‘It's up to you’
New Zealand First leader Winston Peters says the party does not wish to foist any policy on to the East Coast against local wishes.
The Deputy Prime Ministers, who visited Gisborne yesterday, was referring to a proposed $45 million barging facility at either Wharekahika/Hicks Bay or Te Araroa that was not included in Gisborne District Council's Tairawhiti 2050 Strategy and has attracted strong criticism from several quarters.
Mr Peters said the region had huge transport problems but there were alternative possibilities.
“It's up to you to say what you want in this part of the world.”
Mr Peters said it was ironic the funded proposal had been rejected locally.
“When did you hear of politicians coming with the money to back up their promises?”
NZ First was unlike other parties.
“We come with the money ready to go on projects that should have been done decades ago.”
The party was responsible for the $40m made available for local roads, he said.
The Provincial Growth Fund (PGF) would not have happened without New Zealand First, he said.
The PGF was part of the coalition agreement with Labour.
“It was negotiated in 11 days after the last election — $3 billion over three years.
“You have never seen such an investment in this part of the world. Now everyone's trying to own it. Success has many fathers — failure is an orphan.”
Mr Peters said New Zealand First was committed to undertaking a geotechnical examination of the Wairoa to Gisborne rail line.
Remediation costs to reinstate the line were much higher than the original $3m to $4m cost because of neglect.
Previous reports were not substantial enough.
When a business case is completed, “we will know what to do”, he said.
New Zealand First was responsible for opening the Napier to Wairoa line and another in Northland, he said.
Because of the party and himself as State Owned Enterprises Minister, $4.2 billion had been invested in rail.
“That was more than the previous government had spent in nine years.”
Asked if the era of race meetings being held in Gisborne and Wairoa were “gone forever”, Mr Peters, who is also the Racing Minister, said “racing in the country was gone forever before we (NZ First) came back”.
It was over to racing people in every area to ensure the survival of their course with good business cases.
Mr Peters said Covid-19 alert levels were unjustified on medical and economic grounds. The modelling “plucked theories and analysis” out of thin air”.
“Why should Gisborne be shut down in Level 2 when you haven't had a case in nearly six months?”
Mr Peter said New Zealand First would reach the 5 percent MMP threshold and be returned to Parliament.
Pollsters and the “metropolitan media” had been wrong for 27 years (New Zealand First was formed 27 years ago in 1993).
Polling and media inaccuracy was “a dramatic example of bias and wanton ignorance”.
New Zealand First was starting to increase its public support during the election campaign.
When the party was seen by the public unfiltered and uneditoralised by the media, “we're on our way.”
When asked about polling showing New Zealand First Cabinet minister Shane Jones coming third in Northland, Mr Peters again criticised polling.
He referred to his Northland by-election victory in 2015 when he won what was considered a safe National seat by 4441 votes — 54.5 percent of all votes.
“Don't let the metropolitan media and the commentariat tell you what's going to happen. We make things happen.”