still indistinct, were arising from the rubble.”

I was twenty-one at the time. The Cold War was over. Bill Clinton was President of the United States. Al Gore… was his Vice President. People were talking about something called the World Wide Web. My friend Danyl had told me his workplace – an IBM helpdesk – had something called ‘electronic mail’, which allowed him to write a message on his computer and have it appear instantaneously on the computer of a colleague on the other side of the world.

What a time to be alive.

It seemed to me that Havel’s words were full of a hope that we were on the verge of writing a new chapter in human history, of creating a new, fairer economic system where everyone could flourish without destroying the planet.

Well, I have to say, we’re still waiting. The post-modern ‘sustainable economy’ is taking a jolly long time to arise from the rubble of the modern age. If anything, the rubble of the modern age is accumulating around us in ever increasing piles, threatening to overwhelm us and everything else on the planet, too.

But, although this speech will, at times, foray into the downright bleak, I am enormously hopeful about the future. Because I believe that we, here in little ole New Zealand, have it within our grasp to lead a breakthrough – to finally, actually, put in place the architecture for a truly sustainable economy and to show the rest of the world how it’s done.

Green Party Co-leaders have been delivering a State of the Planet speech just about every year since we got into Parliament in 1999, an eco-centric take on the more ego-centric State of the Nation tradition.

I will start with an assessment of the State of the Planet; and New Zealand’s bit of it. That’s the bleak bit. Then I’ll talk a bit about the latest thinking in sustainable economics – an area of economics that’s becoming mainstream. And finally, I’ll propose how New Zealand can lead the way in moving the theory of sustainable economics into practice – and what a unique opportunity we have, right now, to do so.

By the end, I hope you’ll see that the Greens have a galvanising mission for our contribution to this Government and that you join us in making it happen. I find it is as inspiring as it is urgent. And it is urgent, for the State of the Planet, is, frankly, not good.

PART ONE – ASSESSMENT

We are now living in a geological epoch known as the Anthropocene – so named because the planet’s atmosphere and biosphere have been reshaped by humans at a scale normally reserved for continental realignment, Ice Ages or colossal meteor strikes, every half billion years or so.

One of the defining characteristics of the Anthropocene, as with other epochs, is the extinction of much of the world’s species. It is estimated that by the end of the 21st Century this Sixth Extinction will herald flora and fauna loss of 20 percent to 50 percent “of all living species on earth”. We are overshooting the Earth’s carrying capacity – and simultaneously overloading that carrying capacity – to the extent that we are using the equivalent of 1.6 Earth’s worth of resources every year. Something has to give.

The Earth’s mammals, birds, and fish, have declined by 58 percent between 1970 and 2012. And we’re seeing the largest drop in freshwater species: on average, there’s been a whopping 81 percent decline in that time period. 239 million hectares of natural forest cover has been lost just since 1990.

In New Zealand, three-quarters of native fish, one-third of invertebrates, and one-third of plants are threatened with, or at risk of, extinction. Eugenie, you’ve got your work cut out for you.

OCEANS: More than eight million tonnes of plastic are dumped into the ocean every year. New Zealanders use 1.6 billion single-use plastic bags every year, many of which end up in our oceans and on our shorelines.

WASTE: Worldwide, we use one million plastic bottles every minute. On average, each New Zealander uses 168 plastic water bottles a year.

CLIMATE CHANGE: While there have been glimmers of hope with the signing of the Paris Agreement, current atmospheric concentrations of Greenhouse Gases are at 400 parts per million, the highest concentration of these gases in our atmosphere in at least the last three million years. And despite our perception of our clean and green image, Kiwis have the fifth highest emissions per person in the OECD, and our gross emissions have increased by 24 percent since 1990.

All of this means that eco-systems services – those ecological necessities for human life and wellbeing – are also on the decline:

FOOD SECURITY: There is a third less arable land now than 40 years ago, even though global food production will need to increase 50 percent by 2050 to feed a population of ten billion. The Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations estimates that soil degradation trends have left the planet with about sixty years of harvests remaining. Yet it is estimated that about a third of all food produced is wasted.

FRESH WATER: Nearly fifty countries experienced water stress or water scarcity in 2015, up from just over 30 in 1992; that’s an increase of 40 percent in twenty-five years.

The competition for earth’s resources is fierce:

PEACE & SECURITY: There are now 65 million forcibly displaced persons in the world, of whom 22 million are refugees, 40 million are internally displaced within their own countries.

POVERTY: Although the world has made remarkable progress in reducing poverty, the number of people living in extreme poverty remains unacceptably high with 767 million people living on less than two dollars a day. And while poverty in absolute terms has been cut, inequality is increasing at an extraordinary rate. Over the last twenty years, the wealth of the richest 1 percent increased at just shy of 200 times the wealth of the poorest 10 percent. Just eight men own as much wealth between them as the 3.6 billion poorest people in the world do collectively.

According to research undertaken by OXFAM, in New Zealand in 2017 a staggering 28 percent of wealth created went to the richest 1 percent while there are still hundreds of thousands of children growing up in poverty.

PART TWO – SUSTAINABLE ECONOMICS

So far, so bleak. Our existing economic model isn’t working.

I believe that growing impatience with some of the consequences of that model led to the change of government last year. Dirty rivers, polluted drinking water, entrenched poverty, growing wealth inequality, road congestion, house prices, homelessness – all of these contributed.

The Deputy Prime Minister, the Right Honourable Winston Peters, has said that this is the beginning of the end for neoliberalism.

But what is it the start of?

The cognitive linguist George Lakoff says that it is absolutely essential to have a compelling alternative frame if the old one is ever to be debunked. One of the reasons why it’s taking such a long time, I think, to get to a sustainable economy is that, although few people would argue against it, no one has been able to adequately describe it, in ways that sounded more credible than the linear, take-make-waste economy of the status quo.

Until fairly recently that is.

Concepts that were sketched out in the 1970s, like Walter Stahel’s Performance Economy, were built on in the 1980s by Karl-Henrik Robert in his Natural Step Framework, and in the 1990s by Paul Hawken in the Ecology of Commerce.

Michael Braungart and Bill McDonough came through in the late nineties and early 2000s with Cradle to Cradle and Janine Benyus’ Biomimicry was a real breakthrough.

In the last few years the Ellen MacArther Foundation’s work on the Circular Economy has brought all of these ideas together in a coherent whole.

Most of these were micro-economic, looking at how individual firms could redesign themselves to become more sustainable in their own right – and there followed a series of inspirational case studies, like Interface flooring, or, here in New Zealand, EcoStore.

But I think Kate Raworth of Cambridge University has probably been most successful in creating a visual model that can compete with our traditional mental models about the economy.

Essentially, two concentric circles, one inside the other.

The inner circle is the ‘social foundation’ of food, water, income, education, resilience, voice, jobs, energy, social equity, gender equality and health – those characteristics that generally trend towards social harmony and stability.

The outer circle is the ‘environmental ceiling’, the planetary boundaries described by Johan Rockstrom and the World Resources Institute.

These are freshwater use, nitrogen and phosphorous cycles, ocean acidification, chemical pollution, atmospheric aerosol loading, ozone depletion, biodiversity loss, land use change and climate change.

In between these two concentric circles is the safe and just space for humanity – an economy in which prosperity can flourish, within the Earth’s operating limits.

Ms Raworth describes this as, ‘Doughnut Economics’.

There are now some very robust models out there – and enough evidence bubbling up from different companies and countries around the world that have been trying on various ideas – to give us a pretty good idea of what a sustainable economy looks like.

The Greens in Government will be using these new models of economic thinking that balance economic and environmental and social outcomes to guide us in our decision making. We urge others to start doing the same.

Let’s talk about what it looks lik in practical terms for New Zealand.

For starters, all our energy – not just electricity, but transport fuel and industrial heat as well – would be drawn from entirely renewable sources like wind and solar, with zero pollution going into air, soil or water. That’s why the goal of 100% renewable energy generation is in our confidence and supply agreement.

We would have zero waste to landfill: waste would be designed out of industrial processes, and what little waste remains would be captured and reused, refurbished or recycled. Eugenie is currently reviewing the Waste Minimisation Act to achieve this outcome.

In fact, zero would be regarded as the goal in a number of areas – greenhouse gas emissions into the atmosphere, air pollution, chemical pollution, nitrogen and phosphorous loading, zero homelessness, and zero people living in poverty.

We’d be designing industrial processes, products and services that regenerate resources rather than deplete them.

Rather than crossing our fingers and hoping that GDP growth would trickle down into poverty alleviation, we’d be distributive by design, consciously building models of commerce that systematically increase wealth across the widest possible base so all of our people benefit.

PART THREE – NEW ZEALAND AND THE GREAT TRANSITION

So we’ve assessed the State of the Planet and New Zealand’s little bit of it, and the news isn’t all that flash. We’ve taken a look at what the economic response might be to try and turn that around and to create an economy where prosperity can flourish within the Earth’s ecological limits.

I believe that New Zealand has an incredible opportunity to be one of the first countries in the world to transition to a truly sustainable economy and to show the rest of the world how it’s done.

So if you cast your mind back, New Zealand has often been the laboratory of new thinking. We were the first to give women the vote, the first to introduce a welfare state, and leaders in the reforms of the 80s and 90s that gave us today’s crumbling economic system.

