Winston Peters ‘a dangerous old man’

On Friday in a speech at a business breakfast in Waipu – transcript here – Winston Peters said under WHAT NZ FIRST WILL DO:

  • To battle this problem New Zealand First will lower the age of criminal responsibility.
  • We will change social welfare to demand parental accountability.
  • We are not going to spend taxpayers’ money on parents who won’t keep their side of the deal.
  • We will make sure there are far more police – 1800 more as soon as they can be trained.
    After all, the last time we had a chance we trained 1000 front line police in three years flat.
  • We will return this country to what other generations knew: That crime doesn’t pay.
  • We are going to repeal the anti-smacking law which doesn’t work and has in fact seen greater violence towards children.

Anti crime, which presumably means anti-violent crime, but pro smacking.

Peters/NZ First also put out a media release titled ‘We Will Return NZ To: Crime Doesn’t Pay’

To battle widespread criminal behaviour by young people socially DNA-ed for destruction as seen in Kaikohe last weekend, New Zealand First will, among other measures, repeal the anti-smacking law.

“We live in a ‘PC age’ where there are more rules on the teachers and the police than young offenders and their parents,” said Mr Peters in a speech at Waipu this morning.

“We no longer hold these little ‘tow-rag’ offenders responsible for their actions.

“Instead we hear 100 different reasons why it’s not their fault.

“That’s rubbish.

“They’re old enough to know exactly what they’re doing.

“They know they will get away with it and that there will be no repercussions.

”Meanwhile, the old parties in parliament want the age of criminal responsibility raised.

“Many of these politicians have no idea how the other half live and don’t venture into the real world.

“Besides repealing the anti-smacking law, which doesn’t work and has in fact seen greater violence towards children, New Zealand First will lower the age of criminal responsibility; change social welfare to demand parental accountability and will make sure there are far more police on the frontline – 1800 more as soon as they can be trained.

“We will return this country to what other generations knew: That crime doesn’t pay,” said Mr Peters.

Calling young people toe-rags and encouraging the bash may appeal to populist votes but it is unlikely to solve youth crime.

Does Peters have any evidence to support his claim the the anti-smacking law “doesn’t work and has in fact seen greater violence towards children”? He has habit of making unsubstantiated claims.

Sue Bradford has called Peters a ‘dangerous old man’:

Winston Peters has been labelled a “dangerous old man” who’s “really past his prime”, after vowing to repeal the so-called anti-smacking law.

Sue Bradford, the former Green MP behind the law, told The AM Show on Monday she was “horrified” by his recent comments.

“What he’s advocating is the return of the legalising of assault on our children, which is the last thing our kids need and the last thing the kids of Northland need.”

Ms Bradford said: “He’s talking about this on the back of the incident up in Kaikohe recently with the young people rampaging.

“Those kids probably see far too much violence I’d suggest in their lives already, far too much poverty, unemployment, a lack of opportunities for their families in their part of the country.”

The 2007 law change removed the defence of “reasonable force” in cases where parents and caregivers were being prosecuted for assault on children.

“It’s helped massively to change the idea that actually parents and other adults responsible for children are legally entitled to use physical punishment on their kids, that sometimes led to quite serious assaults,” said Ms Bradford.

Repealing the law would send the wrong message, she believes.

“We’ve got ‘it’s not okay’ campaigns about beating our partners, our wives, but on the other hand, children don’t matter?”

Conservative lobby group Family First says there have been massive increases in child abuse in the decade since the law began, but Ms Bradford says repealing the anti-smacking law won’t fix that.

“As the truly dreadful levels of family violence in this country continue, they cannot be laid to this law. No law can stop that.”

Massive increases in child abuse in the decade since the law began? That seems like a massive exaggeration, and I’d be surprised if they have evidence of a direct connection between the law change and levels of violence against children.

Family First have always strongly opposed the law change. They have put out a media release in support of Peters: NZ First Repeal Of Anti-Smacking Law Welcomed

This makes some claims about violence levels.

Police statistics show there has been a 136% increase in physical abuse, 43% increase in sexual abuse, 45% increase in neglect or ill-treatment of children, and 71 child abuse deaths since the law was passed in 2007. CYF have had more than 1 million notifications of abuse and there has been a 42% increase in physical abuse found by CYF since 2007.

But that does nothing to prove cause and effect. There are alternative claims that a greater awareness of violence against children has led to greater levels of reporting of abuse, which may be a positive effect rather than a negative effect.

In the past excessive smacking (more than a tap on the bum) and bashing tended to get swept under legal and social carpets.

I think that it’s very difficult to prove the effects of the law change on offending rates.

I believe that any moves to encourage less violence, and less smacking while encouraging effective alternatives, has to end up being better for children in general in the long run.

Peters may get some votes from his support of smacking law repeal, but I think it will come to nothing more than that.

I think it is very unlikely that there will be enough votes in Parliament to just repeal the smacking law. The old version was seriously flawed.

The only chance of change is if someone comes up with an improvement to the also flawed current law – but at least it signals that violence against children should be reduced.

No indication from Peters whether he would add smacking law repeal to his list of coalition bottom lines.

Corporal punishment proposed after Kaikohe rampage

More police and corporal punishment are suggested solutions after a rampage in Kaikohe.

NZ Herald: Police nab one teen after rampage in Kaikohe

The weekend’s trouble started on Friday when about half a dozen youths walked into The Shed liquor store on Marino Court and walked out with about 10 boxes of beer.

