It's Our Future http://www.itsourfuture.org.nz Kiwi Voices on the TPPA Sun, 31 Aug 2014 23:06:09 +0000 en-US hourly 1 On eve of major conference, UN chief spurs green investment http://www.itsourfuture.org.nz/on-eve-of-major-conference-un-chief-spurs-green-investment/ http://www.itsourfuture.org.nz/on-eve-of-major-conference-un-chief-spurs-green-investment/#comments Sun, 31 Aug 2014 10:24:03 +0000 http://www.itsourfuture.org.nz/?p=6780 Press Release – UN News

31 August 2014 Encouraging partnerships between the private sector and small developing island nations, Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon on Sunday urged corporate leaders to invest in renewable energy and make historic strides in sustainability.SAMOA: On eve of major conference, UN chief spurs green investment in small islands

31 August 2014 – Encouraging partnerships between the private sector and small developing island nations, Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon on Sunday urged corporate leaders to invest in renewable energy and make historic strides in sustainability.

“Oceans isolate small islands – but when they are managed well they become a constant source of wealth,” Mr. Ban told the high-level dialogue of the private sector forum. The event was organized jointly by the Office of the High Representative for the Least Developed Countries, Landlocked Developing Countries and Small Island Developing States (OHRLLS), the Samoan Government and the Samoa Chamber of Commerce.

The challenges facing small island developing States, such as scarce resources, population pressures and climate change, also affect businesses, he said, and corporate leaders have an interest in rising to these challenges.

Praising the “extraordinary partnership and commitment” being made during the two-day private sector forum, Mr. Ban told representatives of business and industry that they have a collective responsibility to protect the most vulnerable.

“People often say we are in the same boat,” he said. “I would say we are all on the same small island on the same small planet Earth; this is like a small boat in the universe.”

In particular, Mr. Ban noted the critical role of renewable energy to help cut greenhouse gas emissions, while also making countries less dependent on expensive imported fuel.

“You are part of this exciting chance to address risks, seize opportunities, and make history by moving our planet to sustainability,” he urged.

The high-level dialogue comes at the end of the forum, in which hundreds of business leaders and innovators discussed oceans and marine resources, connectivity, sustainable agriculture, sustainable tourism, disaster risk reduction, and renewable energy.

Also today, the UN Development Programme (UNDP) and the UN Capital Development Fund (UNCDF) launched a new funding facility to help low-income and rural Pacific islanders access affordable savings, insurance, credit and other financial services.

“With access to financial services, poor people can start small businesses, insure against losses, and save in case of illness or disaster,” UNDP Administrator and UNCDF Managing Director, Helen Clark, said at a press briefing.

Implemented through the Pacific Financial Inclusion Programme (PFIP), the UNDP/ UNCDF Financial Inclusion Support Facility is designed to disburse grants to financial service providers, including banks and mobile network operators.

These events come ahead of tomorrow’s opening of the Third International Conference on Small Island Developing States which will run through Thursday and focus on partnerships.

Mr. Ban attended a colourful cultural opening of the conference, calling on the international community to remember our common humanity, and reflect on the efforts of small island developing States to cope with natural disasters, isolation from global markets and other challenges.

Prior to the ceremony, Mr. Ban met with Samoan Prime Minister Tuilaepa Aiono Sailele Malielegaoi. According to a UN spokesperson, Mr. Ban thanked the Prime Minister for Samoa’s leadership and role in hosting the Conference. Also on the agenda were Samoa’s contribution to peacekeeping, climate change and the post-2015 development agenda.

With Freundel Stuart, Prime Minister of Barbados, Mr. Ban discussed the way forward since the Barbados Programme of Action and the priorities of the small islands conference. They also discussed the upcoming Climate Summit to be held in New York on 23 September.

Climate change topped the agenda of a meeting between Mr. Ban and James Michel, President of Seychelles. They also discussed the issue of piracy off the coast of Somalia, including the support given to Seychelles by the UN Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC).

On the margins of today’s forum, Mr. Ban spoke by phone with Fijian Prime Minister Frank Bainimarana. Areadout of the call said that Mr. Ban said the UN was “doing its utmost” to obtain the unconditional and immediate release of the Fijian peacekeepers detained in the Golan.

In addition, Mr. Ban’s spokesperson said he expressed hope that the process leading to elections in Fiji on 17 September will be “peaceful, transparent and participatory.”