We were one of the first countries in the world to put in place the architecture of the current economy. In reality, legislatively, it came down to a handful of Acts of Parliament: The State Services Act, The Reserve Bank Act, The Public Finance Act, The Employment Contracts Act, and The Resource Management Act.

All of these have been tinkered with to varying degrees. The Resource Management Act has been comprehensively messed with by every Government since, the Reserve Bank Act we’re only now about to undertake a review of to see if it’s still fit for purpose. But regardless of how much they’ve been played with, these five Acts, more than any others I think, have shaped the economy of the last thirty years.

The Greens in Government now want to look at what the new cornerstones for the next thirty years might be that reshape the New Zealand economy to be one of the first truly sustainable economies in the world – that delivers for our environment and our people.

One of the key characteristics of the sustainable economy is that we have wider goals than simply achieving GDP growth.

We’ve already signalled we are going to immediately include child poverty reduction targets into the Public Finance Act.

I’m proud to be leading a piece of work to establish a more comprehensive set of social and environmental indicators and developing ways to include them in our economic reporting. For example, this year’s Investment Statement will for the first time include an assessment of our environmental stocks and flows. What we count matters. And in order to change behaviours we need to change what we count.

2018 is going to be a busy year for Green Ministers to start to implement the foundations or cornerstones of a new sustainable economy.

I’ll be introducing the Zero Carbon Act, whilst limited to Greenhouse Gas Emissions, will set the economy on a pathway towards living within at least one of our planetary boundaries. It will be the most significant piece of legislation to protect our environment in the history of New Zealand.

Eugenie’s review of how we use the Waste Minimisation Act will mean a move towards eliminating waste by design, and improving our capture and reuse, refurbishment or recycling of whatever is left. It has the potential to revolutionise how we produce, package and use resources.

Julie Anne and Phil Twyford will be releasing a new Government Policy Statement on Transport which will radically shift investment in our transport systems. Julie Anne will also be leading the project to pay women the same as men for the same work, which in itself will lead to a significant shift in the way our economy works.

I’ll be setting up the Green Investment Bank to stimulate the flow of financial capital towards projects and businesses that reduce our climate pollution. We’ll be calling on the world’s leading thinkers to help us design this shift.

Key thinkers on the sustainable economy will be visiting New Zealand this year. Johan Rockstrom of the World Resources Institute, developer of the planetary boundaries framework, will be here working with MfE and myself. Paul Hawken, author of the Ecology of Commerce, one of the first and most influential books in the field of sustainable business, will be over here in March.

My message to those wishing to engage with the Greens in Government is to engage with sustainable economics. It will be win win for you and our country.

CONCLUSION

My goal for the Green Party, as a part of this new Labour-led Government, is that, by the end of this term of Parliament, we will have put in place the architecture for this great transition to the new economy. That we fulfil Havel’s vision of building something new from the rubble of the old.

This is pretty ambitious for any Government in a single, three-year term. But it is a particularly ambitious goal for a party of just eight MPs out of 120 and only one of three parties in a coalition government. If we’re going to succeed, it’s going to take something of us.

First, we will need to focus unrelentingly on the big things that put this architecture in place and not sweat the small stuff. There are lots of very worthy but small issues that could easily distract us from the already Herculean task in front of us.

Second, we will need to learn the give-and-take of coalition government more than ever before, but also model to our coalition partners the benefits of collaboration. We are not the Government alone, but no party is. On many of the things I’ve mentioned we have a high degree of alignment with Labour and New Zealand First. Regardless, we need them to do the things we want to do, at the very least because their Ministers are responsible for pulling the levers that need to be pulled in order to make this work. We are committed to making this Government work in a sustainable way.

Third, we will need to be in Government again after 2020, and in Government more often than not for the period of the great transition. The reforms we’re going to make in this term we will need to protect and nurture, as well as correct and embellish and add to in the future. The Green Party is the party of the sustainable economy. While the ideas and proposals we’ve put forward and championed for the better part of four decades are now gaining increasing currency amongst other parties, we will need to continue to take the lead if this is going to become a reality over the coming decades.

Fourth, we have to include everyone, including those who, at least for the moment, disagree with us. This is a generational shift we’re talking about and we won’t be in Government for the entire transition. We have to beat swords into ploughshares and make friends of our enemies. I know that there will be many on our side who, with justification, will say, “They had their time – it’s our turn now and time to look after our own, as they looked after theirs”. That is understandable, and tempting. But it is not sustainable.

A feature of the Greens in Government will be to call everyone in, rather than calling them out. An opportunity to build a better future through collaboration and sharing.

This is going to take everyone and it’s going to take everything we’ve got. If we succumb to tribalism over inclusion we will continue down the same path we’re currently on, creating different groups of winners and losers until our social fabric decays under the wear and tear of partisanship. Some of our oldest and closest friends internationally are illustrating just how badly that ends.

Yes, we do need to look after those who have been excluded and marginalised.

We need to look after everyone.

As I said in my maiden speech, “Time is too short for resignation. Things are too bad for pessimism. It is too big a task for petty politics. It’s too important for partisanship. These we must transcend and transform.”

We get to create this future together, or not at all.

No reira, tena koutou, tena koutou, tena tatou katoa

NZ First campaign launch speech

Winston Peters launched NZ First into the election campaign with a speech in the weekend.

Conclusion

New Zealand First has the policies to turn this country around.

To make it a better place for you and your families.

It’s time for a change.

New Zealand was once called “God’s own country.”

We believe it can be again.

Together we can do it.

Interesting to see “It’s time for a change” in there. That’s similar to what Greens and Labour have been campaigning on (they say ‘change the government’ or ‘campaign for change’).

Full speech:


The regions – Together, for New Zealand

It has been an explosive week in politics.

A week that will go in the history books as the time two Prime Ministers covered up a crime and were party to a payout to buy off a witness.

We have heard the people of Clutha-Southland feel hurt, fragile and let down.

They have every right to be.
While The Barclay Debacle revealed the corrupt inner workings of the National Party machine, it told us also that National Party takes the regions for granted.

One television commentator said National could stand a blue sheep in Clutha-Southland and it would still win the electorate.
The sheep would also be more honest. On television yesterday Mr English said in excusing his behaviour, “I am not a lawyer”. He conveniently forgets the adage, “ignorance of the law is no excuse”.

This is a sad state of affairs.

“Defibulators” – for National

The National Party Cabinet are into spin, downright deceit and Fibs. As Mr English displayed alongside Paula Bennet and others, they simply can’t tell the truth. So as part of our Heath Policy this election we’re going to order up a whole lot of defibulators and send them to their offices. Every time they tell a lie this machine will give them a shock. It might be painful but that’s what it will take.

Men like Keith Holyoake must be rolling in their graves.
Not only that – National has no sound policies to progress all of New Zealand.

They have let the wealth get sucked out of our regions with little payback.
They have let much of our assets and land be sold off to foreign buyers.
They have under-funded regional roads and hospitals.
They have no coherent plan for our regions just as they have no coherent economic plan for this country.
And they’ve have turned their backs on our young people.

They’ve allowed the situation to descend to the point one economist has said some of our provincial centres are “zombie towns.”

We’ve got zombies alright – but they’re not in our provinces.
They’re in the Beehive.

It is the regions that produce by far most of our country’s wealth.

Our biggest export earners, the sectors that pay our way in the world, are tourism, dairying, meat, and forestry.

We have Queen Street farmers but what are they doing for the wealth of this country?

Within a few years experts tell us more than half of New Zealand’s population will live north of Taupo.

Thats because of a lack of political vision and a contempt for the real wealth creators of this country.

National is most at home when they are in Wellington, among all the shiny suits and bureaucrats, adjudicating on New Zealand from their ivory towers.

Mr English has just finished his speech to the National Party conference. Bereft of ideas and excuses, all he could promise after nine years of National was increased incomes and lower taxes by 2020. Surrounded by all manner of deficits, Canute like he promises surpluses and tax cuts.

The Regions and Reserve Bank Reform

Fundamental to a successful economy – and thriving regions over the long term – is an exchange rate that supports exporters and the regions.

Our Reserve Bank Act is out of date.

We have an overvalued NZ dollar that has been a bonanza for financial speculators and traders but not exporters.

Despite the relatively small size of our economy our dollar is one of the most heavily traded international currencies

We need an exchange rate that serves real economic goals like strong and growing regional exports

The Bank’s outdated focus on inflation must be ditched.

As a small open economy New Zealand is dependent on a competitive exchange rate.

NZ has a persistent and chronic balance of payments deficit – and this shows the New Zealand dollar does not reflect the underlying reality.

Risks abound in the global economy and New Zealand is highly exposed and vulnerable to any volatility.

NZ First is committed to reforming the Reserve Bank Act as a vital step in safeguarding our economic future –and the future heath of regional New Zealand.

The Regions and Small businesses

Small businesses are the engine room of New Zealand’s economy and are critically in regions such as Manawatu.

Ninety seven per cent of all businesses in New Zealand are small businesses. They employ over 2 million people and produce 27 per cent of GDP per year.

By helping more businesses become profitable, sustainable and competitive will ensure they are in the best position to hire new employees and create jobs.
To boost small businesses New Zealand First will in this Campaign, set out its policies, to really help them start and grow by:

•  A wage subsidy for small business that take on job seekers and provide work experience.

•  Real incentives for small businesses to help disengaged youth become work ready and support mature age job seekers back into work.

