NEW ZEALAND NATIONAL PARTY 62ND ANNUAL CONFERENCEPrime Minister
What a year 1998 has been for all of us. This country has been facing challenges this year, some of which we wanted, and some of which we couldn't avoid. Our country has faced the challenge of probably one of the worst droughts we have seen in 50 years, unexpectedly perhaps Asia turned against the flow and has lowered the expectations of many of us.
We have faced challenges as a National Party. We have completed our rule changes which were important. As a Party, used to governing under FPP, we have also had to deal with some things that have required a huge transition. And not only have we managed that transition but we have now demonstrated that we are very successful under MMP.
There have been changes in politics as well. I think it is genuinely true to say that many New Zealanders wanted to see the diversity that MMP politics in New Zealand could offer. They like the change in style in the Parliament, at least to some extent.
They certainly like the gender and cultural difference and it is making a difference to the quality of New Zealand politics.
But they are also perplexed by the fact that it is not as decisive as it used to be. It's not as easy as it used to be. It is not as understandable as it used to be and that's actually unnerving some people.
And there have of course been challenges for me personally. Taking on the role of Prime Minister is not only a huge privilege but also an opportunity. With it come all the expectations that I have of myself and others have of me.
There has also been the rather disturbing realisation that editorial writers are more pleased to fill their copy with what I wear and how my hair is cut and what glasses I have chosen, than the issues of the day that are so important to our nation.
I hope they get tired of the novelty and get on with the issues that are important.
I accept that perception is part of New Zealand politics today and I can live with that. But let us not lose sight of the issues that really make a difference for New Zealanders. I hope we can move past this novelty factor and on to the real issues that affect the real lives of real New Zealanders.
This morning I want to tell you why I am not only confident but also very determined that New Zealand can and will have a very positive future and that the New Zealand National Party will be right there, crafting it, guiding it, making it happen.
Earlier this week, out of my discussions with the Enterprise Council that I chair, two things became clear from our discussion.
The first is that they want us to continue as a Party, to have a strong strategic vision of New Zealand's future and the characteristics we need to achieve that.
It was best captured by one of Auckland's leading secondary school principals, who brought along with her a survey that she had had done in her area. She had asked all the businesses in the region, the light and heavy industries, and the professionals in her part of Auckland city, what it was that she should be doing to actually light a fire in the young generation for whom she was responsible.
And the survey result is revealing, and I think it is important for the National Party. It found that they must have attitude.
They must be pro work. They must have a belief in excellence. They must strive to achieve their best. They must have all the self-confidence in the world. They must know that the world does not owe them a living. They must be prepared to do an honest day's work. They must be self-reliant. They must have strong literacy, numeracy and computer skills. They must know how to learn, to think critically and to solve problems. They must be flexible and have an adaptable outlook. And they must have a commitment to long-term, lifelong learning. They must have a willingness and an ability to upskill regularly, and they also wanted them to have social skills.
They wanted them to have the ability to communicate effectively, the ability to get on with people and the ability to work as a member of the team.
Then, and only then, did the employers say, they must have an appropriate qualification.
What that tells us is that if we are to do well as a nation, we need inspired New Zealanders who have all of these skills, who are whole people who can actually cope.
Yes, they must be educated, but we need to do more than that. And I want to say to you this morning that it is the National Party's attitude and values that is more likely to light the fire in that list than any other political party in the New Zealand political spectrum.
And yet, when I thought about this list, and I worried about it, if I were honest with myself I might say that these are the characteristics of the worker of yesteryear. We have to think about how we capture the essence of that list and make it the characteristics of the New Zealanders of tomorrow.
It is the National Party's challenge to turn that into reality.
Most of what I am going to say this morning are medium term goals. While I know that the media and others often want us to flick a switch and make a difference today, in fact many of the things that we still need to do well in New Zealand are medium term goals and we should not shy away from them.
As Simon Upton so eloquently said last evening, the New Zealand family is the most stable institution in our country. Well some of you might say, "well that's old hat" but it is not. For if we continue to allow the dilution of the New Zealand family we will not be able to be as good as we can be.
We must be prepared as a Government to not only state our support for the family in all its diverse forms in New Zealand but also say that it doesn't just happen as a matter of chance.
We have to have expectations of families. Reasonably, they must be expected to love and nurture their children. Reasonably, they must be expected to keep their children safe.
Reasonably, they must ensure that their children have every chance to learn and to understand what opportunities are there for them.
Thankfully, most New Zealand families do this well. We need to champion those families and say to them how important they are, not only to New Zealand today, but also to the well-being of our country's future.
