“Enough of Failure” - Winston Peters' 2022 Conference Speech

Ladies and Gentlemen. Good afternoon.

It’s a personal inspiration to join you all here this afternoon in Christchurch – and to be part of the 29th New Zealand First Party Conference.

As we said this time last year, in Auckland, New Zealand First would be a Phoenix, rising from the ashes, and with the hard work of a great number of people, that is exactly what has happened.

For that, grateful thanks is owed to the many members and growing number of supporters of this Party and its policies.

And what we have been doing in the last 12 months is implicit in our Party’s name – New Zealand First. 

Not second, third, fourth, fifth or like so much today, 31st or 32nd in the world – but first.

First - in our economic aspirations.

First - in our social aspirations.

First - in our desire to restore equality in our country.

First - to defend the flag of our country.

First - to defend one law for all in our country, and

First - to defend democracy of our country.

We meet here in Canterbury, heartland New Zealand, at a most critical time. 

There is no real historic parallel to the crisis we face, right here, right now.

New Zealanders have met many challenges and sometimes the terror of war.

We have met economic crisis in the past.

With unity we dealt with them all, survived, and went on to prosper as a country.

However, today in New Zealand we face economic, social, political, and constitutional dangers – many self-inflicted, from recent political decisions.

In the two great periods of our country’s history when we achieved real world leader status there was a consensus. 

An agreement on what our people needed. 

A shared view that our great legacy came from what we could produce from our land, sea, climate, and most important of all, our human resources or ‘people capital’.

And the goal for our people to obtain the training, skills, and education to match any population in the world. 

A remarkable drive encouraging individual and family self-reliance.

It is not nostalgia, nor yearning for yesteryear, to point out that our forebears, more remote than any people from their market, in a land the size of the UK, but with a population the size of Manchester, nevertheless took us to be in the first three countries in the world.

When other countries had philosophers talking about egalitarianism, we lived it here more successfully than any other country.

Our forebears facing similar challenges to us nevertheless triumphed over adversity and distance to produce a then modern economic and social miracle.

Few of them had the privilege of a university education.

They had something more critical to wise decision making – they were gifted with plain common sense.

NZ Politics Today

In the decades when our country went from the first three, to inside the first 33 in the world, how many times have you heard politicians flimflamming you on how well the country is doing? 

Instead of marketing wool, they’ve been pulling it over our eyes.

How many times have you heard politicians saying ‘we’re doing ok’? 

Or, ‘we’re not bad for a small country’?  

In the seeds of that smugness are the reasons we have so many worried people struggling.

Struggling to be properly housed, properly trained, properly educated, and properly paid.

We are a small population.  So is Iceland. So is Norway. So is Singapore.

Those countries have made high living standards their national priority.

We once did that too.  So what went wrong?

The answer is not complex.

We simply stopped making high living standards an unarguable, agreed objective of our economic and social planning.

Too many have forgotten that politics is about people.

Have forgotten that the masters of politics are the people – not politicians and bureaucrats.

As bad is thinking ‘let’s give the other side a go, they couldn’t be worse’.

Whilst inside the corridors of power the most selfish think – ‘it’s our turn now’.


To do exactly what, when, why, and how?

New Zealand’s Economy today

New Zealand does not have a good economy anymore.

Our economy is about $250 billion.

It could be $500 billion on the exponential curve, which established by our forebear’s success, we should be.

And that $250 billion annual national income is plagued by a serious gap between the rich and the poor.

We spend most of our time arguing about how to divide the economic pie.

Wise countries spend most of their time on policies to grow the pie.

When did you last hear Parliament talk about real policy targets to rapidly grow our national wealth?

When did you last hear Parliament talk about tax policies to unleash the real potential of our economy and people?

Or, maximizing added value of our products before exporting - so we get the lions share of their value, and not some other economy.

Or incentivizing IT in industry, production, innovation, creativity, technology adoption, and international connectivity.

And why do we have a Productivity Commission whilst annually our productivity stagnates?

Killing the Golden Goose

A founding principle of New Zealand First is that sound environmentalism is sound economics.

Sound environmental policy is everyone’s responsibility.

Yet this week New Zealanders witnessed ingratitude on a grand scale. 

This followed hard on our COVID experience when our farming community, and hundreds of thousands that service it, kept our exports going, and kept our country going.

They deserve our respect, and gratitude.

Shockingly the Prime Minister decided this week that the only farmers in the world to pay farm level climate taxes on their methane, and other greenhouse gas emissions, will be our New Zealand farmers.

She claimed it would be a ‘world first’.

That doing this, New Zealand farming exporters would gain a premium in the world’s markets because overseas shoppers would know our product came with the lowest greenhouse gas emissions.

