Good evening and thank you all for being here tonight.
The next election has been set down for the 14th of October and we are getting ready for it, but should there an earlier election, we plan to be ready for that as well.
We meet tonight in the heart of the province of Northland, a part of New Zealand deeply imbedded in all of this country’s history, Maori and then British, and waves of new settlers such as Croatians.
People here live closer to our international markets than any other province, with an export record in the top half, and yet an economic record seriously in the bottom half, and you’re probably wondering how this could be.
The answer to that question is not complex. However, when your province has been neglected and cinderelerised for decades with only one exception, the 5 years between 2015 and 2020, the net outcome was inevitable.
For nigh on half a century all sorts of political parties, candidates and representatives have made you numerous promises, the unacceptable result being that they just failed to deliver.
Northland is in an infrastructural time warp best evidenced by numerous stop gap measures which can be seen everywhere and over a thousand single lane bridges, serious road closures, sitting like an albatross around the prospect of our future growth.
In the lifetime of many people here we went from having Government Print, the Glass Works, a Fertilizer Works, Marsden Point Refinery and the construction of North Port; the port with the greatest developmental potential in this country and yet with no railway servicing it.
All this happened decades ago and then we became the ‘forgotten province’.
From 2015 to 2020 that briefly changed.
The railway line between Whangarei and Auckland had 17 tunnels unable to carry containers by rail.
Those tunnels have now been deepened and the rail line is being strengthened and the rail between Kauri and Otiria, closed under the previous government, is being reopened as evidenced by the piles of sleepers on the side of the rail line in preparation for renewal.
The GeoTech study linking a new rail line joining Marsden Point with Oakley has been completed and now awaits the commitment to be built.
All over maritime Northland, whether it be the Kaipara, the Hokianga or the Bay of Islands new wharf structures have been, or are being, put in place and everywhere such as south of Whangārei, Kawakawa, and south of Kerikeri roundabouts have been built.
Then there is the magnificent Waitangi War Memorial Museum, the new Mental Health facility in Maungataroto and many water conservation projects as well as projects for stop banks against flooding.
And add also the tar sealing of the Fairburn Rd to give access south of Kaitaia to Coopers Beach and road resilience projects at the back of Otiria and for flood mitigation in the Hokianga.
These are just some of the recent initiatives since 2015.
New Zealand First did all that and a driving force to revive Northland has been the Honorable Shane Jones.
Born and bred in Northland he is a Nationalist who understands with great acuity the importance of the provinces, the need to grow provincial wealth and employment thereby uplifting the economic future of so many people living here and who choose to make Northland their home.
Shane Jones is Harvard University trained but he has never forgotten where he came from or, for that matter, how to milk cows.
They say ‘in politics no good turn goes unpunished’ and Shane Jones has come in for more than his share of criticism, but Shane has never been like so many in politics - ‘fast on the lip and slow on the hip’.
In New Zealand politics today so much that passes for political discourse is sociological psycho-babble.
You ask some politicians a question and they’ll try and fill the next 30 seconds with words with more than 5 vowels but in reality as Shakespeare wrote they are ‘much ado about nothing’. Or, all talk and no action.
When we launched the Provincial Growth Fund in 2018 our opponents called it, of all things given their appalling record of neglect, ‘a slush fund’. In essence that’s what they think of us and of you and your needs.
Yet as Shane and I were opening projects everywhere to restore heart to the provinces our greatest concern was to not to get injured in the stampede of other political party politicians trying to exploit a photo opportunity of an event they had contributed precisely nothing to.
There were two very serious headlines in the last 24 hours.
First, ‘The IMF says NZ has the worst Current Account Deficit out of all 40 ‘Advanced Nations’ in the world’.
Second, ‘RBNZ money printing chalked up nearly $20b in losses’.
Against this serious background information there are news outlets in this country, for reasons best known to themselves, trying to persuade the New Zealand people as one commentator said ‘that although our economy is doing badly, so is everyone else’s ’.
We are 6 months away from the next election suffering from the most serious account deficit of any advanced country in the world.
In short, as every homemaker knows, we are spending far more than we are earning. That is, in plain language, what a ‘current account deficit’ means and there is a hard road back to recovery that we must all commit ourselves to address, starting tonight.
And if we want to become much less dependent on foreign debt then we must grow our own wealth, export our way to success and add value to every industry and investment decision we make going forward.
We are here tonight to tell you the way it really is, the Real State of Our Nation, and the only real way, going forward, that can provide real hope to the people of Northland and our country.
Mere words won’t do that - but experience and certainty and a proven track record can begin doing just that.
New Zealand First wants both of your votes this election in Northland.
One for your electorate vote and one for your Party Vote.
Tonight we are here to introduce someone who believes in, and is committed to:
- Your Security
- Your Cost of Living
- You Taking Responsibility
- Your Infrastructure
Ladies and Gentlemen, a true voice for the North,
Ladies and Gentlemen, New Zealand First’s candidate for Northland, the Honorable Shane Jones.
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