Police tracked them to a party on Shaw St but with just two officers, and the adults at the party defending the youths, there was little they could do, Taylor said.

At about 1am on Saturday, a group of about 20 youngsters tried to break into the Mobil service station.

Taylor said the group was like “a pack of deranged animals” trying to kick in the doors and throwing rocks at the glass.

They did not get in but caused about $1000 of damage to the iwi-owned service station.

Taylor said there weren’t enough police in the district to handle such situations.

People are understandably concerned and frustrated but it is simply not feasible to have enough police numbers available in small towns around the clock to deal with occasional incidents like this.

At the time of the attempted break-in at Mobil, police were attending incidents in Waipapa, Kerikeri and Kawakawa, as well as a crash at Oromahoe.

A sergeant and one other officer were in Kaikohe and police reached the service station three minutes after the first 111 call, Symonds said.

There will always be times that the police struggle to cope, especially with major incidents in relatively remote areas.

On Friday night most staff were deployed to Paihia and Kerikeri because that was where problems were expected.

And they can’t accurately guess where the problems will occur.

A 13-year-old has been apprehended by police after a group of youths – some thought to be as young as 11 – went on a rampage; helping themselves to boxes of beer from a liquor store and trying to smash their way into a service station.

The ages of those involved must be a real worry.

Radio NZ: Bring back corporal punishment in schools – National rep

The chair of the National Party’s Kaikohe branch, Alan Price, said systems were not in place to deal with growing drug use and young people running riot in his town and others.

“Whilst we need more police, there’s a bigger underlying problem here,” he said.

Mr Price told Morning Report the solution was to put corporal punishment back into schools.

Though the do-gooders would not like it, something needed to be done, he said.

“You can’t raise children without discipline and we’re getting into the situation where we’ve got an uncontrollable rat race that you can’t do anything with in this country.

“Until we stand up to it and do something about it and change the law that means you can discipline somebody for something they do wrong – to me it is a form of child abuse not to raise a child with discipline.”

Discipline – yes, but the country has moved on from using physical violence to try and teach children not to be violent.

I don’t know what Price’s party connections were highlighted, this is presumably his person reaction, not party policy.

The MP for Northland, New Zealand First leader Winston Peters, said the catch-and-release principle for young offenders had to change if youth crime in the area was to be curbed.

He said the number of charges had fallen despite a rise in criminal offences. “If you’re going to have discipline, then you’ve going to have to ensure that rather than have a catch and release policy, like some game fishing outfit, we actually charge these people with crimes, and we’re not doing it.”

Is Peters suggesting catch and imprison?

Once again people are rushing to offer simplistic solutions to complex problems.

The Kaikohe community needs to work together on how to address this problem. Their youths were vandalising their own community’s property.

 

Labour v Maori Party continued

The election campaign gloves are off between Labour and the Maori Party, and another round was fought in Parliament today. Kelvin Davis tried to score a hit on Te Ururoa Flavell, but Marama Fox joined the fray to hit back with a Willie Jackson jab.

Jackson had heaped praise on the Maori Party’s success in Government in June last year = see Opinion: Willie Jackson at Stuff.

I have to take my hat off to Maori Development Minister Te Ururoa Flavell for keeping the kaupapa of the Maori Party beating while gaining wins from the Government in the 2016 Budget.

Jackson is now putting himself forward for the Labour list.

Winston Peters tried to score with a jab too, but it was a swing and a miss. At least he didn’t end up with egg on his face like Davis and Labour.

Māori Development, Minister—Confidence

8. KELVIN DAVIS (Labour—Te Tai Tokerau) to the Minister for Māori Development: Does he have confidence that his leadership of Te Puni Kōkiri and its programmes are resulting in the best outcomes for Māori?

Hon TE URUROA FLAVELL (Minister for Māori Development): Tēnā koe, Mr Speaker. Kia ora tātou. Tēnā koe tēnā pātai. I believe that thousands of whānau up and down the country are being well supported by Te Puni Kōkiri to achieve better outcomes. Our whānau deserve the best possible support they can get, which is why I have high expectations of all Government agencies and their leadership, including myself, to deliver to our people—to Māori people.

Kelvin Davis: How does he reconcile that view that he is doing his best for Māori when the gap in median weekly earnings between Māori and Pākehā has risen 47 percent since his party shacked up with this Government?

Hon TE URUROA FLAVELL: The member asked about better outcomes, and to take an example—let me highlight just one or two. I will start with Māori housing, for example: 344 whānau communities like in Kaeō in the member’s electorate are now in safer, warmer, and heathier—

Kelvin Davis: I raise a point of order, Mr Speaker. The question was around median weekly earnings.

Mr SPEAKER: No, the member then added something that almost caused me to rule the question out of order, and he referred to a coalition arrangement in some rather political terms, so that gives a very wide ambit to the Minister in answering the question.

Hon TE URUROA FLAVELL: If I can continue with this fine record, 344 whānau and communities, like Kaeō, are now in safer, warmer, and healthier homes. Sixty whānau and communities, like Ōmāpere, are now in new affordable rental homes. Homeless whānau are now getting better support in communities like Kaeō and Kaitāia through emergency housing projects. I was pleased to see, for example, the member in Kaitāia—the member and me; both of us together—launching and supporting Ricky Houghton in his housing project. Those sorts of projects are producing good outcomes for our people and I am pleased to be supporting them.

Kelvin Davis: Does he believe, as Minister for Māori Development, that the selling off of State houses is rangatiratanga, as his colleague stated, when Māori are four times more likely to be waiting for a State house despite all of those things he has just gone through?