Ladies and gentlemen.

That is ‘bovine scatology’ – pure unadulterated bull dust.

Apparently Greta in the supermarkets of Europe is going to search the shopping aisles for a 35% more expensive product because the P.M said so.

Except New Zealand farmers have the lowest climate footprint in the world now.

For every cow that we lose, our overseas competitors will replace it with one with a higher carbon footprint.

You do the maths because this government can’t.

They preach to you whilst knowing that China, India, the EU, Indonesia, Russia, and Brazil account for 60% of global emissions and that figure is rising.

Then the Prime Minister announced that Maori farmers will receive taxpayer assistance to meet her targets but non-Maori farmers would not.

All farmers, Maori and non-Maori, should receive this assistance.

And all the while, having stopped using our coal, Labour and the Greens are importing yearly, 2 million metric tons of inferior coal from Indonesia.

Pure hypocrisy.

And Labour and the Greens don’t believe in extraction - when we have no capacity for good climate policy without it.

This is woke, virtue signaling madness, again.

‘All to make our climate activists feel good about themselves’.

And sadly you, at the end of the queue, will be the bunny paying for it.



From the late 1990’s through to 2017 our country pursued an unfocussed, unplanned, incoherent immigration policy with little structure to deal with it.

We failed to focus on high living standards to keep our people here, or bring them home from an OE.

Anyone who questioned these thoughtless policies was immediately cast as ‘racist, xenophobic, or anti-immigrant’. 

Rather than face up to a healthy debate other political parties immediately ‘hit the gaslighting button’. 

The results were a massive imbalance between demand and supply - of housing, health, education, and infrastructure that these other parties ignore.

That imbalance still exists.

And we are, from Labour’s last Wednesday’s announcement, about to do it all over again, under the guise of ‘reconnecting with the world’ and ‘filling major work force shortages’. 

This would be comical if it wasn’t so serious.

We already have 160,000 awaiting residency here.

We’re about to reopen immigration ‘along with the parents’ as a category.

The Immigration Minister said ‘the new system will improve processing times and there’ll be no cap on the number of people who can gain residence each year, if they meet the skills threshold’.

He added ‘as part of modernizing the parent category, from today, any new expressions of interest submitted will go into a ballot rather than add to the existing queue’.

Look at those words closely.

The two paragraphs are contradictory.

They signal that there is no understanding of how immigration can improve an economy or seriously damage it.

Since the formation of New Zealand First as a party we have always said that immigration should be based on one fundamental principle.

‘Bring people to New Zealand who we need, not who need us’.

Every smart economy in the world understands that principle. 

Ladies and Gentlemen,

Does this country have:

A housing shortage.

A health delivery shortage.

An education delivery shortage.

A shortage in wage value.

A shortage in infrastructure.


Yet here they go again.

Ignoring overseas best practice on immigration.

Ignoring the policies of highly successful small countries such as Norway, Singapore, Iceland, and Ireland.

Singapore’s successful model is clear.

It has millions of guest workers filling the skills and jobs their economy.

The difference is, they are not permanent, but flock to Singapore nevertheless.

Because there is a job that they can fill with incomes they need.

Singapore uses its tax policy to support the transportation, and housing, of needed workers at all levels of their society.

So why don’t we?

The answer is, because when you have an inferior economic system, you resort to extras like permanent residency for applicants and parents, to get professionals and workers to come here.

That means an applicant can bring their spouse, their children, both sets of parents as well, despite only the applicant having a job.

When New Zealand needs one professional, or worker, we could get 6, 7 or 8 more.

You understand economics 101, so why don’t other political parties.

Filling job shortages, skill shortages, trade shortages, are all critical to our economy both in our cities and our countryside.

Lessons Unlearned

You saw it in export education policy.

When we failed to adequately compete with the export education product other nations were delivering, we, to disguise that failure, resorted to permanent residency inducements to bring students here.

As someone who negotiated, in Beijing, our export education to the Chinese, the Chinese leadership asked for one promise.

‘When they have completed their education in your country, will you promise to send them home’.

What a shambles our policies on these matters have become.

You won’t get permanent residency if you take up export education in Australia.

Nor Canada.

Nor the UK.

Nor the USA.

And you most definitely won’t get permanent residency if you take up export education in any Asian country.

New Zealanders are getting sick of soft in the heart, with a head to match, lily livered liberals espousing policies against New Zealand’s interest when it comes to immigration.

They go on confusing skilled workers with immigration, as though they are the same.

It points to people in Parliament driven by sociological, woke claptrap and unable to run a school tuck shop successfully.

Again, New Zealand First has always believed that we need immigrants.

But we have never ever supported the unfocussed, unplanned, failed policies of the other parties on this matter.