But the modern National Party must also be realistic about those families who are failing. For whether we like it or not, in some families, there is serious dysfunction. It does exist. We have to be determined to not only know that it is there, but to do something about it.
The National Party takes a different attitude to some. There is a misery industry in this country. Some make a lot of money keeping people trapped in the status quo. That is not where we should put our effort. We should see that the resources, that others taxpayers commit to this problem, are used to give people ladders to a better future. We need to create opportunities, support them, and arm them with skills so they can improve their lives.
The second thing we must do for New Zealanders is continue to argue that we will reward them for their effort. They are entitled to know they will have better incomes in the future and a better lifestyle.
The modern National Party shouldn't just talk this talk. We have got to deliver. We have got to walk the walk.
Bill Birch last evening made it very clear that if you look around the world at those countries who are delivering real increases in incomes for their people, they are not just spouting easy political platitudes. They are doing the work. They know that higher taxes do not mean higher growth. In fact it means lower growth. They know that lower taxes deliver higher growth, higher incomes and new opportunities.
The politics around this issue are demanding but National should not shy away from the issues that underlie this if we seriously want to unlock opportunities for everyone.
There are other debates we need to engage in, such as tariffs. Tariffs are becoming a huge bogey in the minds of many New Zealanders. All they can see is a loss of jobs for some people and whilst that is true we need to look at the facts. The facts are that the reduction in tariffs in New Zealand over the last ten years has dramatically increased the choice of goods and services available in New Zealand today. What is more though, it has put in reach, for middle and low income families, many things that up until now they couldn't afford.
For many people, ten years ago, the hope of owning a second-hand car, let alone a new car, was a faint hope. With tariffs coming off and competition in the second-hand car market, we have been able to deliver real choice and purchasing power for New Zealanders.
This is also true in clothing. Twenty years ago in New Zealand, many families on low incomes did not have the opportunity to buy new clothes for all their children.
In New Zealand today, because we have reduced protection and opened up our country to competition, real New Zealand families, with real disposable incomes, are able to make real choices with new goods for themselves. This is a good thing.
The third thing is that investment does shift when you remove tariffs. Yes, it does alter the way in which the employment system is in New Zealand today but where-ever tariffs have been reduced in a steady fashion, investment has moved to other parts of the economy, which brings me to the final point.
People who are anti tariff reduction always focus on the loss of jobs but as we have opened up the New Zealand economy to all types of competition, 200,000 more New Zealanders have found work since the mid 80s. For those who argue that tariff reduction is a bad thing, I simply ask you to look at the facts.
The National Party should not allow the difficult aspects of micro-economic reform and the benefits it can deliver to dissuade us from doing what is right for our country.
Yes, we should do it in an orderly fashion. Yes, we should do it carefully and thoughtfully.
Yes, we must help towns that are affected by big industry closures as we have done in the Thames and in other areas.
But, yes we must still move forward if we genuinely want to see New Zealanders have a higher income in the future and improve their standard of living.
Micro-economic reform is not an economic theory plucked from a textbook or only advocated by some on the extreme of the political spectrum. Knowing how we can grasp our comparative advantages as a country and make them real is the duty of this political party and the duty of the Government.
Let me just give you one more example. I know quite a few of you got the stitch on the issue of energy reform and I know it did ruffle the feathers of some regions. And one of two have said to me, "Jenny Shipley we have got some of the lowest energy costs in the world", and in some respect that is true. But we don't have the lowest wages and nor should we hope to have. We can't match the wages of China, and we shouldn't aspire to.
So, if we have a natural resource and have the wit to organise that industry effectively, so that competition drives down a major input to industry like energy, why would not a smart nation like our own do that, so those who sell in the world have the best input costs to produce those goods and services that allow us to earn the wealth and make our way in the world.
I ask that you support Ministers as they put the arguments to you. Argue with them if you think they have got it wrong or if they have got the detail wrong. But don't forget that the goals are to see that we can create wealth in New Zealand so we have got something to share. We must remember there are no magic bullets available, as those who would continue to espouse the virtues of a closed economy would have you believe.
National never has kept to that in recent times and I hope they will not revert to those issues in the future. The real opportunities lie in an open and competitive economy and the National Party's principles and values encourage and must drive us to not only understand those but to go out firmly into the New Zealand community and argue the benefits that will come from them.
The third thing that we must do if we are to serve our young New Zealanders of tomorrow well, is to see that we are an outward looking nation. Young New Zealanders already know this. They surf the Net as a matter of course and they are international citizens already. The biggest challenge for many of us, and I include myself in this, is to realise that the younger generation of New Zealanders are even more international in their outlook than we have ever been.