Hon TE URUROA FLAVELL: Speaking about housing, we disagree with the submission put through by that member at the moment. But I can say, on the opposite side, for example, that in the community of Ngāruawāhia, where I had the privilege to be probably just about a week ago, there was the opening of te Turner papakāinga housing. It is a nine bedroom home that will house four generations—10 adults and nine tamariki. Those are the sorts of projects that are really benefiting Māori and getting better outcomes for our people. Those are the sorts of projects that Te Puni Kōkiri are supporting, and those are the projects that I am proud to be Minister to advocate for.

Kelvin Davis: Does he, as Minister for Māori Development, believe that, given lower Māori life expectancy, it is fair that the age of superannuation is raised?

Hon TE URUROA FLAVELL: Talking about life expectancy, one of the great things that I have to be proud about is a funding allocation of $2 million this year to support initiatives aimed at reducing rangatahi suicide, including video resources and hui. Those are the sorts of things that are positive.

Hon Members: Answer the question.

Mr SPEAKER: Order! I am going invite the member to ask that question again.

Kelvin Davis: My point of order is that I asked whether it is fair—

Mr SPEAKER: No, no, I have asked will the member please ask the question again.

Kelvin Davis: OK. Does he, as Minister for Māori Development, believe that, given lower Māori life expectancy, it is fair that the age of superannuation is raised?

Hon TE URUROA FLAVELL: That is a Government policy. In terms of the Māori Party view of that—as one part of the coalition arrangement with the Government—we believe that our policy is clear: to maintain the age as it is at present. That is our view.

Chris Hipkins: I raise a point of order, Mr Speaker. The member is answering as a Minister on behalf of the Government. It is not his job as a Minister to give a party perspective; it is his job to answer on behalf of the Government as a Minister in the Government.

Hon Gerry Brownlee: Mr Speaker—

Mr SPEAKER: I do not think there is much to talk about, but I will hear from the Hon Gerry Brownlee.

Hon Gerry Brownlee: It was established in this House by Helen Clark and, in fact, Jim Anderton and the new hope for the Labour Party, Laila Harré, that a person who is a Minister inside a coalition Government, when asked a question about their party’s policy, could answer so.

Mr SPEAKER: I need no further help, but I thank both members for their assistance. In this case a very clear question was asked, and I think that the Minister answered it very satisfactorily.

Kelvin Davis: When Māori unemployment is rising, the wage gap is growing, health outcomes are getting worse, and homeownership is a fantasy, how can he, with a straight face, say that Māori are getting positive outcomes under his watch?

Hon TE URUROA FLAVELL: The gist of the questions asked by the member is about responsibility, and I take those responsibilities really seriously. Can we do better? Of course we can do better, and my hope is to do that by way of advocating through my role as the Minister for Māori Development. For example, in Whānau Ora $40 million over 4 years is about addressing those issues that the member has put in front of the Parliament today. In terms of business and innovation, it is about moving families to get into positions of self-sustaining businesses, and so on—again, $4 million over 4 years. Those are the gains that we have been able to achieve to address best outcomes for our people. I think they need to be applauded.

Mr SPEAKER: Question No. 9—[Interruption] The member has used her supplementary question.

Marama Fox: Sorry, we had an agreement to have another supplementary question allocated. That is my understanding.

Mr SPEAKER: Order! I can see that the chief Government whip is saying that is true, but it is helpful for me, in running question time, if I am made aware of such arrangements.

Marama Fox: Apologies, Mr Speaker, and thank you for your indulgence. Has the Minister read any reports about the very good work that he and Te Puni Kōkiri are doing?

Hon TE URUROA FLAVELL: As it happens, I do. If I can quote from that report: “I have to take my hat off to the Māori Development Minister Te Ururoa Flavell for keeping the kaupapa of the Māori Party beating while gaining wins from the Government in the 2016 Budget.” The quote goes on: “in the past two years, he has done a good job for Māori and can feel satisfied with a new Whanau Ora injection of another $40 million over the next four years—a total of $72 million a year in welfare, education and health spending to go through Whanau Ora providers.” That quote came from the newest member of the Labour Party, Willie Jackson. [Interruption]

Mr SPEAKER: Order!

Rt Hon Winston Peters: I raise a point of order, Mr Speaker. [Interruption]

Mr SPEAKER: Order! This is a point of order and I expect to hear it in silence.

Rt Hon Winston Peters: The Hon Te Ururoa Flavell said it was a report. That being the case, can I ask him to table it.

Mr SPEAKER: This is easily arranged if the Minister was quoting from an official document. Was the Minister quoting from an official document?

Hon TE URUROA FLAVELL: No, Mr Speaker, from a radio broadcast.

Mr SPEAKER: Then the matter is resolved.

 

 

Super age change unlikely

It looks unlikely there will be any change to the age of eligibility for national superannuation despite Bill English saying he wouldn’t continue John Key’s commitment to not change it – see English open about superannuation.

English said there could be small changes to National’s Super policy but nothing drastic.

David Seymour has taken the opportunity to push for raising the age, but ACT are unlikely to be in a position to demand it in any coalition negotiations.

Winston Peters has confirmed that no age change is a bottom line for NZ First – Winston Peters’ coalition hinges on retirement age.

Mr Peters has promised the age would stay the same, at 65, and has made it one of his top bottom-lines going into any post-election deals.