ENDS

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Wellington National Is Not Our Future Rally 30/8/14 http://www.itsourfuture.org.nz/wellington-national-is-not-our-future-rally-30814/ http://www.itsourfuture.org.nz/wellington-national-is-not-our-future-rally-30814/#comments Thu, 28 Aug 2014 12:42:07 +0000 http://www.itsourfuture.org.nz/?p=6776 Press Release – TPPA Action – Wellington

Thousands of people will march and rally at National is not our Future events on Saturday. Auckland is the main rally centre with supportive actions in Wellington, Dunedin, Christchurch and Hamilton. In Wellington, marchers will assemble at Te Papa …Media Release: Wellington National Is Not Our Future Rally – Saturday 30th August

Thousands of people will march and rally at National is not our Future events on Saturday. Auckland is the main rally centre with supportive actions in Wellington, Dunedin, Christchurch and Hamilton. In Wellington, marchers will assemble at Te Papa from 1:00 pm for a march along the waterfront to Parliament with an expected arrival at 1.45pm.

TPPA Action–Wellington spokesperson Ariana Paretutanganui-Tamati says, ‘We’ve got to vote for change. Those who have the most to lose through the continued attack on the public estate need to get out and vote. We’ve got to link up the issues: it’s not just about the economy or the environment or health or education. The underlying question is do we want multination corporations running our country or do we want control?’

People want leadership based on genuine public interest—placing people and planet before the interests of corporations and profit promulgated by the National and ACT parties pollution-led, greed-based economy.

Speakers at Parliament will address New Zealand’s inequality and child poverty, assaults on privacy and freedoms in the GCSB Act, deep sea oil drilling, loss of rights such as the right to protest, assaults on workers rights and conditions, NZ’s Superfund investments in Israeli products, threats to our sovereignty through international agreements such as the TPPA and climate change and environmental destruction.

Paretutanganui-Tamati thinks it important ‘that people make sure their vote goes to the party that places its emphasis on the welfare needs of the population and its land.’

‘Growing inequality is further underlined by the corporate welfare payments and deals done for large businesses through international trade agreements such as the Trans Pacific Partnership Agreement currently being negotiated in secret by National.’

‘Does the next government offer the people sovereignty? Or more trade deals that sell out for short term corporate interest?’

‘This march is a part of the ongoing build up toward the coming November 8th Anti TPPA rally in all regional centres.’

ENDS

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National: Not our Future Marches across New Zealand http://www.itsourfuture.org.nz/national-not-our-future-marches-across-new-zealand/ http://www.itsourfuture.org.nz/national-not-our-future-marches-across-new-zealand/#comments Wed, 27 Aug 2014 16:54:08 +0000 http://www.itsourfuture.org.nz/?p=6774 Press Release – Joe Carolan

Three weeks before the election, action is being taken across the country voicing a rejection of the National Government’s track record and direction. Rallies are being held in Auckland, Wellington, Christchurch and Dunedin to oppose National’s …Press Release, 28th August, 2014. For Immediate Release

NATIONAL: NOT OUR FUTURE; MARCHES ACROSS NEW ZEALAND

AUCKLAND RALLY SATURDAY 30th AUGUST. AOTEA SQUARE, 1PM

https://www.facebook.com/events/700297206702973/?fref=t

Three weeks before the election, action is being taken across the country voicing a rejection of the National Government’s track record and direction. Rallies are being held in Auckland, Wellington, Christchurch and Dunedin to oppose National’s attacks on workers, abuse of the environment, inequality, cronyism and dirty politics.
“This government has increased the power of the few over the many and the ability of business to profit from dirtying our land, rivers and sea. It has dealt backhanders out to its mates while using government employees to attack and smear those bold enough to stand up for the New Zealand we used to have. Their prescription for the next 3 years is for more of the same” says Joe Trinder, Mana Candidate for Manukau East, who will speak at the rally.

The marches will include music, street theatre and speeches from some of those opposed to National’s programme for New Zealand, in a line up that includes environmental, political, social and union groups.
These include Edward Miller from Kiwis Concerned About the TPPA,
Robert Reid – First Union,
Rachel Mackintosh – EPMU,
Tim O Shea, Maui’s and Hector’s Dolphin Defenders NZ,
Ashley Tata – Auckland Action Against Poverty,
Miriam Pierard – Auckland Central InternetMANA candidate,
Michael Wood – Labour candidate for Epsom,
Andrea Rushton SFWU
and Joe Carolan -Unite Union.

and Music from Jenny Lange (folk)
Matt Billington (punk) and
Phil Thoms (Herbs – Reggae).

The Auckland rally starts at Aotea Square, Wellington at Te Papa marching to Parliament, Dunedin held at the Octagon and the Christchurch rally at Haley Park, all beginning 1pm. Auckland Event organiser Jeremy Randerson says “These rallies will unite the opposition to the current government; our strength is in the diversity of our voices brought together. For me, I am calling for leadership in the country that supports living wages, a clean environment and an independent New Zealand, rather than a programme of trashing our environment for short term gain and a steady concentration of power and resources into the hands of a select few. This is not the country I grew up in and not one I will allow to be handed on to our children”.