•  Immediate Tax deductions for every new business asset costing under $20,000

•  Immediate Tax deduction for professional expenses when starting a business, and by

•  Streamlining business registration for those planning to start a business

• And we are going to get Nationals Ninny, Nosey Nannie state off your back.

Virtually overnight, New Zealand’s oldest licenced premises at Russel, The Duke of Marlbourgh Restaurant had to pull a burger that is a cornerstone of its menu –because it offended MPIs food preparation guidelines by the meat being “pink and raw”.

“Basically the Ministry is telling us how our customers need to eat their food”, said the good people at the Duke.

In Wellington now more tedious bureaucrat’s regimes of food preparation are being dreamt up requiring small businesses to pay thousands of dollar to comply or shut down.

You vote for New Zealand First and we’ll put a leg rope on them whilst reminding these bureaucrats who pays their wages.

The Regions and Student debt

Palmerston North is a university town.

Let’s face it there are a lot of hard-up students here, wondering how they’re going to get by with the weight of massive debts on their shoulders.
New Zealand First will get rid of the student loan for Kiwi students staying and working here in NZ after they finish their studies.

The only requirement is that they work for the same number of years as they have studied.

So three years in tertiary education requires three years in the workforce – five years tertiary means five years in the workforce.

But if they leave for a big OE, and decide to work overseas, they will have to pay back the cost of their tertiary education.

Where they have a current student debt then the system changes to our dollar for dollar policy.

For graduates with skills required in the regions, like teachers, nurses, doctors, police and other much needed regional skills, we plan to use a bonding system.

We will also introduce a universal student allowance.

These are our practical solutions to the huge debt students have to grapple with.

Our policies will also address many of the skills shortages we have in our regions.

The Regions and Infrastructure Deficits

If you were at the National Party conference you would have heard the sound of coughing and spluttering. That’s the sound of their Auckland delegates choking under the sheer weight of numbers due to a reckless and irresponsible open door immigration policy.
Billions are being spent to address Auckland’s chronically overloaded infrastructure.
Last weekend marked the official completion of the Waterview Motorway Tunnel in Auckland – the bill $1.4 billion.
The Auckland City Rail link is underway – there will not be any change out of $3 billion when that project is completed.
Yes Auckland’s infrastructure deficit is plain to see.
But what about regional New Zealand?
Regional infrastructure is the poor cousin – it is being overlooked and put at the end of the queue when it comes to funding.
And this is despite the massive growth of tourism – the costs of which fall primarily on regional NZ
The government boasts of a tourism bonanza, which is based in the Regions, and yet gives almost nothing back to the Regions to fund the cost of it.
We have 30,000 Kilometres of unsealed roads, single lanned bridges and a serious lack of toilets, parking and basic infrastructure.
In this campaign New Zealand First will detail how we are going to return the full GST from Tourists back to the regions in which they spent the money. The data, easily accessible which measures this spend already. You make the money here and you’re going to get your fair share back.
NZ First is committed to a massive campaign to seal local roads, improve overall road quality and double-lane bridges where sensible.
The Regions and Rail
Rail has a valuable role to play in the development of regional NZ.
But the National Government has run the railway network down to a neglected and parlous state.
NZ First will give rail a real role in regional NZ by properly investing in the rail system.
And we will stop the made conversation to diesel from electrification.
We will stop National’s Luddite behaviour.
Broadband
Regional NZ also has to deal with the unreliability of cellular services and patchy broadband.
This is another illustration of where the government’s heart lies and it’s not in rural and regional New Zealand.
Regional NZ needs massive infrastructure improvement – urgently.
That will take substantial investment and NZ First is committed to making that happen.

The Regions and Stopping the Selloff of our Country
New Zealand under the old parties has been a soft touch for foreign buyers.
The wealth generated in regional NZ is increasingly flowing into the pockets of overseas owners.
The Overseas Investment Office (OIO) is a facade – a token exercise intended to give the impression that someone actually takes the national interest into account before foreign buyers get the green light.
The losses of land into foreign ownership are staggering 460,000 hectares alone last year.
The deals invariably get the usual Overseas Investment Office rubber stamp.
There is no requirement on foreign buyers to invest locally in downstream production or new technology.
Under our policy the rules would be strict – there would need to be clear, unequivocal and quantifiable benefits to New Zealand before foreign ownership was allowed.
The Regions and Water
A few years ago the Manawatu River was rated the most polluted river in the Southern Hemisphere.
Three hundred rivers and streams across North America, Europe, Australia and New Zealand were assessed.
And clean, green NZ came up with the worst river of the lot.
Most of the Manawatu River’s was due to nitrogen runoff from farms; but treated sewage discharged by councils was also a major contributor.
No doubt councils and most farmers would accept such degradation of waterways around New Zealand is not acceptable.
New Zealand First is calling for the National Policy Statement on Freshwater Management to be reviewed.
We cannot allow our rivers and waterways to descend to the level of cesspits.
New Zealand Frist would ensure that only the sustainable taking and use of water for commercial purposes is permitted by developing a national water use strategy.
Legislation must be in place to make sure that the granting of RMA consents is consistent with the proposed new national policy statement and the Strategy.
But we are going to properly finance rural New Zealand into environmental recovery because we are all in this together.

Royalties to the Regions

NZ First has a Royalties for the Regions Policy.
Under this policy, 25% of royalties collected by the government from enterprises such as mining, petroleum and water stay in the region of origin.

As an example, the government collects over $400 million in royalties.

Under our scheme over $100 million, year on year, would remain in the regions for investment.

That money would help to regenerate regional New Zealand.

It is demonstrably wrong that companies like Coca Cola, Suntory Holdings, Oravida, Fiji Water – can take our water for a pitiful token fee while they make millions of dollars from it.

National says no-one owns the water – so foreign companies can come in and take it.

Do you think that is right? No. And nor does New Zealand First.

National arrogance

As we said at the start, National have been a major disappointment, not just to the wider population of New Zealand but to their own faithful followers.

Arrogant National MPs –  Alfred Ngaro acting like a Mafiosi heavy telling the Salvation Army to shut up or else.

Nicky Wagner tweeting frivolously and insulting the disability community.

Simon Bridges blocking information being released on KiwiRail in reply to an OIA.

And now hush money and a prime minister donkey deep in a cover-up.

The true economic reality

In spite of all the pixie dust Mr English and his colleagues come up with, there is not a lot to be optimistic about.

The government says we have GDP growth rate of 2.8%.
But New Zealand’s population has been growing at 2% annually, mostly from overseas.

So, 2% has to be deducted from GDP numbers before any real growth can be claimed.

The real barometer of prosperity, GDP per person is pitiful – less than 1 per cent a year.

We have homelessness.
Growing inequality.
Thousands of young New Zealanders aimlessly going nowhere.

Record net immigration has now shot up to another record of more than 73,000.

And the government tells us they’re skilled workers and we need them.

Most of them aren’t skilled.

We have a director general of health who can’t get his sums right and a health minister who is so obsessed with taking a hatchet to health, he didn’t notice the funding blunders until it was too late.

Fourteen DHBs overpaid and six under-paid.

This is banana republic stuff.

95% of the NZ banking system is held overseas

NZ’s net debt to the rest of the world has soared up to $156 billion.

We have regions running on empty.

We have unacceptable delays from the Electricity Authority sorting out their pricing methodology creating uncertainty and preventing business owners investing in the regions.

Law and order has fallen apart in many provincial areas with fly-by policing and empty police stations.

These are facts.

The Regions and Personal Security

In the last eight or nine years new Zealanders have been told that crime is falling. It’s a lie of course hidden by the Governments catch and release policy – catch criminals but warn them and not charge them. That’s how National has got lower crime figures but their deceit has been exposed and they’re trying to cover it with and extra 880 police over the next four years. And that’s 1000 short of what’s needed.

New Zealand First will recruit 1800 extra front line police in the next three years. Just like we recruited 1000 front line police the last time we had the power to.

Restoring hope

New Zealand First wants to restore hope in our young people.
Hope so that a job is achievable for them.
Hope so that they can one day own a home of their own.
Hope so they don’t see despair, but a future for themselves, their families and their communities.

And hope in our regions and our whole country.

Conclusion

New Zealand First has the policies to turn this country around.

To make it a better place for you and your families.

It’s time for a change.

New Zealand was once called “God’s own country.”

We believe it can be again.

Together we can do it.

 

A wilful, wanton, weak, wobbly, and woeful Winston

Rt Hon WINSTON PETERS (Leader—NZ First): [Interruption] No, these are not for you, Gerry. These are “tins”—t-i-n-s. There is no surplus. Any fool can see that. What we had today was a wilful, wanton, weak, wobbly, woeful Minister with a wilful, wanton, weak, wobbly, and woeful Budget, and they are going to lose the next election, big time.

The most worried people watching me right now are those good, hard-working, loyal National Party voters who know this will not cut it. Out there, in their homeland, and in the provinces and in the regions, there is nothing for them at all. Here was the claim by Mr Joyce—200,000 more jobs in the last 3 years. To get on that list you just have to work 1 hour a week. Who can possibly believe in that sort of hypocrisy? Then they talked about their growth rate. It is actually 2.8 percent, and if you take out the 2 percent of population growth, that is 0.8 percent, and that is down the bottom of the OECD. You cannot believe these people. I know those National Party supporters out there who remember the likes of Holyoake and Holland and all those other people, when they were a worthy party. These people and the whole show are just a bunch of useless, hopeless, lazy, idle, and, in the main, old, use-by-date, well-gone members of Parliament. And they have got something to do with tins; they have got a tin ear. They do not listen. They do not care, and this Budget showed it.