And in order to serve their interests well, the modern National Party must be up to speed and up to pace in our trade, in our foreign affairs and in our defence policies.
Don McKinnon this morning has talked to you about APEC. APEC is the 20 countries other than ourselves that represent huge populations in our region.
Our young New Zealanders expect us to argue our case in the APEC forum and we have got ministers like Dr Lockwood Smith and Don McKinnon who are out there every week seeing that as the opportunities emerge we not only grasp them but we keep pushing them so other economies and people will also have the benefit of them.
In the area of foreign affairs and defence, there are also important issues for young New Zealanders. It is important I address this briefly in passing on the day that we will again welcome a Secretary of State from the United States, the first time since 1984.
From New Zealand's point of view, we are responsible international citizens, but we reserve the right to do it our way. The National Party and the Coalition are committed to seeing that we do continue to do our share. We have got a determination to increase our capability in terms of our defence forces and we are investing over $600 million over the next 5 years to see that we can contribute properly with our capability. It will make a difference to both regional and international security.
But we also want to make it clear to the world that we have some special values that are held dearly by many New Zealanders.
We were first in the front line when we wanted to argue the non-proliferation of nuclear, chemical and biological warfare.
We also were in the front line when the end of nuclear testing became an issue internationally, and it is my judgement that New Zealanders want us to continue to take that stand firmly.
We also feel very strongly about the issue of disarmament. We must, as a world, achieve disarmament over time if we are to secure the future of the next generation of young New Zealanders.
But that is not to say that we do not understand the responsibility of burden sharing. New Zealand and the United States, while we have some differences, also share much in common. New Zealand is a good international citizen. We have always done our share. Even today, as we speak, there are many New Zealanders seeking to keep the peace, to fight for peace in many of the trouble spots of the world.
And when necessary, we do turn up where armed conflict is not only a risk but a possibility. It is my judgement that New Zealanders want us to continue to do that.
The New Zealand National Party must continue to be clear sighted about those international goals in trade, defence and foreign affairs, not only for this generation, but also for the security of future generations of New Zealanders.
I believe we have a position as a small nation that is not only credible but is also defensible.
The fourth area we must ignite some passion in, is the area of education. Wyatt Creech has talked to many of you on numerous occasions about this issue and it is one that we must continue to champion as a Party.
We have done an enormous amount in this area in recent years and we have really made a difference but there are other issues of attitude in education that need to be addressed.
The modern National Party must go out there very firmly and champion the issue of skills and information and attitude, because if we are to be a prosperous nation, capable of earning higher incomes for ourselves in the world, we have got to understand that we are proud of the knowledge revolution and ensure that all New Zealanders, both the existing workforce and the future workforce, are well equipped to manage that.
So we must champion education with the parents of the children of New Zealand and say to them that they are the first teacher of those children, and they carry a special responsibility to nurture that child's desire to learn.
We must also see that students grasp every chance that is there and while it sometimes feels easy in New Zealand to get an education, we must say to young New Zealanders, this is a right for you but you have a responsibility to make the best of that right we are offering you, and do it for yourself as well do it for our future.
Again, Wyatt Creech talked yesterday about the need to give the freedom to boards of trustees and teachers who want to be part of the future to exercise those choices themselves.
This Party has championed the issue of fully funding the schools so they can take the options as to what is good for them and I want you all to go out and champion that full funding option, so that the freedom is delivered into the hands of boards of trustees so they can make the decisions about the skills mix of teachers that should be in those schools so children really do see the sort of modern education that the modern National Party would wish for them.
New Zealanders also want us to be confident that we can actually pick up those who are not currently included. It is easy for a Party like this to get caught on the skills and education and success wave and think that is our constituency, and it is, but it will not be a successful constituency or a successful future for our country if we do not also acknowledge those who are currently not included.
They are people who are caught through either bad or negative family experience, bad or negative educational experience, disappointments in their employment experience and often just dysfunction and tragedy in their lives.
We often use words like disparity, disadvantage, poverty and dysfunction in relation to these people.
We have got many researchers who are happy to spend a lot of time describing the problem. However we have got very few researchers and only one or two political parties who are actually arguing solutions.
The New Zealand National Party must regain its confidence in this area. At the moment the best solution we offer these people is a comprehensive welfare state and while that deals with their immediate needs it does not deal with either their or our future needs.
We as a political party must understand that rather than leaving people in queues and categories of welfare, we have got to deal with each of them individually and look at how they can contribute.
For some it might be working 15 hours a week. For you and I it might be 40 hours a week, for others it might be 5 hours a week, but at least in work there is dignity.