ENDS

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US/NZ host international workshop on ocean acidification http://www.itsourfuture.org.nz/usnz-host-international-workshop-on-ocean-acidification/ http://www.itsourfuture.org.nz/usnz-host-international-workshop-on-ocean-acidification/#comments Tue, 26 Aug 2014 16:52:18 +0000 http://www.itsourfuture.org.nz/?p=6770 Press Release – United States Embassy

An International Workshop on Ocean Acidification: State-of-the-Science Considerations for Small Island Developing StatesAn International Workshop on Ocean Acidification: State-of-the-Science Considerations for Small Island Developing States

August 28-29, 2014

Apia, Samoa

Jointly hosted by New Zealand and the United States in partnership with the Secretariat of the Pacific Regional Environment Programme

Parallel Event of the UN Third International Conference on Small Island Developing States

Leading international ocean scientists and policy experts are tomorrow gathering in Apia, Samoa to better understand the threat ocean acidification poses to Pacific Island nations.

The workshop, co-hosted by the United States and New Zealand Governments in partnership with the Secretariat of the Pacific Regional Environment Programme, will be held on the margins of the Small Island Developing States Conference, on the 28-29 August.

The workshop participants, who hail from the nations attending the Small Island Developing States conference, will discuss best practices, solutions and ocean acidification monitoring programmes for island nations to implement.

US Embassy Chargé d’Affaires, a.i. Marie Damour said US Secretary of State John Kerry’s ‘Our Ocean’ conference in June, highlighted ocean acidification as a key threat to the world’s oceans.

“The workshop, in addition to coming up with practical solutions for the challenge of ocean acidification in the Pacific, showcases the strong partnership between the US and New Zealand on oceans and science issues,” she said.

“As Minister Steven Joyce highlighted this week, the United States is New Zealand’s most significant research and technology partner,” she said.

This week’s Ocean Acidification workshop follows on from a workshop in Nelson in December 2013 which identified ways to future proof New Zealand’s $350 aquaculture industry. It was held in partnership between the US Department of State, the New Zealand Government, the National Institute of Water and Atmospheric Research, the Gordon & Betty Moore Foundation, Sanford Limited and the Cawthron Institute.

This week’s workshop, entitled ‘An International Workshop on Ocean Acidification: State-of-the-Science Considerations for Small Island Developing States’, was officially announced by US and New Zealand at the 45th Pacific Islands Forum in Palau held this year in August.

Speaking at the event will be Dr Todd Capson, an American oceans scientist and Science & Policy Advisor to the Sustainable Fisheries Partnership in Washington DC who also co-organised the Nelson event.

The organisations co-sponsoring the Ocean Acidification workshop are the US Department of State, the US National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, the New Zealand Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade, the New Zealand National Institute of Water and Atmospheric Research, and the Secretariat of the Pacific Regional Environment Programme.

Background Information

Ocean acidification is emerging as an urgent environmental and economic issue in many areas of the world. As the world’s oceans absorb carbon dioxide from the atmosphere, ocean pH levels are falling, resulting in greater acidity of ocean water. Since the industrial revolution, the oceans have absorbed 40% of the carbon dioxide released by human activities, resulting in a 30% increase in the acidity of the world oceans. If these changes to the chemical balance of ocean and coastal waters continue at present rates, they may have potentially devastating effects on marine life.

Given that over one billion people rely on the oceans for their primary source of protein, and that the economies of many countries around the world depend on fish, shellfish and marine ecosystems that support such life in the oceans, the human health and economic impacts of ocean acidification could be disastrous. Monitoring is required to assess the rate of ocean acidification and to inform practical adaptation/response measures.

Small Island Developing States (SIDS) may be particularly vulnerable to the impacts of ocean acidification. This workshop will bring together technical and policy experts with frontline experience in observing and seeking ways to address the impacts of ocean acidification through globally integrated baseline observation and monitoring for SIDS as well as regionally relevant, practical adaptation measures. The workshop goal is to identify emerging best practices applicable to SIDS, as speakers and participants share adaptation and monitoring experiences, and to develop a network for experts to disseminate this critical information across the Pacific, Caribbean, Atlantic and Indian Ocean regions.

The workshop, which is jointly hosted by New Zealand and the United States in partnership with the Secretariat of the Pacific Regional Environment Programme, will be taking place on 28-29 August aboard the Pacific Jewel, in Apia Harbour.