“Not reneging on promises made to the retired and soon-to-retire people of this country is very important,” he told Newshub.

While “one of his top bottom-lines” doesn’t sound definite it would be a big shock if Peters agreed to an age increase. This is one policy he has remained consistent on.

The Maori Party is also unlikely to support any increase.

With Māori life expectancy rate lower than that of the general population, the Māori Party wants Māori and Pasifika to be exempt from any increase.

One of its policies is to reduce the superannuation age to 60 for Māori and Pasifika people.

So it is unlikely that National will push for an increase in election policy unless it looked like they could get a majority on their own, and it would be a huge surprise if they did have a majority on their own.

And Andrew Little has scrapped Labour’s Super age increase policy so if they form the next government it is unlikely to be considered.

This makes all the conjecture and political posturing a bit pointless.

UPDATE: English has just said on RNZ that there will be “no change to the entitlement” but it wasn’t clarified exactly what that refers to eg age or amount or universality.

On RNZ  Peters has just said that it’s not a bottom line for NZ First but that people could trust their consistency on the Super age for the past 25 years. “We’re not going to compromise”.

English open about superannuation

In an interview on The Nation this morning Bill English said that he won’t make the same undertaking that John Key did not change national superannuation.

However Newshub has taken it further, suggesting that a non-commitment at this stage meant that things could change.

All it means is that English isn’t ready to reveal his and National’s preference on super but he said he would be clear about it before the election.

Newshub: Bill English won’t make same superannuation promise as John Key

His predecessor John Key famously said he’d resign if he tightened eligibility for the benefit, which every Kiwi over the age of 65 can receive, regardless of their income or wealth.

Mr English told The Nation it was the right call to make at the time.

“People didn’t have to worry through tough times about what was going to happen.”

But with Mr Key’s departure, the fiscally conservative new Prime Minister says it’s a chance to “reset” expectations, with an aging population and more people working into their late 60s.

“I haven’t made the same undertaking as John, so we have the opportunity for a bit of a reset there.”

That could mean English won’t make any hard and fast commitment, or he could. Newshub chose to promote one option.

Changes to superannuation could be on the cards.

Talking to Three’s The Nation, Prime Minister Bill English said people need to know what’s happening before the election, hinting there could be tweaks made.

But whether that means a change to the age of eligibility or its annual indexing to wages, he won’t say.

“You’ll just have to wait and see. We would not anticipate any drastic changes.”

So this is pretty much non-news at this stage.

“People deserve to know what the Government’s view is when they go to the polls.”

So we should find out by then. Newshub speculation is meaningless.

And any views expressed by National or Labour before the election may be meaningless on superannuation anyway.

If either party requires NZ First to form a ruling coalition then any changes to super entitlements are likely to be off the negotiating table as a bottom line. It would be heresy if Winston Peters gave ground on pensions.

So regardless of what National or Labour say about super before the election voters won’t know if anything could change or not until after the election.

Labour nominate Peters, but pick Greens as first cab

Yesterday Andrew Little announced he was nominating Winston Peters to replace David Shearer on the intelligence and security committee, leaving Greens out but apparently with their support for Peters.

Little also said that Greens would be the first party he would call after the election “if the numbers go our way”.

Stuff: Little signals Greens will be ‘first cab off the rank’ in post-election talks

Labour is to treat the Greens as “first cab off the rank” for post election talks in a signal it is firming up its plans to work in coalition with its allied party.

But in an Opposition two-step Labour leader Andrew Little on Thursday first announced he was nominating Peters for the intelligence and security committee – with the Greens support.

He said the fact the Greens had agreed to Peters replacing David Shearer as an Opposition representative on the intelligence and security committee “showed they have a maturity about forging relationships beyond just the Labour Party”.

The Greens were keen to have their representative replace him on the committee but they will endorse Peters, who has been a member of the committee in the past.

Greens have previously been miffed that they have been excluded from the committee.

John Key and Bill English have said that the Greens anti-intelligence stances make then incompatible with the committee.

Earlier this month, English said he was not comfortable with a Green MP being on the committee.

“They’ve got a deep-seated hostility to any intelligence apparatus at all, which is not a responsible attitude, and we wouldn’t want to foster it,” he said.

But Little, who is pushing for wider party representation on the committee, at the time said he would be very comfortable with the Greens being on it.

It looks like the Greens and Labour have decided it isn’t a fight worth having at this stage of election year.

Little…

…then made it clear that in a “quid pro quo” the Greens would be the first cab off the rank and the first party to receive a call if Labour was able to build a government after the September 23 election.

“After September 23 and if the numbers go our way and I am in the privileged position of putting together a government they are the first phone call I will make. No question about it,” he said.

“We haven’t spent the last many-a-year now formally strengthening our relationship and working out common ground … for it to mean nothing at all when it comes to a general election.”

The Memorandum of understanding expires on election day but it would be remarkable if Labour didn’t at least start post election talks with the Greens. Peters may not like this if he feels he holds the balance of power.

He said there were no guarantees, and the numbers would dictate what will happen.

What if NZ First gets more numbers (MPs) than the Greens, something that is a real possibility?

“They will be the first party I will talk to to interpret what the numbers might be and what that means. It’s a commitment that the relationship does mean something after the election.”

But it’s very likely that the numbers will mean Labour would have to talk to NZ First and convince them to join them in a coalition. The Greens are already a virtual certainty, NZ First is likely to be the party with bargaining power.

But would he be prepared to leave the Greens out of government if Winston Peters insisted and Labour needed NZ First to govern?