And whilst we’re at it, how come unemployment is low when work readiness benefits are soaring, or the number of people on the dole are rising?

Let’s fix that.

Our immigration department needs an immediate reset, Key Performance Indicators the department must meet, and timelines it must keep. 

Not the ongoing never ending lack of accountability.

Ask the immigration department today how many overstayers are in New Zealand, right here, right now, and in a computer society, they simply don’t know.

Last time I asked there was a 33% margin of uncertainty.

The Immigration department with all their computer soft and hardware, simply didn’t know.

Ladies and Gentlemen, do you run your home like that?

Do you run your business like that?

Do you run anything in your life like that?

But the immigration department does, with successive Ministers who don’t seem to understand the first principle of accountability to the New Zealand public.

And before someone mentions the Pacific people, which politician from which party brought in the Seasonal Workers Scheme?

Which politician, from which party, has done more for essential aid to the Pacific people?

Which politician, from which party, announced the Pacific Reset capturing the support of Pacific countries, Australia, USA, UK, Indonesia, and Japan, to name just a few.

And which party, when over 470 Indian students studying here, fought for them to stay when a New Zealand export education facility failed them. New Zealand First alone did.

Ladies and Gentlemen, if you want sound immigration with accountability, then New Zealand First is your party.

These are the issues that should guide coalition negotiations.

Coalition decision 2017

There was an election in 2020 but repeatedly some party activists keep saying, ad nauseum, that New Zealand First is responsible for the 2020 election of Labour.

In 2017 the National Party’s attitude was, despite their numerous failures, ‘we know how it works, don’t you worry your pretty little head about it’.

It was not about who the New Zealand First Caucus chose, or ‘who Winston chose’, National failed to basically close the deal.

They had countless times ruled New Zealand First out all the way to the 2017 election.

National simply didn’t make the sale so let’s deal with the here and now.

Human Capital

Ladies and Gentlemen,

New Zealand must go back to mining – mining of our most important asset, our human capital. 

There are schools in New Zealand that have an attendance level of 35%.

School attendance is compulsory in our law.

The level of truancy in some of our schools today is an utter waste of our young and of our money.

Again, in this computer age, when within the first half hour of any school day, absenteeism should be identified and immediately addressed.

With parental accountability?

In a former age when there no phones or computers, the headmaster or headmistress, nevertheless knew which pupil wasn’t at school.

Parents obeyed the law and sent their child to school.

If 65% aren’t at certain schools, that’s 65% of taxpayer’s money, and young student’s lives going to waste.

Our once world leader status in literacy and mathematics is today around number 33.

And the critical economic and social problem we have is failure to train and treasure human capital.

We either have human assets or human liabilities. 

With that imbalance, a bleak future is foreseeable.

In all the cacophony of woke claims being made today, when did you last see a march in our streets for better literacy and mathematics standards? 

New Zealand First policies are going to address that.

We know that we must spend billions more on education if we are to get back in front of the first world.

Attending school will again become compulsory, in fact, not just in law.

Crime Pays

Ladies and Gentlemen, how many times were you told before 2017 that crime was falling?

How many times have you been told that lately?

If you apply to crime ‘a fish preservation policy’ - ‘catch and release’ - then you will grow the fish stock, and the number of criminals.

That’s exactly what’s been happening.

Every day we have shootings in our streets or neighborhoods.

Every night we have ram raids of shopping outlets, sometimes over 6 a night, involving juveniles.

And a collection of excuses.

Poverty, boredom, nothing to do, society’s fault.

For every thug who gets away with a crime there are many who stand a little taller, strengthening the brotherhood of criminals who set out each day to destroy our society.

A man with a chair, tried to slow down thugs recently robbing a Hamilton Mall.

What the news didn't show you is that a former police officer caused one of the thugs to fall over, who then lost his mask and his crowbar, and another citizen was able to photograph this criminal's face. 

When somebody's life is in danger, as is the case here, where a young shop assistant was being threatened with an axe, action has to be taken by somebody.

The advice to stand by and do nothing is misleading.

The man with the chair, along with active, former or off duty officers, instinctively took action against thuggery and crime.

Now no one is calling for vigilante action, but, as a nation, we each have a responsibility to stand up.

Say enough is enough.

Call for criminals to receive their just reward. 

There are people out there who know these thugs.

They are their family, friends and associates.

They have information about these crimes but they too remain silent, supporting crime above civility.  

The softer the Courts are on crime, the more brazen the thugs become. 

Many of these juvenile criminals work for the gangs.


New Zealand First is going to ban the wearing of gang patches in public places.

Their intimidation and terrorisation of everyday law-abiding New Zealanders must stop and New Zealand First will see to that.

