Give Whangarei And Northland A Fair Go

Good afternoon and thank you for being here in such numbers.

It’s great to announce the candidacy of Gavin Benney an experienced city councillor and with many years of experience as a local police officer, with an admirable record of community service in Whangarei and Northland, he will be representing New Zealand First here in Whangarei this election.

Covid Inquiry

We are here to talk about Whangarei and Northland and what needs to be done to give this province a fair go.  But before we do that, we have an important announcement to make.

You will all recall the arrival of Covid 19 in this country and the devastating impact economically it has had on so many of your lives, incomes, and businesses.

The issue of Covid has three aspects:

  1. Its arrival and what we didn’t know about it,
  2. What experts believed and said that they did know about it,
  3. What we have since learned in the passage of time with greater understanding and evidence.

You will recall the countless lockdowns initially justified but then not justified, Northland is a case and point, Hipkins locked down Northland just on a ‘suspicion’ of a case being here.  And despite the damage to the Northland economy, Labour have never apologised.  Nor have their political fellow travellers in society and the mainstream media.

You will have observed that anyone who questions Covid policy is instantly the subject of dismissal, gas lighting, and misinformation.

There is a pattern here of the depiction of legitimate inquiry as being “conspiracy theory” or “going down a rabbit hole”.  The kind of moronic response that you would expect from people who don’t understand that New Zealanders are entitled to the truth and nothing short of the truth. 

When internationally and in the USA at the Senate and Congressional level, a full-scale inquiry is going on into the handling of covid, in the interest of enhancing our capacity to handle a similar problem in the future, back here in New Zealand we have many in the mainstream media behaving in the most reprehensible way.

There is no doubt in time they will be regarded as being ridiculous, but they need to be seen in their obstruction to be ridiculous now.

That is why we are announcing today New Zealand First policy is to ensure a full scale, independent, one year inquiry conducted publicly with local and international experts, into how the Covid pandemic was handled in New Zealand, including the use of multiple lockdowns, vaccine procurement and efficacy, the social and economic impacts on both regional and national levels, and whether steps taken were justified.

This inquiry must not be run by parliament, nor can it be restricted and narrow in its scope.  This must be a public and wide-ranging inquiry – so that New Zealanders will know the truth and be properly informed.    

How can anyone concerned to get to the truth of this matter oppose such a full-scale inquiry, unless of course, they do not want their actions properly evaluated.  New Zealanders paid the cost for how Covid was handled, and New Zealanders are the only ones that matter.

Remember, all of us politicians were confronted with an alarming issue that we knew so little about, and we all made mistakes.  Our reputations with respect to Covid don’t matter, but what we can learn from how it was handled, is critical for how such an issue is confronted in the future.

On the question of mandates and freedoms, New Zealand First policy is to reinstate people who lost their jobs and ensure they are recompensed.

As we said Northland was shut down on the suspicion of a covid case.  People were quarantining in Auckland which meant that the biggest economic and employment base of the country was shut down as well.  Labour simply would not listen and thought they knew best.    And as you know the ‘podium of truth’ was an absolute disgrace, and so are the insipid hate speech laws which are designed to muzzle new Zealanders and take away their freedom of speech.

Northland is the foundation stone of New Zealand, both in Māori because of our geography and in our modern history.

At the Brynderwyns the National Government entered an upgrade contract for $16 million for the Northern Brynderwyn strip.  The contract blew out $23 million and despite the upgrade the speed limit was lowered.

The real problem is that the Brynderwyn road is in the wrong place.  It is again an example of infrastructure that is second rate and not working. 

No where is this more plain than the weather beaten, run down state of State Highway 1 at the southern end of the Brynderwyns.

It must be replaced with a four-lane highway to the East of the Brynderwyns beginning at the southern Brynderwyn quarry and would be of 3 kilometres in length.

It is essential that work start on this immediately after the 2023 election.

The entire Northern region needs certainty, not more red tape, engineering, capital allocated for the purpose and rapid delivery of roading infrastructural plans.

Whangarei to Marsden Point – motorway. A four-lane motorway from Whangarei to Marsden Point has got to be the second priority and is a New Zealand First priority.

Four Lane Highway from Puhoi to Whangarei

The National Party for many years has been arguing that they were for a four lane highway from Puhoi to Whangarei.

They eventually set aside money in a bloated and delayed contract delivery for such a highway between Puhoi and Warkworth.

AT the speed at which they have delivered this motorway it will take another 89 years to get to Whangarei.