“I think that is unlikely.”

That’s a weak ruling out. And considering how Little far more strongly claimed there wasn’t going to be a deputy leadership change a day before it was announced, in an obvious bid to improve Labour’s numbers, the numbers game has no rules in politics.

 

English on Peters

 

Seems to be a thing in media today to check out Bill English’s views on how National might work with Winston Peters after the election.

In the latest Colmar Brunton poll National were on 46% and NZ First remain high for them this far out from the election on 11%.

That’s a pragmatic position to take at this stage of election year.

1 News: ‘No’ – Bill English stands firm on chances of a pre-election deal with Winston

Prime Minister Bill English says there is no chance of pre-election talks with Winston Peters, but if New Zealanders want Mr Peters in Parliament, National will work with him.

There’s very likely to be no chance Peters would have pre-election talks with any other party, at least not that the public would find out about.

New Zealanders get to say who they want in Parliament but they don’t get to say who they want in Government. That is left to party wheeling and dealing after the election.

Mr English, speaking this morning to TVNZ’s Breakfast programme, said there had been speculation around Mr Peters’ role at the last few elections, but National is not looking to make a deal if he becomes kingmaker.

“He’s signalled it’s unlikely with him either,” Mr English said.

That’s confusing (from 1 News).

However, should voters put him into Parliament, Mr English said National is quite capable of working with him.

“If you needed to, you can work with anyone if that’s what the voters tell you is needed for stable government, and the way the world is, I think that’s what is needed here,” Mr English said.

So English is leaving his options open, as he needs to do.

I think that English may be more likely to try to do a coalition deal with Peters if that is what is required to form the next government.

Key would have more easily walked away from an unpalatable arrangement – perhaps this is what he has done.

But English will presumably be keen to be Prime Minister with an election mandate. He is currently a party appointed mid term replacement.

NZ First response to PM’s statement

NZ First leader Winston Peters’ response to the Prime Minister’s statement.


Rt Hon WINSTON PETERS (Leader—NZ First): They say that body language is everything. I want to congratulate the gallery for staying awake and for their stamina. I want to say that the events thus far put me in mind of nothing so much as a guy stepping up to kick a ball 80 metres—80 metres—over the goal line to get a penalty to win the game. All his supporters and colleagues are sitting there breathless expecting that he might just get it over, except they know in their mind’s eye that he does not have a hope in Hades and nor have they. I have never seen so many nervous Nellies on the backbench. The only thing that the National Party backbench agree on is that despite its party’s blatant, awful economic and social mistakes, we are still somehow a country of opportunity. Do members know how it determines that? It determines that by looking at its front bench. Have a good look at this tired, old, uninspiring, visionless man in the main. Nick Smith makes me look young. It is unbelievable. They do not have any idea at all. They are just hanging on for dear life. Talk about unity! Eighteen members are going.

Ron Mark: How many?

Rt Hon WINSTON PETERS: Eighteen. That means that the Government must have chosen some bums the last time around—that is what that means.

Two things happened today: first, the Prime Minister put out a statement this morning; and, second, the Governor of the Reserve Bank said that he was going to join John Key and quit. That is what happened today. They know that the game is up for them.

It is time for some truth on our economy. This Government has a serious inability to address the problems that it and its policies have created. No amount of spin, hype, and grandiose talk will dispel the fact that as we go into the 2017 election, it is on a hiding to nothing. All Government members know it. They are trying every dirty little tactic behind closed doors. They are financing the Māori Party; they fund it. They are propping up the guy in Epsom. Now, I do not want to say these things, because they can be misconstrued. Have you ever seen cuckold politics? What is the other one? Ōhāriu. How can any self-respecting party—[Interruption] Oh, yes, the Maori Party—I know. Boy, is it big on tino rangatiratanga. Oh, is it big on that. Until it comes to standing on its own two feet and showing a bit of old-fashioned Māori tribal pride. [Interruption] Oh, no, no, no. Yes, sir, yes, sir, three bags full! That is its policy. Talk about tino rangatiratanga. It would not understand the concept. To stand on one’s own feet, like this party is, the hope and salvation for this country is not easy. It’s not easy.

New Zealand is not an economic success story. Do members know what the old Māoris say about a hen making too much noise like a rooster? What do they say? What do the old Māoris say about a hen making the noise of a rooster? I cannot say that today. The fact of the matter is that this is not economic success. The rock star economy that Bill English constantly touts, as he did today, is a fiction. If we look at some of the facts, we will see how easily his plans are dispelled. If we strip out population growth, it is at a record high—almost four times that which saw Brexit in the United Kingdom, which saw Donald Trump win the election in the United States, and which saw a dramatic change in the Australian election last year as well. We are also seeing a dramatic change in Germany, France, and Italy. If we strip out this massive population growth, what do we have? We have a very boring economy performing below 1 percent growth. All the rest is immigration.

Therefore, New Zealand’s productivity performance is amongst the lowest in the OECD. How do I know that? Because in the old days a guy called John Key—no, not John; John would say anything. A guy called Bill English used to say things like that. If we strip out population growth, our GDP per capita is below the OECD average. With the export of goods and services and our total economic output around 30 percent by international standards, we are not an export-driven economy. This country is export-dependent for its survival and prosperity. It is amazing, you know; the Government used to have a target to increase the contribution of exports to the economy from 30 percent of GDP to 40 percent by 2025, and they have dropped it. They have dropped it. It has gone from their targeting. They know they cannot do that, and we have a staggering net liability internationally of $163 billion, and in the House today he releases a statement saying he is getting on top of debt. He is getting on top of debt, at $163 billion, and a chronic balance of payments deficit. There is no prospect of repaying our debt. What do you think a balance of payments deficit is? Well, for those untutored people over there, it is called debt. That is where we have got ourselves.