Budgets are meant to be about philosophy. They are meant to be want demarcates a party against all the others. They are meant to be about a plan—a vision—that every sporting and cultural and business enterprise knows you must have, except National came in today with no plan, no vision, no idea. It is just trying to hang on for 3 years so Gerry does not have to do any work and so that some of them do not have to go back to their tawdry, hopeless, former life, where they never had a real job in the first place. Those members do not know what is like to make a lot of money in business at all. They came here because they are political and business failures.

Hon Member: Ha!

Rt Hon WINSTON PETERS: Oh, do not laugh at me. I do. I have got a record of making some serious money when I had a practice in a law firm. Ha! More than anybody over there made, and I can prove that with the greatest of ease. But I gave up that life for the people and cause of this country, and I have never regretted it—never regretted it.

Did you like the way Steven Joyce reeled out billions and billions and billions of dollars all over 4 years? He never gave a comparison against 2008. He never gave a comparison against what they do in Australia, Canada, Scandinavia, and all the first world countries. No, he thought he could confuse people with big figures, and then the cacophony of clowns got up and what did they do? They clapped him. Unbelievable. I have never seen so many sheep going to the slaughter clapping their way to it—not one Judas goat; about 25 of them. All of the backbench—and they will not be here after the next election. They believe—and they said it again today—in globalisation. They believe in mass immigration.

The UK target is 65 million people. The UK target is net 100,000. New Zealand today has 4.7 million people. Our target? 72,000 as we speak, all cramming into Auckland, spilling over, and every social service is under massive stress with a housing criss that says today to a young student at university “When you leave, it is going to be three times as hard as your parents to get a house.” That is the legacy of this party. Oh, the Government members are not smiling now, are they? Oh, no. I can tell you at home they are all looking down at their noses. They are all fascinated by their correspondence. Some of them are reading the Budget again, trying to make head or tail of it because they can see it might have been the longest suicide note in history for them. That is what is going on here.

Let me tell you how bad these globalists are, because, you know, they do not pay attention to the rest of the world—whether it be Brexit, whether it be the United States, whether it be Australia. The Chinese Government recently is changing regulations to put capital gains taxes on properties held overseas and, guess what, just the other day Chinese investors were rushing to buy land in New Zealand. Two examples: Massey University sold land to Whyburn, which then onsold to a Chinese investor at a massive profit. They did not care what the profit was; they wanted to get that land in New Zealand and they got it. An Auckland golf course sold land to Mansons, which onsold to a Chinese investor at twice the market value. Just two examples. And we sold more land offshore last year—five times more than the previous year. These people are land agents for a foreign culture and for foreign economies, and the very last thing they will ever do is stand up for you.

When we sought to have a register of land and homes in this country so we might know what is going on, these people over here opposed it because they want you to be like their caucus. They want the mushroom principle. They want you in the dark permanently, and our job here is to shine some light on what is going on in this country.

That was a hopeless Budget speech—appalling—and then, to top it off, usually they go from the sublime to ridiculous, but it was ridiculous to pathetic. Up gets Bill English. When you see people standing in a certain way, you know, psychologically, how they are. When somebody goes like that, that means he is open to all sorts of attack because he knows he has got something to hide, and he did most of that.

Hon Simon Bridges: Well, you’re doing it now.

Rt Hon WINSTON PETERS: Yes, I am just showing—oh, for the benefit of “Simple Simon”—

Mr SPEAKER: Order!

Rt Hon WINSTON PETERS: —for the benefit of “Simple Simon” of Tauranga, I am showing those people there the way Bill English was standing. And do you know what he said? Do you know what he said? “You’re doing that now.” I mean, do these guys become Ministers in a raffle? It is unbelievable.

He claimed a surplus of $1.7 billion. He claimed a surplus of $1.7 billion. If I am looking at roading, that is $1.7 billion short already. If I am looking at railways, that is $1.7 billion short already. If I look at that Cullen fund, which the Government is not contributing to, that is $2 billion already. If I look at our hospital system, that is $1.7 billion to $2 billion already. And the Government claims a surplus whilst out there. When the struggle is real, it does nothing whatsoever, and that is the reason why it should lose.

It has forgotten what it stands for. That party used to be called the National Party with a capital “N”. Now it is the “International Party”—the puppets of every other society and all other people but ours. That is how bad those members are, and if they think they are going to win the next election—as Muhammad Ali would say, if they even dream they are going to win the next election, they should wake up and apologise. Unbelievable—unbelievable.

There is family poverty, mental health services are in disarray, the conservation estate and services are in dismay because the only work that is going in is if it can help tourists and to hell with New Zealanders and their legacy, social housing and motels—100,000 a night now—and science research and technology in is disarray. Were there any figures today about what it is going to be put into science technology as against GDP so we can have a comparison with Singapore and all the smart countries? No—no comparison at all. There is run away immigration, house price inflation going through the roof, infrastructure deficits in every town and city, and over the regions and provinces there is utter neglect—utter neglect. And the New Zealand Superannuation Fund, as I say, if we were contributing $2 billion a year, then there would be no surplus. We would be down $300 million today.

Hon Gerry Brownlee: So you borrow to save. Brilliant! Absolutely brilliant! Borrow to save.

Rt Hon WINSTON PETERS: That is the truth. That is the truth. Unbelievable.

And here we go. Oh, here we go. The person shouting out here is a man called Gerry Brownlee. If you are down in Christchurch, you will know who he is, because down there they call him “Mr Useless”, “Mr Do Nothing”, “Mr Slow as You Go”, and National made him a foreign Minister. The most amazing thing about that is he does not even know where Canada is. The first thing he did was insult one of our old friends—unbelievable. And then he goes over to Australia, and I bet the Aussies thought “Good God! What’s coming here? What have we got here?”. And then he calls the foreign Minister the Prime Minister. Unbelievable. Not trained—been here for years. He has been here for years. Unbelievable.

The real figure New Zealanders wanted to know today was what our GDP growth per person is. When you know that, you will know whether we are going that way or that way. And why would anybody, with all those economists and all those high-paid people in Treasury, not tell you what the GDP per person growth rate is so you will know against the rest of the world how you are doing? Not a word, not a syllable, not a sound, not a mutter, not a murmur in this Budget because the Government believes in the Budget of mushrooms as a principle. Do not tell the New Zealanders anything!

Do not tell them, for example, that in most trades and most professions, if you are in Australia—

Hon Gerry Brownlee: Funded on mushrooms.

Rt Hon WINSTON PETERS: Look, do not try to shout me down; I am having a conversation with real people. I am having a conversation with the people of New Zealand. I am not talking about people who spend all their time thinking about their next meal; I am talking about the people who are thinking about the next bill they have got to pay, because out there the struggle, Mr Brownlee, is real, and one party knows it and understands it and has answers for it.

Did the Government tell you how it is going to grow the economy? Did it tell you, for example, that manufacturing against GDP in this country is declining? Did it tell you that exporting as opposed to GDP is declining? Did it tell you, for example, some of the most amazing things in this Budget—and I will get around to it very shortly. But then it got on and said it is doing things for the Māori people. As though the Maori people are not like the rest of us. In this country we have got more red tape. Under the National Government we have got brown tape. That is what we have got: racism, separatism. But let me tell the Māori people out there—and there will be a lot watching right now, up there in Hokianga, in Kaitāia, because they would love to vote on our roll. They are not going to be voting for the National Party, but let me tell you this: after all the work that the Government said that it had given, and money that it has given to the Māori Housing Network—$14.4 million in 2015-16, $17.6 million in 2016-17, and more in this Budget—I want to ask those two members from the Māori Party here, who are here for the next 3 months, how many houses have they built?

Marama Fox: Hundreds.

Rt Hon WINSTON PETERS: See what Marama Fox says? She opens her mouth, lets the wind blow her tongue around. But the answer out there, Marama, if you are concerned about this: they have built 11—11 houses. That is at $2.8 million a house, and they are not in Paritai Drive or Remuera. No, they are around the country. And they have consented 63 houses. That is, they have given them the consent. Now let me ask you: can you live in a consent? How many people do you know living in consents? This is a sham. It is separatism, racism, an endless campaign.

The people of this country in Māoridom—the followers would be legion, because the mass majority of Māori do not want your policies. The mass majority of Māori want a safe affordable house. They want a decent health system should they fall ill. They want an education system to give their children an escalator for progress in life. They want First World wages and First World jobs. Those four things are what Māoridom wants, and, come to think of it, that is what everyone wants, all around the world and in this country. One party alone understands that, and that is why the Māori will be lining up in their tens and tens of thousands in this campaign to back a party called New Zealand First.

But, of course, we are not separatist. We do not look at our race. We are not gender-biased. We do not look at people’s religion. We take on people because they have a thing called talent, and it starts at the top.

Let me just say, Mr Joyce got up and he said that all these people—1.3 million families—are going to be $26 better off. You know that famous line from The Shawshank Redemption, the movie? “The colossal”—I cannot say the next word. “The colossal [so-and-so] even managed to sound magnanimous.” Twenty-six dollars.

