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"You Don't Know How Lucky You Are!"

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Fuseworks Media
Fuseworks Media

Anyone visiting your province can see that this is an export powerhouse.

Dairy farms and cows. Thousands of cows. Cows as far as the eye can see.

Taranaki is one of the great farming provinces of New Zealand.

It has a good climate, fertile land and hard working people who put the heart in the rural heartland.

With all our natural blessings and our innovative approach it makes you wonder why we as a country are not better off.

Now it's always easy to blame someone else - and this has been our habit for many years.

The bosses blame the unions, the unions blame the bosses and everybody blames the politicians and bureaucrats in Wellington.

Whatever the reason we simply want to explain to you that we cannot continue with policies that undo the good work started by New Zealanders of vision.

These policies not only undo that good work - they threaten the wellbeing and welfare of future generations.

In 2008 New Zealand elected a new government and its main policies appear to be a shift back to the days of Roger Douglas and Ruth Richardson.

And the former National leader Don Brash has turned up as head of the Act party to speed up implementing the same policies that are actually making our problems worse - not better.

What is wrong with us? Why are we not better off? Our primary producers from provinces like Taranaki are earning well on overseas markets. And yet all around New Zealand many dairy farmers are in financial trouble.

We'll try to give some simple answers.

The first is we do not have a stable exporter friendly dollar.

Our currency is in the top dozen most speculated currencies in the world.

In other words, the foreign exchange gamblers are making billions from New Zealand dollars. None of these profits go to the exporters or ordinary people.

The markets - so beloved of this National government - are helping make paupers of us.

Our banks - except for a couple of shining examples like the Taranaki Savings Bank and Kiwibank are foreign owned.

The Australians own the banks and they take billions of dollars in profits out of the country.

Over 70% of companies on the New Zealand share market are foreign owned and they suck their profits out of New Zealand.

Your local radio stations and the television you watch are mostly overseas owned.

Many former state trading organisations are now in foreign ownership.

If you look back to the 80s and early 90s politicians sold a large number of the country's strategic assets to overseas investors.

Let me give you some classic examples from the NZ Herald correspondent Bryan Gaynor:

As Gaynor said: "These politicians failed to realise they were establishing a domestic wealth destruction culture as wealth is mainly created through ownership rather than disposal".

Telecom was sold to overseas interests for $4.25 billion in1990.

Since then has made distributions to shareholders, in the form of dividends and capital repayments, of $14.6 billion.

The Bank of New Zealand was sold to National Australia Bank (NAB) for $1.5 billion in 1992.

Since then BNZ has distributed $5.2 billion in dividends to its Australian parent.

It is now worth an estimated $7.2 billion based on its 2010 net earnings of $602 million and a price/earnings ratio of 12.

Thus NAB paid $1.5 billion for BNZ and the latter has delivered total shareholder value of $12.4 billion to its Australian owners since late 1992.

And these are just two examples.

Politicians also sold:

● State Forests

● Government Print

● The National Film Unit

● State Insurance

● The Railways

● Air NZ

● BNZ

● Petrocorp

● Contact Energy

There were many more. When Air New Zealand and NZ Rail went belly up we had to buy them back.

A few people got very rich through this process but it impoverished the country.

Now this government is about to embark on a fresh asset selling programme.

And unlike Mr Key promised they are not even waiting until Election Day. Tender documents on the governments website is advertising for project managers for the state asset sell down.

So if you give Mr Key a no sign to this most stupid of policies he will have wasted up to a million dollars on a pointless exercise.

It is going to sell shares in companies that own your power stations.

These were built by governments to provide power for industry, farming, home heating, lighting to make your streets safe and so on.

These dams were never built to be privatised and flogged off.

Mark our words.

These power stations will end up in the hands of people with money.

Like the government of China, or some Australian company.

And if you think some foreign owner is going to lie awake at night worrying if a New Plymouth pensioner can afford to turn on the heater you are dreaming.

We should be buying back our assets and not selling them.

And something else the good people of Taranaki should be very afraid of.

The prospect of continued sales of our prime dairy land is equally frightening.

New Zealand is a major producer of cheap protein in a world where there is a food shortage.

Our prime land and our climate are extremely valuable.

We are being targeted by China.

The leaders of China and the leaders of their industry want to get their hands on New Zealand dairy farms, and our dairy factories.

They have already started.

They have even set up their own political party - the new Citizens party that contested the Botany by-election.

There is a pattern here. Alarm bells and warning lights should be flashing from one end of the country to the other.

The last government foolishly entered a free trade agreement with China. We opposed it.

There is no future for New Zealand in such agreements when they allow foreign interests to obtain our resources. It's meant to be a trade agreement not a foreign resource acquisition agreement. They want to use our land - to own it. Right under our nose foreigners are in New Zealand purchasing farms as we speak.

The Crafar dairy farms have slipped off the horizon but Chinese interests are leading the bids.

The government is hiding this big sale until after the election.

National does not give two figs for the national interest - despite its fine sounding name. To these people, everything is for sale. And one of the biggest sales agents is former National Prime Minister Shipley who as you know has been appointed a director of the China Construction Bank which in market value is the second largest in China and majority owned by the Chinese Communist Party. Mrs Shipley has no banking and limited business experience but this bank is a pipeline for the Chinese state to funnel capital in the form of loans to Chinese companies buying resources and investments outside China.