And they never set one cent aside to pay for the Warkworth to Whangarei part of their plan yet keep on saying other parties stopped it.  We didn’t. There was never any money there to start.

Whangarei used to be a thriving city.  Remember what we used to have here when central government did believe in provincial infrastructure investment? In the memory of people in this room, when unemployment was virtually zero, we had the Portland Cement Works, the Government Mint at Onerahi, the New Zealand Fertiliser works, the New Zealand Glass Works, a Freezing Works, and in the 1960s, with speed, we began the Marsden Point Refinery.

Today what’s left?

Marsden Point Refinery

Well Portland is still there, but the Marsden Point Refinery, behind your backs and without any consultation, has been shutdown by its offshore ownership with the agreement of the Labour Government.

New Zealand First says, this closure is economic treason.  If our fuel supply lines are blocked offshore, this country will simply close down.  And that means critical frontline services such as police, ambulance, fire service, aviation, and others, will simply not have the critical resource to do their job.

The Minster of Energy Meagan Wood has simply misinformed New Zealanders as to what this means.  When real experts have said, that in a fuel supply line crisis offshore, Marsden Point Refinery could still operate to provide the critical fuel for essential services in this country, from energy resources already in this country.

Before the 2020 election Shane jones and I met with the CEO of the Marsden Point refinery, asking her what their long-term plans were.  She was evasive in the extreme. We have a record of the meeting, and it’s now clear that closure was always their intention;  if they could get a compliant government to go along with them – and that’s exactly what’s happened.

Worse still, they have poured concrete into the pipelines and drilled holes in them, in an act of sabotage against New Zealand’s interests.

No government believing in the economic interests of New Zealand, being put first, should ever have allowed this to happen.

New Zealand First policy is to re-establish Marsden Point Refinery to safeguard our immediate and long-term interests.  Should the ownership resist, then we will “Take Back Marsden Point.”

This is not “Nationalisation”.  This is “Nationalism”.  And we stand for Putting New Zealand First.

Remember New Zealand only had three large industries, New Zealand Steel, Tiwai Point Aluminium, and the Marsden Point Refinery.  Under Labour operating by themselves, two of these three will be gone, and whilst we are at it, what are the other political parties doing about it? The answer is “doughnuts”. 


As you all know Northport is the only port in this country with the depth of water to handle future shipping size and the land area for its cargo.  The Port of Auckland should have been moved to Northport years ago in recognition of that fact.

Due to increased imports, cargo from the Ports Of Auckland has organically spilled to Marsden Point.  For over a year Northport has been receiving over 1,000 containers a month with that volume projected to double.  After the cyclone in February the road over the Brynderwyns was closed for 73 days.  These customers have now stopped their cargo coming into Northport and have stated they won’t be returning until there is a resilient road network to Auckland and a rail line to Marsden Point. 

So, we are announcing today New Zealand First Policy to:

  • Make Northport a key Port of Entry for Auckland, and
  • Build a railway to it from the Northern Main Trunk Line

The rail corridor to Northport has already been designated and a geo tech study already completed, because New Zealand First insisted it be done in the last government, so our commitment is to ensure that it is built.

New Zealand First’s record is one of action.  Which party when the Hundertwasser build ran out of money, stepped up and found the resources?  Which party stepped up and found the money for the Wairau Māori Art Gallery, and $62 million to start fund an international hotel right here in Whangarei?  That’s our record, for we have never believed that you can build a reputation on what you are going to do, but what you have already done.

And if you have been observing the railway north of Whangarei from Kauri to Otiria, closed by National, the new railway sleepers stacked everywhere is because New Zealand First insisted it be reopened, and the 17 tunnels south of Whangarei on the way to Auckland have all been lowered, in preparation for this critical infrastructure to do its proper job again.

Whangarei in New Zealand First’s view is a gateway to Northland and its many attractions, and it needs to come alive again.


Northport Drydock

In addition, it is New Zealand First plan to open a drydock at Northport so that ships are upgraded here in New Zealand and not much more expensively in Asia.

Royal New Zealand Navy

And we are going to move the New Zealand Navy from Devonport in Auckland to Northport.  Why? Because it is economically far more sound to do so, and strategically far more wise to do so.

New Zealand First is asking you today to “Take Back Northland’s Future” and no longer see this part of New Zealand, forgotten, with countless promises but zero delivery from politicians.

2023 Key Issues

The critical issues for this election are our economy, our broken health system, our lack of law and order, our failing education system, and the cost of housing and rentals.