Ladies and gentlemen, in 2006, 2007, and 2008 we gave the minimum wage people $3 extra. We took it from $9 to $12 in 3 years flat. Multiply that by 40—how many extra dollars is that a week? Even Gerry should be able to work that out—even Gerry should be able to work that out. That is $26; we gave them over $120—if they are working Saturday as well, much more than that—per week. We did that 10 years ago. If you give us a chance, we will do it again. But we will make sure that business, because of sound tax policy, is able to pay for it. That is the difference.

You know, Mr Joyce talked about economic growth. He said the economy today—and I am glad he said it—is 14 percent larger than it was 5 years ago. We have looked behind the figures. Take out inflation, then that means it is 9 percent growth in 5 years—that means 1.8 percent per year. Now take out the population growth of 2 percent, and we are not even growing at 1 percent per year. Now more and more economists are beginning to understand that.

But we have got people like—somebody in the New Zealand Herald today, you know the kind who wrote this. He said the Government was swimming in money. Tell that to the people in mental health institutions or who are looking for a home, who are looking for a job—a decent job; some of them have got three jobs—who want to get rid of secondary tax and have a decent life. But here is the real rub, for the benefit of the Māori Party, and it is this—

Marama Fox: We’ll take it—$354 million.

Rt Hon WINSTON PETERS: —only yesterday—no, no, I saw you get up and clap. But only yesterday the overseas merchandise trade statistics came out, and they revealed the stunning success of National’s much-vaunted tiringly boastful export agenda. guess what has happened? In the 12 months to April this year the New Zealand merchandise exports grew by a staggering—listen to this—0.2 percent. Multiply that by 10—that is 2 percent growth for a decade. And the Government members get up here and say that they have got a plan. They are a joke. Underneath the hype and misinformation it is a fake Budget that delivers nothing meaningful for ordinary New Zealanders, and nothing to make our economy go faster. It does not tell New Zealanders how they compare with the rest of the country.

Ladies and gentlemen, there is an election on 27 September.

Carmel Sepuloni: 23rd.

Rt Hon WINSTON PETERS: On 23 September, sorry. On 23 September.

Hon Member: Get it right.

Rt Hon WINSTON PETERS: Ha, ha! That is how I know that they are listening. I was thinking about the day we are all going to be down here as a huge caucus, and I got a bit ahead of myself. I got a bit ahead of myself.

But there is an election on 23 September, and in that campaign, on that day, in that vote, in the 2 weeks beforehand, people are going to have a chance—whether they are going to vote for their province, their families, their communities, or for their politics. Right now all the signs are showing that New Zealanders realise that they better put their hands up for their provinces, for their regions, and for their communities. If they do not do that then nothing will help them now.

I have never seen such a disparity between the rich and the poor, now creeping into the middle-class, in all my life. The great dream of people like Holyoake and others, when that party was a proud party, was a property-owning democracy with the greatest level of egalitarian equality of any society on earth. Look at it now: divisions everywhere. Even now, in wealthy families, people who are poor because they are students—with no chance of ever buying a home unless mum and dad can give them $300,000 or $400,000 to get a start. How many families who thought they were comfortable can afford that? But National has no plan for housing. It is going to bring in the population of Rotorua every year for the next 10 years, but it will not build the infrastructure. If you look at the motorways in Auckland now on a Saturday morning, you will know what a catastrophe this all is.

This has been a day of bad and sad news. The people in this Parliament, watching on that TV station, and listening out there in New Zealand have had to put up with 45 minutes of sad, bad news. But I have got one piece of great news for everybody watching and listening today. I have got one piece of great news for everybody out there who is watching, and it is this: that was Steven Joyce’s first and last Budget.

Trump challenges Arab leaders on Muslim terrorism

On his visit to the Middle East Donald Trump has called for Arab leaders – he was speaking to the leaders of 55 Muslim majority countries in his visit to Saudi Arabia –  to deal with their “Islamist extremism” terrorism problem.

But Saudi (Sunni) King Salman introduced Trump’s speech by condemning Shi’ite Iran.

Reuters: Trump tells Middle East to ‘drive out’ Islamist extremists

U.S. President Donald Trump called on Arab leaders to do their fair share to “drive out” terrorism from their countries on Sunday in a speech that put the burden on the region to combat militant groups.

“America is prepared to stand with you in pursuit of shared interests and common security. But nations of the Middle East cannot wait for American power to crush this enemy for them”.

“The nations of the Middle East will have to decide what kind of future they want for themselves, for their countries and frankly for their families and for their children.”

“It’s a choice between two futures and its a choice America cannot make for you. A better future is only possible if your nations drive out the terrorists and drive out the extremists.

“Drive them out! Drive them out of your places of worship. Drive them out of your communities. Drive them out of your holy land and drive them out of this earth”.

“Terrorism has spread across the world. But the path to peace begins right here, on this ancient soil, in this sacred land”.

Trump should get a lot of support in the Western world, and deserves praise for openly confronting extremist terrorism. But he may have dismayed some of the more radical anti-Muslim activists who campaign against the whole Islamic religion and all it’s followers.

Trump’s signature phrase “radical Islamic terrorism” was not included in the speech, according to excerpts released in advance by the White House.

Instead, he used the term “Islamist extremism”, which refers to Islamism as political movement rather than Islam as a religion, a distinction that he had frequently criticized the administration of his predecessor Barack Obama for making.

Trump was speaking to a very different audience to when he was campaigning in the United States. Whether his Muslim audience takes on board and accepts his change of rhetoric is yet to be seen.

Introducing Trump, Saudi King Salman described their mutual foe Iran as the source of terrorism they must confront together.

“Our responsibility before God and our people and the whole world is to stand united to fight the forces of evil and extremism wherever they are … The Iranian regime represents the tip of the spear of global terrorism.”

Iran is a Shi’ite Muslim country. The groups that the United States has been fighting in Afghanistan, Iraq and elsewhere since the September 11, 2001 attacks on Washington and New York are mostly Sunni Muslims, and enemies of Iran.

That may not be such a good sign. Iran is not the only source or supporter or financier of terrorism. It’s highly ironic that the 911 terrorists were mostly from Saudi Arabia.

In general terms I think Trump has spoken some good words, but in the context of promoting peace and anti-extremism and anti-terrorism in Saudi Arabia associated with an attack on Iran and Shi’ite Muslims may divide and ignite rather than draw Muslim leaders together in a push for peace.


Gezza: “Donald Trump’s 30 minute speech to the Sunni Muslim World at the Gulf Cooperation Council. Imo, he has actually pulled off his first big act as a statesman.”
https://m.youtube.com/watch?v=-9DgFRuiFuI

Perhaps, but “to the Sunni Muslim World” may point to a potential problem.

Little speech: on Maori

In his ‘state of the nation’ speech in January Andrew Little didn’t mention Maori at all – see Maori 0f Little importance? – but since then Labour’s Maori MPs, candidates and votes have been talked about a lot.

In his Congress speech yesterday Little had to mention Maori, and he did.

And, get this, after the election, at least 1 in 4 Labour MPs will be Māori.

We are going to have the largest representation of Māori MPs of any party, ever, in New Zealand politics.

It’s common for opposition parties to talk in positives in their speeches, like ‘the next Prime Minister’ and from his speech “to all of our dedicated activists and organisers who are going to sweep Labour to government on September 23rd“, and likewise, claiming “at least 1 in 4 Labour MPs will be Māori” presumes all Labour’s electorate MPs will retain their seats and they will improve their share of the party vote. Neither are guaranteed.

Through all these policies and in every decision, Māori will be at the table.

If they have Maori party members and Maori MPs then yes, they will be at Labour’s policy table, but it doesn’t mean they will be influential. 1 in 4 is 25%, from from a majority vote.

Māori aspiration sits at the core of Labour’s vision for New Zealand.

That’s vague and means little in reality.

And that’s all on Maori in the speech. Nothing specific, no policies addressing Maori issues beyond “the Kiwi dream” generalities.

Two contentious Maori issues flared up last week, partnership schools and prisons. On schools:

Thank you for the policy you launched yesterday of health teams in all our schools, which is just one of the ways we’ll bring a fresh approach to our neglected mental health services.

On prisons – nothing.

On the Treaty of Waitangi – nothing.

If Little wants Maori voters to step up and tick Labour in September’s election then Labour may need to step up with some actual policies that will give them some incentive, and promises of policy rewards.

Andrew Little’s speech to Labour’s Congress

Andrew Little’s speech to Labour’s 2017 election  year Congress (in non-election years they have conferences).

Andrew Little speech to 2017 Congress

Delegates, we have four and a half months ahead of us, and a great opportunity to give this country a fresh approach:

  • to make sure everyone has a decent place to live;
  • for hospitals that can treat everyone who turns up for care;
  • to give hope to young people looking for work;
  • to make our rivers clean again and take real action on climate change and the environment.

Delegates, the next four and a half months are a fight for a better New Zealand, and for everyone in this magnificent country of ours.

Delegates, we can do this.  We must do this.

Thank you for devoting this weekend to the cause of Labour and contributing so much to this year’s election.

I acknowledge our President Nigel Haworth and our General Secretary and campaign manager Andrew Kirton. Thank you for the tremendous work you both do.

And, of course, I acknowledge my Deputy Leader Jacinda Ardern.

