New Zealand was founded on the idea of a fair deal, the concept that peoples from different backgrounds could come together and work out their differences without resorting to warfare and hatred.
The idea of that deal was to allow everyone in this country the opportunity to pursue their dreams.
That deal hasn’t always been honoured, but it is at the very core of what we as a nation are all about, fairness and opportunity.
This land of egalitarianism and opportunities has seen Kiwis achieve some remarkable things in the past century and a half….
A scientist from Nelson became the first person to split the atom
A beekeeper from Auckland conquered the highest mountain in the world
A girl from a tough background in Rotorua became the greatest opera diva of her generation
Writers, artists, sportspeople, thinkers, inventors people from every walk of life in New Zealand have proved time and time again that given the opportunity Kiwis can be the best in the world.
We have led the way in woman’s rights, social welfare, anti-nuclear activism and gay rights……..we have much to be proud of.
The opportunities that allowed us to do that were also based on the notion that each generation would pass on to the next a better country than they were born into.
A country with better education, healthcare and economic openings.
A country that was fairer, more egalitarian more civilised……in short, a country that offered ever greater opportunity.
But something has gone terribly wrong with that idea… the current generation…..the baby boomers ….. may be the first to leave behind a New Zealand of shrinking opportunities, less fairness and more inequality than they were born into.
We are in the process of flicking an intergenerational hospital pass to our children and grandchildren
We’re leaving them loaded with debt for their education, while we ask them to pay for our retirement.
We’re pricing them out of the housing market so we can make tax free capital gains.
We’re importing cheap unskilled labour to cut them out of entering the job market..and turning the country into a low wage, treadmill economy.
And when they don’t conquer the massive hurdles we put in their way we make them jump through hoops for welfare payments while calling them lazy dope heads.
We’re screwing the environment they will have to live in, by tolerating farming practices that degrade our waterways…..paying lip service only to the idea of climate change and the solutions needed to overcome or adapt to it, while pandering to industry sector groups without regard to the sustainability of their businesses.
We are criminalising and locking up ever growing numbers of men and women who don’t even get a chance in this shrinking world of opportunity, and we are standing by as the gap between the haves and the have nots widens.
You don’t need me to tell you how wrong all this is, you hear about it every day when you read our suicide statistics, homeless numbers, real estate ads, and crime stories.
And what is our political establishment doing…..pretty well nothing. Stuck in outdated left versus right political ideology with a tax & targeted welfare regime that is obsolete, they trade insults and argue at the margins as New Zealand, the land of opportunity, slips away.
They fight, not to restore the fairness of our society but to perpetuate their own political power in some vain belief that an ideology is what’s needed to get this country back on track.
Let’s be very clear TOP doesn’t care who leads the next government.
Those who campaign to change from blue to red or right to left are like a bunch of kids screaming “DAD’s burnt the dinner…let’s get the dog to cook”.
What New Zealand desperately needs are ideas to restore opportunities…..policies that aren’t designed to get a party into power but to fix the problems we have, reduce inequality, and take us forward into a world where our children again have more opportunity than we did.
If we don’t, we’ll end up with a select few owning million dollar houses in a ten-cent economy.
We know what those policies are.
Fair tax reform to close the 11 billion dollar property loophole, and deliver income tax cuts to every worker.
A UBI to end witch hunt welfare, underwrite human dignity, and ensure that when any of us are at our most vulnerable, our society is backing us.
Tenancy reform to give renters real rights so they can build secure homes without the mission Impossible of property ownership.
Real action on cleaning up our waterways, and having polluters pay, while encouraging best environmental practice from all industries.
A democracy reset to give us all clear constitutional rights, curb the power of cabinet and recognise the Treaty of Waitangi.
Real commitment to confront and deal with the challenges of climate change and make the country resilient to its inevitable assault.
A justice policy that wages war on prisons not prisoners
Education reform that recognises schools should lie at the centre of communities, and that the role of education is to prepare New Zealanders for a world of ever-increasing automation and diminishing income from mundane work.
And health policies that stop us literally killing ourselves, be it through suicide, or the ever increasing consumption of deadly foodstuffs.
None of these policies are rocket science, they are based on expert, evidence-based analysis of what New Zealand needs and can achieve with the resources we have available right now.
The only thing lacking has been a political establishment with the will to see, and courage to embrace the way forward.
We are all here today as part of the TOP movement to make a change……… not a change of government, but a real change of direction and focus…to make a real change in the lives of all New Zealanders to restore opportunities for future generations.
We’ve come a hell of a long way since November, thousands have put up their hands to join TOP, hundreds have volunteered, and we have awesome candidates standing across the country.
It hasn’t been easy – we’re the new kids on the block, so we don’t get the sort of coverage or funding the old establishment parties have access to.
But we have one huge advantage, we are free of the hatred of old tribal politics, we know what we stand for, and we can work with anyone who is genuinely prepared to implement policies that restore opportunities to New Zealanders.
I want to thank all of you for putting your hands up and having the courage to be part of a real change for good in New Zealand.
For having the courage to leave behind the class warfare and name-calling that has dominated politics for so long.
For having the brains to know that more of the same-old-same-old isn’t going to cut it for future generations
And most of all, believing that good ideas and genuine dialogue will beat self-interest and political game playing any day of the week.
We have already moved the policy debate in this country without a single vote being cast for TOP.
Acceptance of the need for cannabis reform is now widespread, our tenancy reforms have been lauded for their foresight, the UBI is now an accepted part of this country’s welfare debate.
But there is a long way to go.
I know we will be in Parliament after September the 23rd……just how much we can change the direction of this country will be up to voters.
You are the people that will help them make the right decision, to restore the values this country was founded on, and give equal and growing opportunities for everyone no matter what their gender, age, social status or ethnicity.
You can do that by sharing our ideas, reaching out to the good in every Kiwi’s heart, and making sure every New Zealander makes the decision to
CARE, THINK, VOTE and TICK TOP