ENDS

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Free trade will lift Kiwi incomes: National http://www.itsourfuture.org.nz/free-trade-will-lift-kiwi-incomes-national/ http://www.itsourfuture.org.nz/free-trade-will-lift-kiwi-incomes-national/#comments Tue, 26 Aug 2014 11:07:27 +0000 http://www.itsourfuture.org.nz/?p=6768 Press Release – New Zealand National Party

National today released a set of policies that reinforces the Partys commitment to openness with the world as the path to lift New Zealanders incomes, in contrast with opposition parties that want to isolate us from the rest of the world. New …
Free trade will lift Kiwi incomes: National

National today released a set of policies that reinforces the Party’s commitment to openness with the world as the path to lift New Zealanders’ incomes, in contrast with opposition parties that want to isolate us from the rest of the world.

“New Zealand’s economic prosperity relies on selling our goods and services to the rest of the world,” says National Party Leader John Key. “The fewer barriers there are for our exporters, the better off New Zealanders will be.”

“That is why as Prime Minister I have been working hard on behalf of New Zealanders to crack open more doors to free trade, alongside Foreign Affairs Minister Murray McCully and Trade Minister Tim Groser.

“This includes pushing for a high-quality free trade agreement under the Trans-Pacific Partnership, which includes economic giants like the United States and Japan.

“The choice for voters in this area, like so many others, is stark.

“The Greens want to end free trade and Labour, riven by caucus division, is very confused about what it wants after previously being in favour of free trade. The Dotcom party, of course, is totally opposed to free trade.

“There can be no doubt that this combination in government would damage the cause of New Zealand’s exporters and damage New Zealand’s economic prosperity.

“Raising barriers to the rest of the world and halting the momentum of trade agreements with key markets like the US, Japan and Korea, would be disastrous,” says Mr Key.

“Our policy to encourage free trade is one of the most important ways we can become more prosperous.

“Trade agreements allow New Zealand companies to access big international markets as if they were part of New Zealand’s domestic market. For a small country they are hugely important.”

Mr Key made the comments at the opening of the New Zealand Winegrowers conference in Blenheim today as National released its Trade, Foreign Affairs and Tourism policies.

“The wine industry is a leading example of New Zealand companies thriving on the world stage,” says Mr Key.

“The policies we are releasing today show our commitment to remaining open to trade with the world, having an independent foreign policy, and encouraging and supporting our crucial tourism industry.

“Should National have the privilege of forming a government after the election, I would continue as Minister of Tourism, working hard to promote New Zealand as a tourism destination,” he says.

Mr Key also announced along with Education Minister Hekia Parata that the National Government has decided to create a $10 million fund over five years to increase the provision of Asian languages in schools.

“These policies together demonstrate National is committed to seeing New Zealand remaining open to the world, continuing to generate economic prosperity through good relations with other countries, and lowering barriers to trade.”

ends

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Fightback opposes platform for Julian Assange http://www.itsourfuture.org.nz/fightback-opposes-platform-for-julian-assange/ http://www.itsourfuture.org.nz/fightback-opposes-platform-for-julian-assange/#comments Mon, 25 Aug 2014 09:14:33 +0000 http://www.itsourfuture.org.nz/?p=6765 Article – Fightback

Fightback supports Internet MANA as an alliance between radical indigenous and progressive tau iwi forces, challenging the neoliberal consensus.

Fightback opposes platform for Julian Assange

by Fightback Admin
26 August, 2014

Fightback supports Internet MANA as an alliance between radical indigenous and progressive tau iwi forces, challenging the neoliberal consensus.

Party founder Kim Dotcom recently hinted that Julian Assange may be speaking at an upcoming Internet Party event on September 15th. Assange is facing charges for rape.

Providing a platform for Assange, and other men with a misogynist history, discredits the movement against transnational exploitation and repression (as represented by the TPPA, Five Eyes, and the GCSB in Aotearoa/NZ). Only a movement which opposes gendered violence can unite the oppressed to fight for self-determination.

Fightback opposes any platform for Julian Assange.

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New Zealand state’s quandary in the Asia-Pacific http://www.itsourfuture.org.nz/new-zealand-states-quandary-in-the-asia-pacific/ http://www.itsourfuture.org.nz/new-zealand-states-quandary-in-the-asia-pacific/#comments Sun, 24 Aug 2014 09:48:41 +0000 http://www.itsourfuture.org.nz/?p=6760 Article – Fightback

In May, the US government brought criminal charges against five Chinese military officials for hacking into the systems of US energy and steel companies. They stole trade secrets and conducted economic espionage.

New Zealand state’s quandary in the Asia-Pacific

By Byron

August 23, 2014

Jared Phillips (reprinted from socialistvoice.org.nz)

In May, the US government brought criminal charges against five Chinese military officials for hacking into the systems of US energy and steel companies. They stole trade secrets and conducted economic espionage.