Jacinda, thank you for the support you give me. Thank you for your speech yesterday and the passion with which you advocate for our children and young people. Thank you for the policy you launched yesterday of health teams in all our schools, which is just one of the ways we’ll bring a fresh approach to our neglected mental health services.

To all our MPs and candidates for Parliament – thank you; thank you for putting yourselves forward, either again or for the first time.

And – most important of all – to all of our dedicated activists and organisers who are going to sweep Labour to government on September 23rd. Thank you.

I also want to take a moment to thank the Labour MPs who are retiring from Parliament. All have served our party and our country with distinction.

To Phil Goff, David Shearer, David Cunliffe, Clayton Cosgrove, and Sue Moroney, thank you for your service to Labour and to New Zealand. We owe each of you an enormous debt.

I especially want to pay tribute to Annette King.

Thank you Annette, for everything you’ve done for everyone in this room, and for the people of New Zealand.

Annette has been our rock. She helped me lay the foundation for rebuilding the Party after the last election.

Thank you, Annette, for your lifetime of service to Labour. You are a titan of this great Labour movement.

Of course as current MPs retire, Labour has an impressive crop of new candidates ready to come to Parliament after the election. They’ll be fantastic MPs.

I’m especially proud of two things:

We’re going to bring at least nine new, amazingly talented women to Parliament as Labour MPs.

And, get this, after the election, at least 1 in 4 Labour MPs will be Māori.

We are going to have the largest representation of Māori MPs of any party, ever, in New Zealand politics.

You know, it was such a nice feeling to be introduced by Leigh before. She has sustained and supported me in challenging roles over many years, and I am hugely grateful.

I couldn’t do this job without her.

Leigh and I have been together for nineteen wonderful years. She’s my soulmate, and we have a son who is our pride and joy.

We’ve lived the typical Kiwi story in many ways.

Leigh and I met just after I started working. We settled down, bought a house, started a family, and got married – which is a very 21st century order in which to do things.

Many of you will have a similar kind of story to tell.

That first house we bought in 2000 cost us $315,000. That wasn’t a small amount of money for us, but it was manageable.

It got us a nice, three-bedroom starter home, built on a hillside in Wellington.

And, like any good Wellington house, it was up about a thousand steps!

For Leigh and me, being able to buy that first house gave us a measure of financial security and certainty. More importantly, Ii It gave us a sense of our own place.

It was the house we brought our baby boy home to.

I remember that time vividly. Preparing the baby room. And putting this precious bundle of humanity in his cot for the first time. This tiny little thing, in this ocean of sheets.

Of course, Cam’s nearly 6 foot tall now. He doesn’t fit in the cot anymore!

The story of our first home is a story told by thousands of Kiwi families every day.

A place to call home.

A place to raise your children.

The Kiwi dream.

It’s the story Labour wants for every Kiwi family.

But let me tell you something. We bought that house in 2000 for $315,000. Now, it would cost around $830,000. It’s gone up by half a million dollars in 17 years.

Its value has nearly tripled.

But here’s the thing: Families’ incomes haven’t tripled since 2000. Nowhere near.

That’s why housing is getting further and further out of reach.

New Zealand’s housing crisis – yes, crisis – is not just about out of control prices. It’s about the insurmountable barrier that many first home buyers now face. It’s about the rapid increase in rent that tenants are seeing now.

It’s about the disruption it is causing to the education of thousands of children.

It’s about the fact that what is happening with housing is now the main cause of growing inequality and growing poverty in New Zealand today.

You know, I was out door knocking in Mt Roskill last year with Michael Wood. It was a typical Kiwi street, modest family homes – sports gear in the front lawns and washing lines out the back.

I knocked on one door, a typical house, and I realised very quickly there were three families living there. Not one family – three! It wasn’t a big home; it was a modest home. I was gobsmacked by that.

Then, the next door I knocked on, on the same street, had the same thing. Multiple families crammed into a house designed for only one.

And it wasn’t just one or two houses on the street, it was house after house, all with families packed in.

Delegates, that’s not the New Zealand we want.

We can do better.

As Jacinda and I travel the country doing public meetings, housing is the number one issue people raise with us, every single place we go.

You know, last Friday, I was in Hamilton with Nanaia Mahuta, Jamie Strange and Brooke Loader. I met a woman there called Shirley, and her daughter.

She lives on Jebson Place, an area that was once a thriving state house community. But, she told me, the current government has gradually emptied out all the other houses.

Her community is gone. She showed me what is left – a bunch of broken down buildings, a haven for crime.

Shirley couldn’t understand it. Why have they left those houses empty and rotting in the middle of the housing crisis? She told me she just wants her community back. She had tears in her eyes.

So, I told her why I was there that day. I was announcing that Labour will tear down all those abandoned old buildings. And in their place we are going to build a community of 100 affordable KiwiBuild and state houses – a place for families, once again.

Well, you should have seen Shirley’s face. She was beaming from ear to ear.

Security, community, hope. That’s the difference we will make up and down this country by building those homes.

You know, that’s why I do what I do. That’s why I come to work every day. I do it because when I meet people like Shirley, or the people crammed into houses down that street in Mt Roskill, or even look at my own son, Cam and his mates, and wonder what the future holds for them, I know we can and must do better.

And I’m damned well determined to do something about it.

New Zealand urgently needs some fresh thinking on housing.

Every Kiwi family should have a place that they can call home.

And everyone should have a shot at owning their own place.

So here’s what we’re going to do.

The first thing is we will build homes that families can afford to buy.

We will lead the largest house building programme since Michael Joseph Savage carried that dining table into 12 Fife Lane.

We’ll use the money we get from selling the first bunch of houses at cost to build more homes and sell them. And we will keep on doing that – build, sell, build, sell – helping more and more and more families buy a place of their own.

But… building houses is just part of the answer. The other part is dealing with those things that jack up prices and put homes out of reach for so many.

If we want to make sure all Kiwi families get a fair shot – that when it comes to buying a home they have a level playing field – we’ve got to get the speculators out of the way.

We can’t let our homes be gambling chips anymore.

So there are three things we’re going to do to level the playing field:

First, we’ll ban overseas speculators from buying existing houses. Simple as that. We’ll do that in our first hundred days.

Second, we’ll make speculators who flip houses within five years pay tax on their profits.

Third, today I’m announcing Labour will close the tax loophole that allows speculators to claim taxpayer subsidies for their property portfolio.

Right now, speculators can take losses from their rentals and offset that against their personal income. It allows them to avoid paying tax.

This loophole is effectively a hand-out from taxpayers to speculators. It gives them an unfair advantage over Kiwi families.

So I’ll tell you.

We will close the loophole. It is over.

Families don’t deserve to have the odds stacked against them by their own government. They deserve a fair shot. With Labour that’s what they’ll have.

Now, let me be clear. This isn’t about the mum and dad investor who has bought a rental as a long-term investment. The vast majority of them don’t use this loophole. Those that do will have time to adjust.

This policy is about the big speculators who purchase property after property. It’s about those big time speculators who are taking tens of thousands of dollars a year in taxpayer subsidies as they hoover up house after house.

I say to people who would defend these loopholes – how can we as a society possibly defend handing out subsidies to property speculators when most young couples can’t afford to buy their first home.

You ask me whose side I’m on? It’s families. It’s first home buyers.

Removing the speculators’ tax loophole will save taxpayers $150m a year once fully implemented.

Now, Grant, before you get too excited about Treasury getting that money – I’ve got plans for it!

Today, I’m also announcing Labour will invest those savings into grants for home insulation and heating.

Homeowners and landlords will be able to get up to $2,000 towards the cost of upgrading insulation to modern standards or installing heating.

Over a decade, we’ll help make 600,000 Kiwi homes warmer, drier, and healthier.

This is a perfect complement to my Healthy Homes Guarantee Bill that requires all rentals to be up to a standard where they are fit to live in.

40,000 kids a year go into hospital in New Zealand for illnesses related to living in cold, damp, mouldy homes. We’ve got to change that. We can do better.

And Labour will.

That’s the fresh, new approach we’ll bring to housing.

We will build affordable homes.

We will level the playing field.

We’ll make our homes healthy, warm and dry.

You know, National’s had nine years to tackle the housing crisis. And they have failed at every step.

I’m telling you now, where they’ve failed, we will succeed.

Why have we made getting housing right such a priority?

Because it is absolutely essential to New Zealanders’ sense of security and stability.

Home is about “our place.” It’s a place of celebration; a place of refuge. A launching pad to face the day’s adventures and challenges. It’s our landing spot to rest and get ready for the next day. It’s where life is lived. Where futures are dreamed.

Without a place to call your own, it’s hard to have any of these things. To thrive, to prosper, to stand on our own two feet, every New Zealander needs to have a place they can call theirs.

It is Labour’s mission to restore the foundation stone to strong families and strong communities – decent housing.

I’ve focused on housing so far today, but the same values that make housing such a priority underpin everything else Labour does.

We are putting people first.

That’s why we’ll fund our health system so people get the care they need, and not just the care they can afford.

That’s why Labour is facing up to the crisis of neglect in mental health.

And that’s why we’re going to have an education system that has what it needs, and that prepares our young people for the future of work.

Labour has so many fresh ideas for New Zealand.

We’ll ensure the Government buys Kiwi-made to keep work here and invest in regional infrastructure.

We’ll get young people off the dole and into jobs improving their communities and the environment. I am committed to lifting wages and improving work rights, especially for lower income workers.