On jobs, well, they fling open the door for immigrants at record levels—a net influx of 70,000 a year—and unemployment is going back up. Another 10,000 unemployed were added to the jobless in the latest quarterly household figures released last week. Let me tell you about the deceit of those figures—and New Zealanders need to know that. You go, under the National Government, from being unemployed to employed if you get one hour’s work a week. Just one hour, or two hours, or five hours—they say now you are employed, you are off the unemployed statistics. It blows away the phony optimists who have been predicting the unemployment would be falling throughout 2017. The insanity of having record immigration whilst they have got almost 140,000—mainly New Zealanders but many of them are new immigrants—officially unemployed is obvious to all Kiwis now. Of course, the headline figures, the tip of the much bigger iceberg, are those who are in part-time work and cannot get nearly enough work to keep their families and themselves going.

The latest unemployment data confirms what New Zealanders have long suspected, and that is why the National Government is in trouble in 2017. As for their puppets, well, they are all going to go out. Their puppets have not got a hope in Hades. When they realise that their so-called guardsman is not up to it, then the public will send them on their way.

The real aim of open-door immigration policy is to suppress the wages of ordinary New Zealanders. The real objective of mass immigration, at almost four times the level of the UK—far greater than Australia and far greater than the USA—is to drive down wages and drive up competition. Migrants are soaking up entry-level and basic jobs around the country. Having Kiwis fearful of their jobs from new migrants desperate for work is a disgraceful unemployment policy, and that is why we are going to cream the floor with you in this campaign. That is why we are going to go around the country, pack the halls, and take you guys to the cleaners, because you do not deserve to survive, and you have not got the brains or the skills anyway.

Talk about the Green leader: the Green leader forgot the fact they are so bad at business, they gave South Canterbury Finance $800 million and did not cap their guarantee, so it blew out $800 million further—a blowout of $800 million. They gave Rio Tinto hundreds of millions. They gave Skycity Casino $42 million extra a year. They dish money out like an eight-armed octopus and then go down to Rātana as the Prime Minister did and say: “We have got no more money we cannot help you.” And what did the two Māori Party members say?

Hon Member: Oh yeah, is that right.

Rt Hon WINSTON PETERS: Is that right?

Hon Member: Nothing. They said nothing.

Rt Hon WINSTON PETERS: No, they said: “Amen, brother.” They said: “Amen, Brother.” They were quite religious. Unbelievable—no wonder they are so desperate. And if you have got Tuku at the head of your party, you have got trouble. Ha, ha! You have got serious trouble.

Now, ladies and gentlemen, last week Bill English went to Auckland to a rotary club. They must have been desperate, because they invited him. There he gave a speech about the “state of the nation”. And guess what? In the city with the fourth worst housing crisis in the whole, wide world, he never mentioned the house price debacle. How do you like that? He goes to Auckland and talks about the state of the nation, and the number one thing glaring in his face is the housing crisis of Auckland, where your people cannot buy a house, where generations are being shut out, where they cannot now rent, where teachers are saying “Well, I might be qualified, but I’m getting out of here because I can’t afford to stay here and practice my profession. I’ve got to go somewhere else.”—he did not even mention the house price debacle. That’s an utter mess.

Marama Fox: Is that like when you go to Rātana and don’t mention the Treaty?

Rt Hon WINSTON PETERS: I want to tell that Māori Party member, who makes far too much noise, that 75,000 Māori just want a house—75,000 Māori want a house. I want every Māori out there looking for a house, looking for a chance to do what great parties once delivered, to know that we have got in this Parliament two Māori members trying to over-talk another one who is far more experienced than them, and that as far as these two members go, they would rather keep their ministerial home than get the Māori people a home. Yes—unbelievable. They would rather keep their ministerial home than give the Māori people a home. Seventy-five thousand—and just to make sure that 75,000 Māori cannot get a home, they back mass immigration. To make sure that Māori cannot get a job, they back mass immigration. In fact, do you know what that party said? They said we should not be criticising this mass immigration; we should be going to the airport to give them a pōwhiri. Now, a pōwhiri is a welcoming message.

That is how dysfunctional these sociology-trained academics in the Māori Party are. They are totally devoid of the condition, economic and social, of the people in places like Moerewa, Kawarau—all around the country. No, no—when I go down there and I say to the Māori people “Have you got a snapper from this Māori Party? You got one inch of land from this Māori Party? You got anything from this Māori Party? Do you know what Whānau Ora is doing for you? Is it uplifting your life?”, they say to me: “Brother, we don’t know what you’re talking about, because we’re getting nothing.” The sooner we get some real representation that understands the condition of Māori the same as the condition of Europeans in this country—people in this country want four things. They want First World housing that they can afford; they want a health system they can access, be it for their child or their grandmother or grandfather; and they want an education system that keeps the escalators going so that they can progress regardless of their race.

They want First World jobs and First World wages. That is what Māori want. Come to think of it, that is what everybody in this country wants and one party understands that and you are talking to it—only one party. We are going to shock you guys in this campaign and we are going to shock you guys as well. We are going to turn your polls into confetti. I would have thought from the Brexit campaign and the campaign in Australia and the campaign in the United States that you in the gallery might have learnt that your polls are dribble.