The Chinese government retaliated by urging domestic banks to remove high-end servers made by IBM and replace them with locally-made servers. Technology companies operating in China are now being vetted and state-owned companies have been instructed to cut ties with US consulting firms. These developments are examples of increased tensions between the US and China.

US-China tensions dominate region
The Asia-Pacific region is one of the main arenas where US-China tensions play out. A new order is developing in East Asia after 40 years of relative stability. In many ways the world is moving from being ‘unipolar’ to ‘bipolar’ for the first time since the fall of the USSR in 1991.

China has seen huge economic growth over the past 30 years. It experienced 10% annual growth rates from 1985 to 2011. While China’s per capita GDP is far behind the US, its overall GDP is gaining ground. This gives China a significant amount of strategic and political weight on the world stage.
At the same time the position of the US in East Asia is in decline. Between 2000 and 2012, the US’s share of trade to East Asia fell from 19.5% to 9.5%. China’s share rose from 10% to 20% in the same period. In 2009 US President Obama announced the “Pivot to Asia” foreign policy, an attempt to check China’s emergence as a challenger to US dominance in the region.

Increased US-New Zealand military cooperation
In mid-2012 the NZ and US governments signed the Washington Declaration which set out to achieve regular high-level dialogue and enhanced cooperation between the two nations. In 2013 there was a meeting of Pacific Army Chiefs which was co-chaired by New Zealand and the US. Following this meeting the NZ Defence Minister Jonathan Coleman and US Secretary of Defence Chuck Hagel made a joint press release announcing further military cooperation.
Coleman said “Our defence relationship with the US is in great shape, and provides a strong platform for working closely together in the future”. In many ways US-NZ military relations are the strongest since the ANZUS relationship ended in 1984.

The closer co-operation is not merely a result of a set of National Party policies. It stems from the needs of New Zealand business interests. New Zealand plays the role of a mini-imperialist force in the region attached to the US.

The New Zealand government began patching up relations with the US in the early 2000s. The Labour Party sought to straddle the US-Franco tensions but ultimately sided with US imperialism by making commitments to the so-called “War on Terror” in Afghanistan and Iraq. Labour’s election adverts in 2002 sought to promote this relationship with images of then US Secretary of State Colin Powell with a voice-over message saying that we are “very, very good friends”.

Up until this year National has civilianised military roles and cut military spending. However for 2014 National has allocated an increase of $100 million to military spending. This is part of an additional $535 million being allocated over the next four years, and has essentially been a restructure based on the needs of the US in the Asia-Pacific region.

NZ and China’s strong economic links
The world economic crisis has not had such a dramatic effect on New Zealand as it has on other regions. This is because New Zealand’s economic integration is strongest with Australia and China, whose economies remained relatively stable for the first years of the crisis.

There are more New Zealand companies with overseas production engagements in China than any other country. In 2013 China became New Zealand’s biggest export destination. This was the first time in decades that the biggest destination was not Australia. New Zealand’s next strongest links are with Australia, and the Australian economy is also intimately linked with China.

The Chinese economy has grown by around 7.5% over the last year. This is a slowdown on the 10% growth China had experienced for decades before the crisis began to take effect. With the slowdown, Chinese corporate debt has increased by up to 260% in the period between 2008 and 2013. Local government debt has also increased.

China is facing a crisis of overcapacity and its main export markets are struggling with low growth. This further drives China’s need to conquer new markets and exploit cheap resources in the region.

TPPA an attempt to strengthen US influence
The Trans Pacific Partnership Agreement (TPPA) did not initially include the US but the US joined it and has sought to dominate the negotiations. From the US Government’s perspective, the agreement is an attempt to counter China’s emergence as a power in the region.

The agreement would serve the interests of big corporations and empower them against states. It would establish trade tribunals to regulate disputes between companies and states. This would equate to bringing neo-liberal economic policies into law. A corporation could sue a state for introducing laws that undermine profits and violate the TPPA. Such measures would hamper the ability of working people to fight for reforms.

In the negotiations the US have often used heavy-handed tactics and this has caused other countries to hesitate to sign. The National government is currently trying to turn its own stalling to an advantage by saying it will not sign without the support of the population. However National has engaged undemocratically in the negotiations and the Labour Party has not opposed them. The truth is that National is currently recoiling because aspects of the US’s corporate agenda are at odds with aspects of New Zealand’s corporate agenda. This is just one of the dilemmas NZ big business faces.

Pacific Islands
While the capitalist class is collaborating in order to advance its interests, the left and workers’ movements must also seek to build links between working people and the poor in the region. The Pacific Islands will be of particular importance.