We’ll make our rivers cleaner and tackle climate change.

Through all these policies and in every decision, Māori will be at the table. Māori aspiration sits at the core of Labour’s vision for New Zealand.

Because we are a progressive party – we stand for a better future for each generation; we think ahead; we invest in the future.

We are a party of great passion – for our people, for ideas that make this a more perfect country.

You know, the election in September will be about who’ll invest in New Zealand’s future. It’s not about the lolly scramble we’re seeing in this year’s Budget.

This election will be about who has the vision, the guts, and the plan to build a better New Zealand that puts people first.

The answer is: Labour does.

Only Labour will build the houses.

Only Labour will reverse the health cuts and boost funding for GP visits and mental health.

And only Labour will make tertiary education and training fees free for three years.

In Labour, we have the vision, we have the guts, and the plan.

I’m here because I believe that all our people should have a fair shot at the Kiwi Dream.

I believe that, just as Norman Kirk said so memorably, we should all have “Someone to love, somewhere to live, somewhere to work and something to hope for”.

I’m here because I believe that a government that puts people first is at the heart of making that vision a reality.

I’m here to help build a better New Zealand.

But, before we get that opportunity to help build that better New Zealand, we’ve had to build a better Labour Party.

We’ve had to build a party that is ready to win, to govern, to lead.

As I look out at this Congress, today, I know we have achieved that.

We’ve done it by working together.

We have built a dynamic, modern party.

We have packed out halls and pubs around the country with ordinary Kiwis, keen to hear our vision. Keen to support our plan.

We have built a strong relationship with the Green Party to show that there is a stable alternative government, ready to go.

And because of all that, we’ve been winning. In the local elections. In Mount Roskill. In Mount Albert.

You know, by the time of the Mt Albert by-election, National had stopped even bothering to show up!

Our Party is in amazing shape.

We have a fantastic caucus, amazing new candidates, a huge army of volunteers, and hundreds of thousands of Kiwis signed up as supporters.

Labour is ready to win in 2017.

This election is ours to win. All over the country, people are telling me they’re ready for a change.

To make that happen, we need much more than politicians on a stage.

Ours is a community movement. It’s powered by people like you.

Mums and Dads.

Students and teachers.

Workers and families.

You and me.

Our movement wins when we bring thousands of committed people with us.

I wouldn’t want it any other way.

New Zealanders have a clear choice at this election.

We can choose a tired government that has run its course.

Or we can choose a new, positive vision for a better New Zealand.

This isn’t going to be an easy fight. It’s going to be close. It’s going to be tough.

I’ve faced tough fights before, and this is one fight we simply have to win.

Here’s my message to New Zealanders this year:

It’s time for a fresh team with energy and passion.

It’s time for new ideas on housing.

It’s time to give hope to our young people.

Vote for a better New Zealand.

Vote Labour.

Delegates, let’s do it.

Valedictory Statement – David Cunliffe

Remember David Cunliffe? He was one of the better ministers for the Clark government, and later led Labour to a bad result in the 2014 election, failing popularity tests within his own part let alone with the public.

Last year he indicated he had a better job to go to and would leave Parliament as soon as he could without causing a by-election in his New Lynn electorate.

On Tuesday he gave his valedictory speech in Parliament. I guess he is not an MP soon, if not now.

VALEDICTORY STATEMENTS

Hon DAVID CUNLIFFE (Labour—New Lynn):

Te papa pounamu

Aotearoa New Zealand

Karanga, karanga, karanga;

Ngā tupuna

Haere, haere, haere;

Te kāhui ora te korowai o tēnei Whare;

E tū, e tū, tū tahi tonu

Ki a koutou ōku hoa mahi ki Te Kāwanatanga;

Noho mai, noho mai, noho mai

Kia tau te rangimārie ki a tātou katoa;

Ka ao, ka ao, ka awatea.

[Authorised translation to be inserted by the Hansard Office.]

They say that giving a valedictory speech is a bit like being buried alive; it is intended to be permanent, it is usually followed by a wake, and you get to witness the eulogies. Having failed miserably to obey Holyoake’s advice to breathe through my nose on my way in here, his advice may be more useful on the way out. May I thank colleagues from all sides who have joined us today—yes, I really am going. To all of the friends and family who have joined us from New Lynn and all around New Zealand, it is profoundly moving to have you all here. Thank you so very much for attending.

I think our early lives frame why we are all here. My parents were from a politically mixed marriage. For years, they actually cancelled each other out at the polling booth and probably should have saved the petrol. My father, the Rev. Bill Cunliffe—the “Red Reverend”—was the son of railway workers and miners. He was the first in his family to go to university. Priests, poets, and politicians—the Cunliffes were always idealists.

My mother’s family were National-voting farming folk. They just got stuff done. My mother was one of four feisty daughters and ahead of her time. She nursed around the world for a decade, starting in post-war Africa. But despite my mother’s pleas to avoid politics at the breakfast table, ours was never a household short of opinions—it still is not, as I look to my sons—or, as an Anglican vicarage, was never short of opportunities to meet and help the needy.

As a kid, I helped my dad with Labour Party chook raffles at the Pleasant Point pub because he was chairman of the Point branch and on Sir Basil Arthur’s LEC. I was also caned in the third form for biffing a mate who called me a “Labour poof”, so I learned some of my politics by osmosis and some by more direct means. My childhood in small-town rural New Zealand was both idyllic and formative. From Te Aroha to Te Kūiti to Pleasant Point, afternoons were spent fishing, weekends playing rugby, and holidays farm labouring or rousying in a shearing gang. Those are things you can definitely find on my CV.

Politics, they say, is like malaria; once it is in your bloodstream, it is really hard to get rid of. I really caught the bug as a Foreign Service officer tramping Capitol Hill in Washington for the New Zealand Embassy. But it was not until I got back to New Zealand that I got to indulge it. In 1999, thanks to an amazing Titirangi campaign team, we turned a National-held marginal into a safe Labour seat. The campaign theme was so simple, I can still remember it: cops, docs, trees, jobs, and kids. Not a bad line if we are stuck for one in 2017.

About that time I featured in a Young Labour fund-raising calendar as a gladiator. Go figure. Marian Hobbs was a nun on a motorbike, and Trevor and Steve were the Blues Brothers because they were cool.

Hon Trevor Mallard: A long time ago.

Hon DAVID CUNLIFFE: It was a while ago. But, in any case, picture the class of ’99 washing into Parliament with huge energy. We actually staged a backbench revolt in the Finance and Expenditure Committee to hold up the demutualisation of the New Zealand Stock Exchange, preventing a hostile takeover by the ASX and demanding a proper regulatory framework that may have been good for economic sovereignty, but we got our ears boxed for our enthusiasm. Likewise, chairing the Commerce Committee in my first term, we did not sugar-coat too many pills after 9 long years of opposition. I must have mellowed with age, because the Regulations Review Committee, which I chaired this term, has never put anything to the vote, and I thank members on both sides of that committee for their collegiality and professionalism.

The years 1999 to 2000 saw business pushback against the Clark Government’s reforms. It was countered with our very own “smoked salmon offensive” of canapé and conversation. My small part in that was tragically outed when I erroneously emailed a plan to Jenny Shipley’s office. When it turned up on the 6 o’clock news, it took precisely 2 seconds for Prime Minister Helen Clark to ring me and share her views on the story with me. You know what I mean: “Yes, Helen.” Jonathan Hunt gave me two excellent pieces of advice that first term that stuck: never forget you are here only because you have Labour next to your name, and knock every door in your electorate in your first term, because once your constituents know that you are there for them, they will forgive your later time in Wellington. I have loved being a local MP. To the good people of New Lynn, thank you for letting me represent you. I hope I have done the job justice.

MPs come to Parliament not only to serve their district but also to contest ideas and policies. We are lucky that we have this institution, that we have the media to cover it, and that we have healthy debate. Since I first walked into this place, my political values have been grounded in a very simple belief: that all people are created equal and that, therefore, they all deserve equal opportunity, dignity, and respect; that markets make good servants but bad masters; and that it is the Government’s job to ensure that the economy serves our people and not the other way around.

In a small country, we are all in it together. If we do not educate all our young, who is going to pay for the superannuation and healthcare of tomorrow? If all our people do not have warm, dry homes, some of our kids will get sick and cannot learn, and if all people do not have jobs that pay a living wage, we will all be the poorer for it. Those are principles that we worked hard to deliver on in the fifth Labour Government, and the next Labour Government will too.

I was fortunate to cut my teeth in the Beehive with Sir Michael Cullen, surely one of New Zealand’s greatest finance Ministers, and under the leadership of Helen Clark. I always thought that to work with one of them would have been lucky; to work with a team of two was extraordinary. But it did not take me long to work out that the real job of an Associate Minister is photocopying, which is shorthand for doing anything else that senior Ministers either do not have the time or the inclination to do. So I got to ask State-owned enterprises why they were not writing bigger cheques to the Minister of Finance and to ask the IRD why the child support system pleased absolutely nobody. A highlight was making sandwiches with Trevor Mallard for that modern miracle, the State sector Budget round. Michael Cullen described the fiscal balance as the difference between two very large numbers that bounce around a lot—Grant is smiling; he knows—but balance them he did, with nine straight surpluses and KiwiSaver and the New Zealand Superannuation Fund to boot. They have stood the test of time, and I believe they are crying out to be built upon.