This is why Shipley is of use as an investment scout to advise her masters of prime investment opportunities in New Zealand and at the same time, like a 'Judas sheep' at the freezing works, she goes around telling the Chinese don't want our assets.

It's no accident that National are set on a new round of asset sales, that top of the list is energy companies and, you guessed it, one of those energy companies is Genesis Energy, chaired by Jenny Shipley. So Chinese companies will be lining up to invest with loans no doubt from the China Construction Bank. It's not widely understood in New Zealand that Chinese companies and business men and women are often acting as proxy investors of the Chinese government. Their objective is to acquire resources for Chinese manufacturing companies and secure food supply for a growing population. That's why they want to buy in to New Zealand agriculture. If they buy the farms and milk companies, such as Sinlait, as they have already, they avoid buying direct from Fonterra for their milk protein requirements. This, Mrs Shipley said on television recently, was both normal and admirable.

Now don't blame the Chinese but rather those that would happily sell their country out for personal advancement.

Mrs Shipley has business connections to Pansy Wong that have never been properly explained and the New Zealand Natural Dairy company that want to buy the Crafar farms. Recently a tender for railway carriage construction, which had closed, was mysteriously re opened where upon a number of Chinese companies entered the tender. Our railway workshops were totally side lined. This story is a can of worms and if anyone else had of been involved they would now be described as an agent of a foreign power. Which raises the question? Who persuaded John Key that selling the remaining state assets is a good idea?

So what you might ask is New Zealand First going to do?

New Zealand First has a plan.

We call it our seven steps to prosperity.

Step 1: Savings

You are taxed on income; and then you are taxed on the interest your savings earn.

With inflation running at, at least 5%, where can ordinary people save with security and still get a reasonable rate of return?

The answer is nowhere!

New Zealand First will introduce:

A bold set of tax incentives to encourage private savings - the first $10,000 of interest earned would become tax free.

We will introduce government guaranteed inflation proof bonds - eligible to New Zealand citizens resident in New Zealand only - and that will pay the inflation rate (measured by the CPI) plus 2.5%

Step 2: Saving our Land

New Zealand First will impose strict restrictions on foreign land ownership.

This is not xenophobic - it's the same restrictions that Kiwis face if they want to buy land in many other countries.

Only New Zealand citizens will be able to buy land and that land already owned offshore can only be sold back to a New Zealand citizen.

Step 3 Foreign Ownership

We will also create a new agency The NZ Ownership Agency- with an initial budget of $500m.

This agency will have a specific mandate to promote New Zealand ownership - and would develop a comprehensive long term plan to buy back strategic assets.

Step 4 Manufacturing

We will have policies to actively support, encourage and where appropriate protect this sector.

There are too many jobs, skills and wealth creation at stake in manufacturing to allow the sector to wither and die.

For example, we will protect government sector contracts such as the building of railway wagons for our own rather than Chinese railway workshops.

Step 5: Student Debt

We will introduce a scheme where government will make a matching dollar for dollar payment on student debt.

So, if a student had a student loan of say $30,000 - (a not unlikely sum) and paid back, $15,000 government would match that sum to extinguish the debt provided that student stays and works in New Zealand.

A matching contribution scheme would effectively halve student debt and remove a big incentive for young Kiwis to go overseas.

Step 6: Aussie Banks

They have had a dream run in New Zealand.

And recall that is was those same four Aussie banks who had to repay $2 billion to the IRD for tax avoidance in late 2009.

As KiwiBank and TSB show we are perfectly capable of operating our own banks.

New Zealand First policy is to give all Government business to a locally owned bank.

Step 7: Infrastructure

There can be no clearer example of a wasteful approach to public investments than the Government's so called Roads of National Significance (RoNS) project.

This $12 billion plus project is actually all about building more motorways.

New Zealand First policy is to scrap the RoNS project and free up massive financial resources for public transport in both metropolitan and provincial areas. These policies will be developed further as the year progresses.

The Good News

There is also some good news ahead and that is New Zealand First will continue looking after your interests.

Last year we announced the extension of the SuperGold card into one free medical check a year and GP visits to be capped at ten dollars. After the next election - when you put us back in Parliament we will be giving a discount of ten percent on the electricity bills of citizens with SuperGold Cards.

This scheme will be based on the average annual units used by married couples and singles and we would have it operating by winter 2011.

Details will be announced later but the scheme will actually not cost very much to run after it has been set up.

The Cost

Now where is the money going to come from? Our policies will ensure more export dollars, and higher incomes and more revenue. We will not be throwing billions of taxpayer dollars at failed finance companies and we will be looking very hard at the insurance industry. It is hard to see how a company like AMI can take premiums for many years from New Zealanders then not have enough money to pay Christchurch earthquake victims. It makes you wonder what sort of bonuses they have paid their bosses over the years! Conclusion I want to leave you with some good news and you are going to help us make it. With your help we will be back in Parliament this year working on your behalf. Nobody has our track record on these issues- and we want to do more. Help us make it happen.

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