The fight against climate change in New Zealand and other advanced economies must be intensified to help prevent further climate change displacement of the people on these islands. For those who have already been forced to flee, we must fight for their rights as refugees.

In some Pacific nations up to half the population rely on money sent from family members in New Zealand, Australia, and elsewhere. It is imperative that socialists and the workers’ movement play a leading role supporting full equal rights for Pacific workers.

Future struggle
The situation in the Asia Pacific region is becoming more fraught. While the New Zealand ruling class has hedged its bets with US imperialism, the economy is also highly dependent the US’s main imperialist rival, China. On the face of it, New Zealand’s domestic situation appears relatively stable. However, an analysis of the regional situation reveals that there is much scope for destabilisation in the years ahead.

It is clear that economic and political rivalries will continue to sharpen in this part of the world. The only way this can be resolved in a positive way is if working people throughout the region unite their struggles and fight for an alternative to the system that pits nations and people against each other.
While democracy struggles in places like Fiji and Tonga must be supported, we should argue that only by transforming society along socialist lines will we really be able to address the issues ordinary people face. A socialist federation of the region would promote cooperation and the democratic sharing of resources. This is the alternative to oppression and imperialist aggression.

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Peters: With Real Representation, Real Progress http://www.itsourfuture.org.nz/peters-with-real-representation-real-progress/ http://www.itsourfuture.org.nz/peters-with-real-representation-real-progress/#comments Thu, 21 Aug 2014 11:06:10 +0000 http://www.itsourfuture.org.nz/?p=6752 Speech – New Zealand First Party

Early this month, the New Zealand First candidate for Tauranga, Clayton Mitchell, organised a meeting between local city councillors and myself. You will recall that back then he and New Zealand First gave a commitment that when we are successful …Rt Hon Winston Peters
New Zealand First Leader
22 August 2014

Tauranga Speech
Friday 22 August, 10.30am
Bob Owens Retirement Village, 112 Carmichael Rd, Bethlehem, Tauranga
WITH REAL REPRESENTATION, REAL PROGRESS

Early this month, the New Zealand First candidate for Tauranga, Clayton Mitchell, organised a meeting between local city councillors and myself.

You will recall that back then he and New Zealand First gave a commitment that when we are successful in this election, we would remove the tolls from Route K, make it a state road, and at the same time have the NZTA pick up the $64 million debt.

We knew that Route K had not realised its potential because transporters and motorists were avoiding the toll by taking an alternative route.

That is why we promised to take the tolls off as well.

For over five and a half years, National has done nothing about this growing debt on the Council’s books.

The meeting with councillors was very significant because after five and a half years of central government inertia, all of a sudden last Monday, the NZTA announced that it was picking up the Route K debt, re-designating the road, but were keeping the tolls on.

Remember, this is a very important arterial road in the Tauranga and Port infrastructure.

So what we can conclude from Monday’s announcement is that first, the National Party was prodded out of its disinterest into doing something positive for the Bay of Plenty.

And second, even before getting to Parliament, Clayton Mitchell has proved he will be a dynamic MP for Tauranga.

City Councillor Clayton Mitchell has made it a crusade to get the debt off the council’s balance sheet and he has done a great job already.

Well done Clayton – you have served your city well, and after September 20 you will be serving New Zealand well as a member of the New Zealand First caucus!

When the Prime Minister was in Tauranga recently he criticised Mr Mitchell and said he couldn’t be a councillor and MP as well.

Strange that, because he is accepting that Mr Mitchell is going to make it as an MP and he made no mention of the number of National Party MPs who served out their time in local government after being elected as a MP.

And in his time and knowledge there have been five of them, including some in his caucus right now!

Mr Key, is there one rule for the National Party and one rule for everyone else?

That said, thank you for your vote of confidence in Mr Mitchell!
Let’s start this talk today with a few comments about Nicky Hager’s book ‘Dirty Politics’ and what we in New Zealand First see as its real significance.

Make no mistake.

Nicky Hager is a serious researcher who has written a serious book.

However much the Prime Minister evades, prevaricates and denies it, he has been found implicated in the Jason Ede/Cameron Slater National Party dirty tricks campaign.

Mr Key’s reputation is now seriously tarnished and tainted.

For New Zealand First the real issue the public must ask is – what is happening to our democracy?

The Prime Minister is at the apex of the New Zealand Government.

The Prime Minister must be trusted to uphold the highest ethical standards, probity, respect for the spirit as well as the letter of the law.

If not, New Zealand is in deep trouble.

And there is no credibility in the Prime Minister’s claim that an OIA request to the SIS and dealing with the Leader of the Opposition would not be bought to his immediate attention whether he was on holiday or not.