In information and communications technology (ICT), I watched Hon Paul Swain get sliced and diced by the then monopoly Telecom after the 2001 Fletcher inquiry called time on that neo-Liberal version of The Emperor’s New Clothes known as “self-regulation”. It sounds a bit like self-flagellation, but less useful. When, after the 2005 election, Helen Clark asked me to take on the ICT portfolio, we started a broad-based stocktake review immediately, and after 6 months of research it was a compelling business case for pro-competitive regulation. Because of the sensitivity of the issue, we placed high security around all of the paperwork, but that did not stop a Beehive messenger slipping a copy of the Cabinet committee papers to someone from Telecom at a cycle club meeting. The resulting protest from Telecom was, however, too late; Cabinet had already approved the far-reaching package that unbundled and operationally separated Telecom and overhauled the regulator. Taking legal advice, we released the package that very day, and despite the short-term impact on share prices generated by the loss of monopoly rents, as predicted, investment in the sector doubled, retail prices fell, and broadband roll-out took off. The current Government has continued that work, and good on it. New Zealand is now amongst one of the best-served telecommunications markets in the world, and Kiwis really did get faster, cheaper broadband.

As immigration Minister, my focus was on protecting human rights and getting the skills we needed to move New Zealand forward. I learnt pretty quickly that moderate, skill-driven immigration helps build a modern, connected New Zealand. But too many people too quickly puts undue pressure on infrastructure and communities, all in the name of grabbing more GDP. No prizes for guessing which zone we are in now!

Inheriting the health portfolio a year before a general election was bound to be fun. In my first week, senior doctors were about to go on strike. The headlines screamed “system failure”. The strike was averted after a long liquid dinner in my Beehive office with the district health board and senior doctors’ representatives. The only condition was no one was allowed to leave until the deal was signed, which was actually at 5.30 the next morning.

Building on the work of previous Ministers, we accelerated universal bowel cancer screening—something that still has not happened; we integrated service planning for cardiology, health, IT, and other specialities; we boosted mental health funding, which still needs doing, and kept a strong focus on public health. I still believe that there is huge benefit in a free or low-cost, world-class health system that is nationally integrated and reaches right into communities.

Going into Opposition in 2008 was a shock for the Labour Party. The global financial crisis had made sure of it for our Government, and I think we had also lost connection with the people and some of our own members. It has been, as it is for most parties, a long, hard road back, but it does give you time to reflect on what really matters.

My time in several economic portfolios led me to some pretty straightforward conclusions. New Zealand, as Grant knows, does not save enough. What we do save, we invest in the wrong things. Without enough saving, investment is too costly and jobs are too few. KiwiSaver was a good start, but it needs a boost, and the New Zealand Superannuation Fund must be made sustainable. We invest less than half of the OECD average in research and development, and yet that smart stuff is what is going to win us markets and give our kids access to the global jobs of the future.

What capital we do have, we spend on the wrong things, like bidding each other’s house prices up. I remember my horror when I found the first family in Kelston living in a garage. We got the dad a job, the kids are now at medical school, but, tragically, you cannot find many garages to park a car in these days in South Auckland. New Zealand has become a speculator’s “pavlova paradise”: no capital gains tax, negative gearing, weak rules on foreign land bankers, and throw in tax loopholes big enough to drive an Apple through.

It is time we put our policies where our principles are, not only because a fair go is right but because the evidence is compelling: more equal societies do better economically too. In New Zealand, inequality is actually holding us back. It is crippling our ability to do well as a country. The poor are getting poorer, the middle is working harder just to stand still. With nearly all of the wealth created in the past decade attaching, on average, to the top 1 percent, a smaller and smaller share of national income is actually going to wage and salary earners. At some stage, hopefully soon, it has got to reach a tipping point. Notwithstanding that, as the late, great John Clarke said: “We don’t know how lucky we are.”—I think he said “Trev”.

This side of the House makes no apology for fighting inequality, investing in people and smarts, and celebrating all that is good in this beautiful, diverse, and innovative country, and much of that, thank goodness, we all share. That was the message I hoped would resonate with many New Zealanders during my short time as Leader of the Opposition, including some of the missing million who could not be bothered to turn out to vote at all because they could not see the point any more. I could write a book about the 2014 election campaign, but I do not think anyone would believe it, or possibly read it. But, in any case, that campaign was one of the most bizarre the country has ever seen. We had Kim Dotcom, Donghua Liu, and dirty politics coming out our ears, but what the Labour Party did not have enough of was time: time to heal our old wounds, time to raise the money, and time to build the systems to get our message through. Mike Moore once said that the easiest way to be wrong in politics is to be right too soon. I have no regrets for standing up for what I believe in, though I recognise that my delivery could at times have done with some work. And no, family violence is still not OK.

So it was a huge privilege to be able to lead the New Zealand Labour Party, and I am indebted to all who were part of that campaign. I want to commend my successor, Andrew Little, and his deputy, Jacinda Ardern, and all my colleagues, who are now building for the 2017 campaign that will give New Zealanders a real choice for a fresh start.

Progressive politics has been my passion for these last 18 years, but if politics is like malaria—a recurrent fever—I think I might be just about cured. I have done what I can, and the time really has come to move on. I thank members for coming along to make sure I really mean it, but, unlike David Lange, I am not even going to joke about changing my mind, because I am lucky enough—I mean this—to be able to change tacks in my own time, in my own direction, and without a by-election, because Labour did so well in the last two I just could not inflict another one on members opposite. [Interruption] Lighten up, I am going.

Mr Assistant Speaker, thank you for allowing the electorate offices of all our departing members to continue to serve needy constituencies through these short months of interregnum. They say—this is unfair—that politicians are a mile wide and a millimetre deep; that may be the Bellamy’s catering. I am, however, looking forward to returning to the private sector and getting stuck in to some deeper issues, consulting to businesses, iwi, and regions.

So I am moving on with a real sense of optimism and excitement and, of course, a huge deal of gratitude. It is not possible—we all know this—to commit to a life in politics without the generous and selfless support of family and of friends. There are so many people to thank, it is impossible to do justice to them all. For some, I will convey privately the gratitude that time and place does not allow me to do today. To my long-standing electorate agents Sue Hagen and Lusi Schwenke: you have been with me through virtually the whole of my time in politics, and you have been there through the tough times. I could not have wished for better support or better friends. Thank you.

To my talented researcher Kris Lal; my dedicated executive assistants Reremoana Fuli, Esther Robinson, David Hawkins, Paul Grant, Sue Piper, Gay Pledger, and others; to my former Labour Leader’s Office staff, including Karl Beckert, Wendy Brandon, Rob Carr, Simon Cunliffe, Carolyn Dick, Rob Egan, Chris Harrington, Neale Jones, Matt McCarten, Deborah Manning, Elizabeth Munday, Dinah Okeby, Bronwyn Presland, Bridget Service, and Clint Smith—not forgetting, in the whips’ office, Emma Williams and Peter Hoare and my former ministerial staff, some of whom are in the gallery today: thank you all so much for what you do for New Zealand, and thank you for what we did together.

To the Labour Party leadership, especially presidents Nigel Haworth and Moira Coatsworth, general secretaries Andrew Kirton and Tim Barnett, as well as the thousands of volunteers and members who give so selflessly to build a better New Zealand; to our affiliates in the union movement, especially my friends the late Helen Kelly and the late Peter Conway; to Sam Huggard and Jill Ovens and friends here today; and to Richard Wagstaff, Angus McConnell, Chris Flatt, Joe Fleetwood, Bill Newsom, Robert Reid, and many others: kia kaha, e hoa.

To the incredible New Lynn Labour electorate committee: to Greg and Jan Presland, Clare Hargraves, Raema Ingles, James Armstrong, Eanna Doyle, and Val Graham; Kirsten H and what’s-his-name, Don and Noreen Clark—[Interruption]—there is a reason for that—Val and Don Rogerson, Bruce and Trixie Harvey, David and Liz Craig, Dorothy and Alan McGray, Nissanka Kumarawansa, Ami and the late Savitri Chand, Susan Zhu, Vanessa King, Kaye Jones, Martin and Laurice Holland, and to my excellent intended successor for New Lynn, Dr Deborah Russell, and to the Socialist Speechwriter, thank you all.

To Helen Clark, Michael Cullen, Jonathan Hunt, Perry Keenan, Sir Bob and Lady Harvey, Richard and Jackie Randerson, Rick Boven, Richard Zeckhauser, and Nitin Nohria: thank you all for your patience and guidance over the years. Thank you to the press gallery and the media for the important role that you continue to play. To all the parliamentary staff who keep us fed, watered, and safe: we could not do it—New Zealand could not do it—without you.

Finally, to my family, who have given the most over so many years, and especially to my two sons, William and Cameron, who are here today: I am so very proud of you guys. I love you very much, and I am looking forward to spending more time with you when I get home. You guys face a world that is more complex and more challenging than that inherited by those baby boomers, and us Gen-Xers, sitting in Parliament today. While our world is changing in fundamental ways, the values that guide us should not, because they are, ultimately, what make politics worth doing, not the rollercoaster of media attention or the greasy pole of competition. This is, ultimately, a service job, and that is what, for me at least, has made it such a privilege to be part of.

To all sides—all sides—of this special House and all who serve it, I wish you all well. I look forward now to just being a voter and a constituent from now on. Haere rā. [Applause]

Waiata