But if these five areas of crisis are not enough already, our very democracy is at risk from a rising tide of racism and separatism, that has given birth to secret social engineering that you were never warned about and most certainly never agreed to.

It is clear that a great majority of New Zealanders, including many Labour voters, don’t want more of the same. They are hard up against it, with rising costs everywhere, and no money left over after buying the essentials.

This majority rightfully expect to have a voice, yet Wellington is clearly not listening.  New Zealanders are sick of all the changing definitions of economic and personal income security, and a vacuous goal of ‘wellbeing’, whatever that means.  They know that they are forgotten New Zealanders slogging it out in difficult jobs and they ask – “where is the promise, where is the hope, where is the commitment that if we work, save, and be good citizens then tomorrow will be better for us”.

The next government must have real answers for problems economic and social, and not some ideological experiment where you and our country are the guinea pigs. Please ask, when and where did their policies ever work? 

New Zealand has not paid its way since 1972.  We must have policies in 2023 to grow, earn, and pay our way in to the future.  Not overnight because that is impossible but improving year on year as other first world nations, once way behind us, now way ahead of us, have done.

So, we must dramatically improve our national income and social performance.  And again, become world leaders, as we once were.

To do that we must modernise our economy and again become wealth creators, maximising added value before exporting.  Go to Tauranga or Northport and you will see logs in their most raw state being sent overseas where their added value will go to their economies and their workers and not our economy and our workers.  New Zealand First is going to change that. 

We must maximise IT to assist in this wealth creation and in doing so, restore our health system and our education system.

And we must bear in mind we cannot make the economic recovery we need without having a high wage economy – as we once did.

Our taxation policies are designed to assist businesses and workers and they will be announced soon in this campaign.

New Zealand First knows that for us to succeed economically and socially we must restore discipline to our nation – and that can only happen if, as a culture, we all accept that.

New Zealand First understands that our people are our “human capital” where expenditure is a necessary investment, not a wasteful cost.

No longer must the kiwi worker go on being the most forgotten people in New Zealand. 


Last Sunday we announced that we are going to fix our broken health system.

We are going to stop wasting money on woke pet pollical projects and spend it on specialist medical staff and cutting shameful waiting lists.

We are going to get rid of the failed Pharmac model and begin delivering first world pharmaceutical delivery, provide innovative life saving medicines quickly, and timely access to developed high-cost treatments for those patients who need them.  We are going to more than double the pharmaceutical budget. 

Fix Our Failing Education System

Where New Zealand was once a world leader in education, the latest Progress in International Reading and Literacy Study ranks Kiwi students last amongst all English-speaking countries and 24th of the OECD nations.  It’s a similar story in Maths and Science.

No doubt you have hundreds of explanations of what other parties are going to do on education, but New Zealand First’s priority is to:

  • Return to education and stop indoctrination,
  • Enforce compulsory education and end the appalling truancy record, which if unchecked will bring about a tsunami of education al failure at a personal level, and a national level billions of wasted taxpayers dollars set aside for students who are not in the classroom.

Law and Order

Ladies and gentlemen, the other parties are shouting ‘law and order’ but what’s their record? They have:

  • Frozen police budgets,
  • Closed countless police stations, many in the North, and
  • Cut frontline police numbers,
  • Pursed ‘catch and warn’ and ‘catch and release’ policies for criminals.

Only one Party, New Zealand First, has a serious record over the last three decades of investing in our police.  We got a massive increase in frontline police numbers, not once but twice when we were in government.  And so, on law and order one party has a record on which you can base your trust, and the others have failed promises which people will trust at their peril. 


In this campaign New Zealand First will announce our housing policy.  Because as you know, housing supply and costs have been a disaster.  People are spending over 60% of their incomes just to secure accommodation. 

This morning former minister Michael Wood had to concede that the house waiting list under Labour, has gone from 6000 to 24000, worse, had to agree that a third of ‘labours new housing’ are “redirects”, and that the number of people living in a car has quadrupled from just over a hundred to well over four hundred. 

Labour was in charge of housing, and promised 100,000 homes in ten years, yet still have 98,000 homes still to go, and just four years left to meet their target. 

Labour spent one million dollars a week in motel payments whilst quadrupling the number of people on the housing wait list.

Remember Labour inherited a housing crisis from national.  Made numerous promises and failed to deliver on one.

Democracy and Separatism

The first New Zealand election was in 1854, Māori voting was added in 1867, and women voting came in 1893.

“Democracy is government of the people, by the people, for the people”.  That means one person, one vote, and every vote of equal value. 