I thought you might have learnt it from the Northland by-election. The man over there said I did not have a dog show and we won over 17,412 and busted them in 4 weeks flat. Got you worried? Yes, I know your knees are knocking; they should be. That is going to be a very short ministerial post. Do not get too used to the cars. Do not get used to the house. Do not get too used to all of those places, because I will tell you something: it ain’t going to last much longer. When we get down there in the South Island and start spreading the word, it will be all over for you—it will be all over for you.

Jacqui Dean: You don’t even know where it is.

Rt Hon WINSTON PETERS: Oh, yes. Unlike your former leader, I live in my electorate. [Interruption] And they hate it. I know what they are saying up there. They are going around and saying: “He doesn’t even live up here.” Everybody in my village knows they are lying. They have seen me travelling those dusty roads, going over those single-lane bridges, trying to go out on the water to get my phone going because the Government are not delivering the services, speaking to people in Kerikeri because they have not got ultra-fast broadband like they were promised—Paula fooled us. No, they know all about it, and also they decided they are going to put a cop up. That is three in a row. How do you like that? Bit stupid are they not? But anyway, back to my point.

You know it became very clear today what Bill English intends to do. Do you know what he is going to do? He is going to blame the public service. He is going to go to all those desperate provinces, like the North, like Gisborne, like Rotorua, because they have got such a terrible collapsing environment there. The three mayors of these three areas are all saying that they are pushing for anti-poverty tools. They are asking for a chance to take over the agencies and help their local people, but they do not realise that it is not the agencies fault when they are massively underfunded.

And the Government’s clear and transparent line is that it is going to blame the agencies: “I know what we will do, we will tell the people of Rotorua and Northland and down the East Coast and Gisborne that their condition is brought about by the public service!” How do you like that? Unbelievable. They, the provinces—and the North is a good example of it—are in the top half of the export-earning electorates, and down at the bottom of everything else. Our job is to expose people who would keep them there, like the Māori Party, like the ACT Party, and like the party that has been around for so long it calls itself the National Party. It should be up for false pretences.

There is nothing national about the National Party. It is a globalist party. It is the party that believed in the Trans-Pacific Partnership Agreement (TPPA). It is the party that when we said a year ago: “It’s dead on the water.”, it ignored us, and yet they are the first over there to talk to Donald Trump. What a joke that is. And the media write that they are going to get a free-trade agreement with the UK, with the EU, and with Donald Trump. Meanwhile they collapsed our chance of getting a decent deal with the second-biggest dairy and beef importer in the world, namely Russia. What a bunch of clowns in a diplomatic China shop. One disaster after another. What is Tim Groser doing in Washington? Pray tell me what is he doing but having a few red wines all the time? He has got no purpose to be there. Nobody is going to talk to him over there?

Ron Mark: TPPA’s dead.

Rt Hon WINSTON PETERS: TPPA is dead on the water—dead on the water.

Ron Mark: He’s unemployed.

Rt Hon WINSTON PETERS: He may as well be unemployed. Why do you not bring him home? And they say, of course, now and again “We’ll make more progress.” At least we can talk to them. At least we can talk to them.

Can I just say one thing on the Police: the National Party claimed for 8 long years that crime was falling. Every criminal lawyer in this country was saying “Look, they have got a catch and release policy.” Why they can say that is that they are catching people, but they are not charging them, they are warning them. And they kept it up for 8 long years under successive Ministers. This is how deceitful they were. They capped the Police numbers so the Police per thousand dropped dramatically.

We had hundreds of stations in this country with nobody on at night and nobody on at the weekend. People rang up Dunedin, as I did one time in Dunedin. I rang up Dunedin and guess what I got? I got Auckland: the Auckland Police station. And I thought—excuse the language—but if I have been on there for an hour, guess what Joe Bloggs is going to be put up with? But no, no, the Government kept it up and then it thought: “Hang on. New Zealand’s not falling for this. We’ll go and get some extra police people over the next 4 years.”, but 800 front-line men and women does not even cut it. That is not even half the number that is required—1,800 places to get back to where we were going in 2008, and he had the temerity to get up in Auckland and say that the security of the citizens on the streets is his number one priority.

That is what Bill English said. Well I can say, Bill, I do not think you are going to last very long. I think your campaign in 2017 is going to be about as successful as it was in 2002—as successful as it was in 2002. The only common thing between those two campaigns is one party was as ready in 2002 as we are going to be in 2017. That campaign, we started it with the polls saying we were on 1 percent and after 4 weeks flat we almost made 11 percent. That is about to happen again 2017. Then look at the political scenery at that point in time and stop writing this dribble about who was going to be the next Government. You are looking at it. You are looking at it.

I know, Gerry, being a patriot is sometimes—even he hopes it is going to happen. I know in his heart of hearts he wants to know that he can retire with somebody running the economy that can keep it going soundly. I know he knows what retirement looks like, but he wants to be able to know that we could even afford the parliamentary retirement fund. And the only chance of him getting that is if we make it. The only chance of him getting that is if we make it.

Hon Gerry Brownlee: The member’s the only one left on it.

Rt Hon WINSTON PETERS: No, no, no.

Hon Gerry Brownlee: He’s got the gold-plated pocket. Oh yes, he has.

Rt Hon WINSTON PETERS: I walked out of Parliament on a matter of principle and sacrificed 35 percent of mine.

Hon Gerry Brownlee: No one believes that.