The Prime Minister and all Ministers travel with the technology to be immediately linked in with all serious matters happening within their portfolios.

The Prime Minister’s denials are the same ones he gave on the Coatesville raid where his defence seemed to be that everybody else knew but him, even though he is and was the Minister for both the SIS and the GCSB.

Frankly, New Zealand First is sick of this behaviour and we want to remain on message with our common sense tour campaign.

That’s why we are going to set up, after the election, a Commission of Inquiry into these matters.

Not a witch-hunt, but looking at the whole issue of public concern here.

And we’re going to choose a respectable Commissioner and the appropriate terms of reference to get at the truth.

The election is fast approaching.

New Zealand’s government for almost six years has had National at the helm.

Easily enough time for any government to prove themselves.

This election will turn on whether or not what National has done can be understood, and whether they are working for you or someone else.

They are empty of ideas to take the country forward.

What is very clear is that they have been shifting New Zealand’s wealth from the many to the few:
• by selling the public’s assets like the power companies.
• by negotiating away the public interest such as Pharmac at the TPP negotiations being held in secret.
• by allowing foreigners free rein to New Zealand land, houses and businesses.
• by allowing in what will soon be a record number of new immigrants into New Zealand, at almost 800 people per week settling here.

Whilst they were selling down the public share in Mighty River Power that company, which you used to own 100 per cent, was amassing a current profit increase of 84 per cent.

And then they boast that they are doing a wonderful job on the economy and working for you.

National’s economic policy resembles nothing so much as a cargo cult.

They think if they and the media can chant “Rock Star Economy” enough times then all will be well and you will be persuaded.

We have seen massive losses of land to overseas ownership.

One million hectares has gone through the Overseas Investment Office – into full or partial foreign ownership.

That is six times the size of Stewart Island.

National pretends foreign ownership does not matter.

Stephen Joyce said when questioned on the Lochinver Station purchase that “it’s a ridiculously small amount of land”.

So for National, one sale of almost 14,000 hectares of the Lochinver Station is trivial!

They have allowed a sale to go through the Overseas Investment Office (OIO) on average, every three days, over the past three years.

The last notable sale was South Waikato’s iconic Okoroire Hot Springs Hotel this month, to Kingstown Volcano Springs Ltd, on August 15. The buying company is foreign owned.

The sellers have been at pains to defend the sale into foreign hands, whilst totally ignoring the fact that their original ownership derived from a New Zealand only buyer market.

Quite rightly, there is outrage at putting the interests of foreigners first, and New Zealanders last.

In this campaign New Zealand First is saying ‘it’s your country – don’t lose it’.

Many of New Zealand’s best and most profitable businesses have gone into overseas ownership without a murmur from government.

95 per cent of the banking sector is owned by Aussie Banks.

Citizenship is now being scattered around like confetti, with net immigration running towards record levels.

Ten of thousands of houses have been bought by non-citizen/non-residents at a time of acute housing, rates, and rental crisis in Auckland.

And the Bay of Plenty will not be immune from this.

New Zealand First pledges to put the interests of New Zealanders first.

We will do that by having an immigration policy that only brings in people we need, not people who need us.

That means drastically cutting immigration numbers to sensible levels to take the pressure off housing, the health and education system, and NZ Super.

We will put the brakes on foreign ownership by imposing strict controls over land, housing and strategic business sales.

We have the legislation ready to collect comprehensive information on all land and housing ownership in New Zealand.

We’ve called on the government to do this for years. They won’t.

They just don’t want you to know.

And we will replace that toothless poodle – the fig leaf called the Overseas Investment Office with a new and powerful agency with real power, and real commitment, to stop the sell-off.

Only purchases with proven benefit to New Zealand in terms of jobs and real new investment will be allowed.

One of the aspects that the new agency will consider that is not covered by the OIO is tax.

Currently foreign investors have access to huge tax advantages that do not apply to residents.

This tax advantage is another way foreign owners are outbidding Kiwis.

We will give the country a sane monetary policy by reforming the Reserve Bank Act.

This will mean we have a realistic exchange rate to support manufacturers and exporters.

We will take GST off Your Food and Rates to significantly lower the cost of living.

We will support regional New Zealand instead of the lop-sided development where Auckland is the focus of all attention and spending.

And for the more than 630,000 Kiwis receiving NZ Super we will defend the scheme from the insidious campaign to undermine this fundamental plank of a decent society.

This is our pledge: We will work for you!

You know what to do in September – party vote New Zealand First.

It’s common sense!