Secretly before 2020 and after, the Labour, Greens, and Māori Party have launched a full-scale attack on the essence of democracy.

Ordinary Māori want safe affordable homes, ready access to health care, educational escalators for their young, and first world wages.  That is what all ordinary New Zealanders want, and it’s those four policies that New Zealand First is committed to delivering on – no matter what race you are, what church you are, what gender you are.

To get to where these politicians are taking us, they deal in lies, including these four claims:

  • That European arrival ruined the peaceful paradise of Māori,
  • That the Treaty saw Māori begin a partnership with Queen Victoria,
  • That the Treaty was not about Māori ceding sovereignty,
  • That the Treaty meant Māori ‘self-government’

Stop for a moment and ask yourself, whether you’re Māori or non-Māori, can any of those four statements be remotely true?

  • Every Iwi history of the inter-tribal wars makes the ‘Māori Garden of Eden’ a complete myth. Look at the local Māori history here. 
  • If no one in Britain or the UK or the whole British Empire was in partnership with the Crown on the 5th of February 1840, then how could it be constitutionally true that Māori were, two days later?
  • The fact is Māori ceded sovereignty to the Crown when they signed the Treaty. The Chiefs back then said so, as did many leading Māori later, including Sir Apirana Ngata, Sir Maui Pomare, and Sir Peter Buck.  Yet today’s elite power-hungry Māori and their cultural fellow travelers deny history and fact (see Sir Apirana Ngata’s ‘Te Tiriti O Waitangi’ explanation 101 years ago in 1922).
  • All Māori Iwi pre-1840 and well after, were under the control of their ‘Tino Rangatiratanga’. That means their Chief’s word was gospel.  If there was back then co-government, which Chief’s word, if different, was gospel?

The elite’s argument does not stand the slightest scrutiny.  And every ordinary Māori knows it.

Social Engineering

Behind closed doors a small unelected cabal of opinionated virtue signallers want to “integrate gender content into the curriculum”.  They want to stop the science curriculum being about physics, chemistry, and biology, but include sexual and gender education.  They have no authority to be doing this.  They never ever asked you.

This election is about stopping them.

The government has no place in the nation’s bedrooms - so why are our school children, from age five, now being taught about ‘relationships, gender, and sexuality’?

Caring For Seniors

In this country there are about 890,000 people who are seniors, who receive Superannuation and enjoy the tens of thousands of shopping benefits, plus free travel, that comes from the Gold Card.

When over the years every political party has attacked seniors and change the law to harm their incomes, one party alone has defended seniors.

In past times of economic difficulty, the seniors have been the first one the other parties have attacked. 

New Zealand First will makes sure, as we did in the past, that they don’t succeed.


Ladies and gentlemen, this is the most critical election in our lifetime.   

Under MMP you have two votes.  One for a local electorate political Party candidate, the other for the political Party of your choice; the Party Vote. New Zealand First is asking you to vote for Gavin Benney for Whangarei, and for your Party Vote - to keep them honest.

New Zealand is at an inflection point and a change in government is critical.  But it must be for a much better government and not just ‘it’s our turn now’.  You’re entitled to ask them “your turn to do exactly what?”

And one thing that the last three years has proven is that certainty, common sense, and experience, is critical to good government.  On their own the Labour Party has proven an utter mess. 

And looking across the political divide ask yourself this question, “Is this their first rodeo?” Because for many it is. They have never been a Minister inside of Cabinet. They will need our certainty, our common sense, and our experience.

New Zealand First is the insurance voters need to avoid an ideological lurch in either direction.

We are a Party that has since our formation, put New Zealanders First.  Certainty, Common Sense, and Experience is desperately needed in New Zealand now, and even more so after this coming election. 

It’s with that in mind that we ask you to get ready, to make a commitment today, right here right now, to save our country.

If you do, the future is certain.

Democracy will prevail.

But it is ‘Now or Never’.

We oppose racist co-government.

We oppose their Three Waters take over.

We oppose our country’s name being changed.

We oppose separatism in policy and in law.

We oppose this insidious woke agenda being driven by an elite cabal of social and ideological engineers.

We support policies based on need, not race.

We support the rule of law where everyone is equal before it.

We support the right of free speech - and that means we support the right of New Zealanders to say, ‘I disagree’ and not be mandated out of existence.

We support the right of New Zealanders to disagree with government policy and not be punished for it.

We have watched over the last three years Labour and its cohorts taking your country away from you.

We’ve got the polices, the grit, the experience, and the courage to stop them

We are asking you to join us, and,

“Let’s Take Back Our Country”.