We are not going on in this country with unlawful, private armies.

Social Contract

There was once a social contract between government and the people.

Began by politicians who understood the importance of parents and caregivers.

Today that social contract is in shreds.

New Zealand First plans to rebuild it.

We know of solo parents, mothers in the main, who have been deserted and facing the scrap heap, but for social welfare. 

There are many deserving cases. We understand that.

However today, a solo mother, with 4 young children, can receive $1300 net per week, and have some services paid for as well.

There are other families with two parents, both working, with not a hope of netting that amount per week.

Many of these are Maori and Pacifica families working long hours, paying for huge cost of living increases, rates rises, and growing unjustified energy costs. 

All the signs are this is going to get much worse.

This condition should concern every New Zealander because it’s no way to take our country forward.

Co-Governance, Separatism, Seeds of Apartheid

But rather than help these people, given the countless promises they have made, Labour, the Greens, and the Maori Party, would rather prioritize their separatist agenda.  Pursue policies of apartheid.  Obsess with revisionist history.  And without any mandate, change our constitution and the very essence of our democracy.

Ladies and gentlemen,

Did they tell you before the last election they were going to do that?

Did they ask you if they could do that?

Were they given a mandate in the 2020 election for that?

If your answer is no, so is mine.

They didn’t tell me, as Deputy Prime Minister, or my fellow New Zealand First Ministers, or our Caucus - the party they were in coalition with.

They denied that of course, but in a fit of panic in front of the media, Willie Jackson admitted it.

They knew that if they had told us, or you, before the 2020 election they would have been toast.

And now in government, with no handbrake, they are ramming it down your throats.

Three Waters

Here in the South Island there are 22 Councils.

In Labour’s new Three Water structure these 22 Councils get 6 members on a 12 member Board.  Ngai Tahu get the other 6.

Any decision by the Board must have a 75% majority.

So all the South Island, of whatever heritage, including Maori who are not Ngai Tahu, effectively have no say in their water assets.

This simply is theft masked as ‘reform’.

The Treaty as Universal Suffrage?     

Labour, the Greens and the Maori Party, claim that in 1840, the Treaty of Waitangi included universal suffrage.

Ladies and Gentlemen,

Not one Maori Chief in 1840 had heard of universal suffrage.

That’s not strange because in 1840 no-one in the British Empire, or indeed the whole world, believed in universal suffrage.

So why are our fellow citizens of all manner of ethnic backgrounds and beliefs, hearing this revisionist nonsense masquerading as fact from ‘the Podium of Truth’.

The Treaty is a Partnership?

This claim relates to a land case of 1987.

Nowhere in that case was a partnership part of the Courts decision.

Those that claim it is - are simply lying to you.

Co-Governance, Separatism, and the Seeds of Apartheid are being scattered throughout all of our laws and institutions.

Their basis is malignant paternalism arising from paternalism and inverse racism.

In short, and in fact, they are saying to Maori you haven’t got what it takes to compete in the first world, so we have to give you a leg up.

It implies that people of colour wouldn’t be able to get to high positions on their own.

In a civilization, rooted in the rights and opportunities of the individual, what really Māori wants to believe they achieved what they achieved simply because they are a member of a certain race.

“It’s a stigma. And this is particularly true for a member of a racial minority — someone who may well have overcome low expectations to succeed in school, worked harder than their peers, triumphed over a tough background or broken family and resisted the easy out of resentment.”

Ladies and gentlemen.  New Zealand First has never supported inverse racism and paternalism. 


When people join this Party we never ask what their ethnic background is. 

We never ask what their religious beliefs are.

We are all New Zealanders, whether we legally arrived yesterday, or been here for a thousand years.

We believe in one country, one people, one flag, and one law for all.

And our mission, is to return to Parliament and set to right this malignant tinkering with our country’s heritage.

Ladies and gentlemen have you had enough of the nightly ram raids on our streets?

Had enough of Willy Jackson and his out-of-control elite Māori Party bus?

Had enough of the Three Waters theft?

Had enough of our world’s worst youth suicide rate?

Then New Zealand First is the Party for you.

Have you had enough of our low investment in our education system which needs billions more?

Or had enough of our broken health system which needs billions more?

If you’ve had enough of decades of economic failure when we once, and could again, do so much better.

If you want sound economic plans to meet these challenges going forward, then New Zealand First is your Party.

This is the most important election you are going to face in your lifetime.

In coming months you are going to hear a lot of imitation from other political parties.  But ask yourself, are these people authentic? Where is their track record?

Only one Party will restore equality in our country, will defend the flag of our country, will defend one law for all in our country, will defend democracy of our country.

Ladies and gentlemen, if you want your country to be first again - then Party Vote New Zealand First.