ENDS

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Council Amalgamations Still Bad Deal http://www.itsourfuture.org.nz/council-amalgamations-still-bad-deal/ http://www.itsourfuture.org.nz/council-amalgamations-still-bad-deal/#comments Wed, 20 Aug 2014 10:35:22 +0000 http://www.itsourfuture.org.nz/?p=6749 Press Release – Democrats for Social Credit

Northland, Bay of Plenty, and Wellington ratepayers should not be seduced into accepting the amalgamation of their Councils by a recent amendment to legislation allowing for local boards not community boards, Chris Leitch, Democrats for Social Credit …Council Amalgamations Still Bad Deal
Northland, Bay of Plenty, and Wellington ratepayers should not be seduced into accepting the amalgamation of their Councils by a recent amendment to legislation allowing for local boards not community boards, Chris Leitch, Democrats for Social Credit regional development spokesman, and Whangarei candidate said today.

While local boards have a few more decision making powers and specific budgets, people should realise that the agenda is to have fewer councils so that central government can more easily have control over them.

The attitude of the Minister for the Environment Amy Adams to councils putting protections in place on genetically modified organisms is a classic example.

The Minister is proposing to block this capacity and impose a “one-size-fits-all’ approach, effectively caving in to lobbying from powerful interests in the biotechnology industry including companies like Monsanto.

She has said she will change the Resource Management Act (RMA) to disallow any ruling on genetically modified organisms by councils, arguing that such a ruling was the place of the central government under the Hazardous Substance and New Organisms Act (HSNO).

With fewer councils to deal with, imposing a central government position will be much easier.

Of major concern is the real risk that under trade deals such as the Trans-Pacific Partnership Agreement (TPPA), which is being negotiated in secret by the government, a local community’s ability to block a chemical manufacturing plant, a rubbish burning facility, or a mining operation, on environmental grounds will become impossible.

Amalgamation of Councils is not “reform” at all. It’s still a bad deal for democracy, for the ability of ratepayers to access the decision makers, and for local communities to have control over what goes on in their own backyard.

ENDS

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Top 5 Scoop Press Releases Week To 16th August 2014 http://www.itsourfuture.org.nz/top-5-scoop-press-releases-week-to-16th-august-2014/ http://www.itsourfuture.org.nz/top-5-scoop-press-releases-week-to-16th-august-2014/#comments Sun, 17 Aug 2014 17:10:00 +0000 http://www.itsourfuture.org.nz/?p=6743 Article – Scoop Insights

The following five press releases were the top performing press releases (by NZ page view numbers) according to Google Analytics on Scoop for the seven days to 16th August 2014.

Top 5 Scoop Press Releases Week To 16th August 2014 | Scoop Insights

From Scoop Insights

The following five press releases were the top performing press releases (by NZ page view numbers) according to Google Analytics on Scoop for the seven days to 16th August 2014.
1. The TPPA’s Dirty Little Secret: How US could write NZ’s Laws

http://www.scoop.co.nz/stories/PO1408/S00194/the-tppas-dirty-little-secret-how-us-could-write-nzs-laws.htm

A new website launched today ( http://tppnocertification.org/ ) has exposed what University of Auckland law professor Jane Kelsey calls ‘the dirty little secret of the TPPA’.
2. Unprecedented 0% Pest Survival Rate in DOC Rat Control Trial

http://www.scoop.co.nz/stories/BU1402/S00802/unprecedented-0-pest-survival-rate-in-doc-rat-control-trial.htm

In wonderful news for birdlife, NZ developed automatic rat traps have totally eliminated predator rat populations during large-scale Department of Conservation (DOC) trials in native New Zealand bush.
3. Jamie Whyte won the minor leaders debate

http://www.scoop.co.nz/stories/PO1408/S00145/jamie-whyte-won-the-minor-leaders-debate.htm

By calling out the minor party leaders as communists over the sale of the Lockinver Station, Jamie Whyte won yesterday’s minor leaders’ debate on The Nation.
4. Nicky Hager book launched today

http://www.scoop.co.nz/stories/PO1408/S00207/nicky-hager-book-launched-today.htm

Nicky Hager’s new book was launched at 5pm today at Unity Books in downtown Wellington. The book is not about the Snowden documents; Mr Hager said publicly months ago that he was not writing a book on that subject. Today’s book follows on from his earlier …
5. iPredict 2014 Election Update: Internet-Mana to have 5 MPs

http://www.scoop.co.nz/stories/PO1408/S00183/ipredict-2014-election-update-internet-mana-to-have-5-mps.htm

For the first time, the 7000 registered traders on New Zealand’s online predictions market, iPredict, are picking the Internet-Mana Party to win five seats at the next election, bringing Chris Yong into parliament along with Hone Harawira, Laila Harre…

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