Rt Hon WINSTON PETERS: Yes, I did.

Hon Gerry Brownlee: No one believes that.

Rt Hon WINSTON PETERS: Yes, I did. These people do not remember that, but I do, because keeping our word and having integrity and principles is what one party is famous for. And again you are looking at it.

Can I just say in closing, we are looking forward to this campaign. When they announced that it was going to be on 23 September, it ticked every box of our planning, down to every branch of our candidates, the launch of our campaign—I cannot tell you where; but I know it is the most exciting news for you—and also our AGM and what city it is going to be in. So I can promise New Zealanders right now something very, very significant. I know things are difficult and troubled and I know it has been very hard for you, but hang on, because help is on its way.

Shane Jones and NZ First

Shane Jones has been close to Winston Peters at Waitangi today, raising speculation that he may be about to announce that he will join NZ First and stand for them in this year’s election. But there is opposition within the party.

Patrick Gower goes as far as saying Shane Jones launches political comeback:

Former Labour MP Shane Jones has appeared at a public speech by Winston Peters in what is a clear sign he is planning a return to politics at this election.

Mr Jones and Mr Peters shook hands before the speech at St Paul’s Anglican Church in Paihia, with Mr Jones then taking a front row seat as Mr Peters addressed New Zealand First supporters about race relations.

It is a sure sign Mr Jones, who is currently employed as an ambassador for fisheries in the Pacific, is going to stand for New Zealand First at this year’s election.

Asked earlier on Friday if he would be making a comeback, the answer was very political: “Shane Jones in May will have completed his [ambassador] contract … In May, I’ll make a choice as to what I’m going to do.”

Paddy may know more, or he may be jumping the gun.

However if Peters wants to fast track Jones into the party and up the ranks it won’t go down well with some in the party.

Stuff: Never Shane: NZ First members oppose political return of Shane Jones

Shane Jones’ rumoured political comeback with NZ First has faced a setback, with party members setting up a “Never Shane” group to protest his potential candidacy.

Jones’ return to politics as an NZ First candidate has been tipped for some time, with suggestions he may announce his plans at his annual Waitangi barbecue on February 4.

However, a Facebook page described as “a network of NZ First members and supporters opposed to Shane Jones” has been set up ahead of a potential announcement.

NZ First member Curwen Rolinson, the group’s founder, said many party members were concerned about the possibility of Jones standing at the September 23 election and ruining what could be “a watershed year”.

“His personal background as a politician is so diametrically opposed to our values in NZ First, we just don’t see how he could conceivably fit in.”

“To top it all off, he abandoned his own party in its hour of need…to basically feather his own nest as a South Pacific ambassador for the National Party.

“Really, we just can’t trust him, that’s our perspective on it.”

The group had started a letter-writing campaign to NZ First’s board of directors, which would need to approve Jones’ candidacy given he did not appear to be a party member.

So there’s dissent in the ranks before Jones announces his intentions.

There may also be some less than enthusiastic NZ First MPs, especially deputy leader Ron Mark, who appears to be positioning himself to be Winston’s successor as leader.

The Never Shane Facebook page (currently 184 likes).

And Rolinson, who has been an author at The Daily Blog for some time, has posted there on it: #NeverShane

This has not been an easy piece for me to write. Watching in mounting horror as somebody – or something – you love and care deeply about gears up to do something self-destructive is never easy. And yet, that’s the apparent position which quite a few of us dedicated New Zealand Firsters appear to be in right now.

Unless you’ve been living on the dark side of the Moon for the past few years, you’ll most likely be aware of the swirling rumours that Shane Jones intends to mount a Parliamentary comeback at this year’s Election with New Zealand First. The media have consistently been reporting this notion for much of the last two years, in line with tips disseminated by a certain figure in NZ First’s Leader’s Office. And, for that matter, supported by things seen with their own eyes – Jones appearing with Winston at the latter’s Northland victory party, for instance; or Jones’ now-wife acting as Winston’s campaign manager for the same race.

But up until relatively recently, I was mostly content to dismiss speculation of Jones’ political necromancy as being empty media stirmongering. A sensationalist impulse looking for a story’s spine to shiver up. And not least because it appeared so self-evidently stupid for NZ First to even think about running Jones as a candidate.

That all changed late last month when I received independent confirmation from a number of different directions of Jones gearing up to announce his (NZF) candidacy.

I don’t know how Winston will take dissent in the ranks.

TOP heading for the bottom?

Is Gareth Morgan’s taking his TOP party campaign to the bottom of the political muck heap?

This morning I thought i would ignore his taunts directed at Winston Peters at Ratana and look at what new policy had been announced. But going to the TOP website I found that Morgan has chosen to highlight his attention seeking spat with Peters.

This is disappointing, I thought policy was the TOP party’s strength, not shit fighting.

In ‘Latest news and updates’ Morgan’s Ratana speech is featured…

The Opportunities Party Ratana Speech

Last time I was at Ratana I accepted the challenge to honour the Treaty of Waitangi. I now challenge Maori to help me deliver on this promise by voting for The Opportunities Party

…but he has followed up with a detailed attack of Peters and New Zealand First.

Uncle Tom? – Your Call

Here’s the definition of an “Uncle Tom” – one who works against the interests of his own people, sometimes pretending that he is not. Used particularly in the context of a people who are enslaved or do not enjoy the full rights they should.

So no policy from TOP at this stage.

Giving Peters an opportunity to get in the spotlight in a spat is more likely to benefit NZ First rather than TOP.