And we as a Party need to work with these people, see they have the skills and support to fulfil their potential, but also they have the opportunity to participate and be included.
We need to be courageous about creating that work expectation and we also need to be prepared to argue the issue of targeting. While it has become quite fashionable in the last decade to say, "well we are all New Zealanders, we should all have a chance of the same services, and the same provision" I say to you that is both blind and stupid. It was not what the welfare state foresaw and nor will it allow us to ever resolve the disparity that worries so many New Zealanders.
That is not to say, that particular groups should be given it of right but we need to be smart enough as a nation to know where we should be investing in people so we make a genuine difference.
I say to Helen Clark and Steve Maharey who simply want to argue that these people need to be able to make a choice that in my experience working with disadvantaged people is that they feel they don't have a choice. They want people to walk beside them and support them, as they find new opportunities to improve their lives.
The modern National Party must continue to champion independence of New Zealanders, not foster dependence. It is a huge comparative advantage for our country if we can make that transition. Mark my words, it is hard politically but the alternative is much worse. To do nothing, simply indicates that we either have no ideas and we are prepared to allow this problem to grow, and it is growing.
A brave and courageous National Party will turn that around and will be determined to make a difference. I say again to the opposition parties who want to try and create the impression amongst the churches, amongst the social service agencies, amongst Maori and other Pacific Island and ethnic communities, they want to create the impression that this is unfair, I say to them why is the Blair Government in Britain actually championing exactly the issues that the New Zealand National Party would want to advance and why is the Democratic Party led by Bill Clinton in the US also understanding that to have a strong nation you have got to be pro independence rather than foster dependency.
Our ground is the independence ground and we must make it our own.
There are two or three other things I want to touch on. The issue of personal security and again it is an issue of attitude. I worry when I hear people say that we have to accept dishonesty. The New Zealand National Party has got to stand up and say we won't tolerate dishonesty because if we do not we simply accept the erosion that has been going on in New Zealand for too long. You and I as New Zealanders must claim back the right to expect of every New Zealand citizen that they not only enjoy the freedom that is their right of living in a country like our own but that they will respect the boundaries that define that issue of honesty, the protection of property rights and the respect for other individuals.
Somehow or other this issue is getting lost in political correctness and yet it is the New Zealand National Party that has historically been prepared to go out and argue for example for increased rape sentences when the Labour opposition in the 90s voted against it for reasons that I today cannot even understand, and yet clearly the courts today in New Zealand are delivering those stronger sentences that we made available.
We still are leading the way in this area. Doug Graham and his work on tougher legislation on gangs is another example. This week we saw that the courts of New Zealand have put the political arguments aside and backed the Parliament that passed these laws saying that people who have got any intent other than the interests of law-abiding citizens must understand that we will not only pass laws but the courts and the law enforcement agencies will uphold that law and hold these people to account. We must continue to make this ground our own.
But there are other issues on the broader front. What a pleasure it was on Friday to be able to launch the Blue Green Taskforce in the New Zealand National Party. Modern politics has to be able to demonstrate that any party that is in government, not only understands its duty to deliver opportunity economically and socially, but to do it in a sustainable way that will fulfil the expectations of this and future generations of New Zealanders.
The Blue Greens within our Party are being led by Nick Smith, Simon Upton and Rod Fenwick. We can show New Zealanders that capitalism on the one hand can deliver wealth but also with astute, careful Blue Green policy we can deliver environmental sustainability to a nation that loves its outdoors, loves its mountains, loves its water and loves its freedom
We must make that our own as well.
In looking to the future we must be confident and comfortable with our cultural diversity. I know that Doug Graham and Georgina te Heuheu have already spoken to you this morning but I just want to make two or three points in this area.
You and I as New Zealanders and as part of the modern National Party have set some very clear goals.
We have said as part of our commitment to the Treaty that we must deal with the issues of history and put them right so New Zealand can move on with those matters behind us.
We have set the goal of achieving those major settlements by the year 2000. We must call on Maori to mandate their people so that this is achievable. We need New Zealanders to feel that they have a chance to be on an equal footing and to participate.
If this country is to do that with confidence we must remember that this is a multi-ethnic country within which our Maori people have a special place. Our multi-ethnic nature means that as we look forward we must all work together, one country with one government, working for all our people. We will only do that if we can make progress on the issues captured in the Treaty.
I say to Maori and to other New Zealanders the Treaty has two partners, not one. In saying that, both partners need to understand what is required of them. From my point of view the National Party must continue to understand the Articles of the Treaty that make clear there will only be one government in New Zealand acting for all New Zealanders, that we will address the issue of access by Maori to their natural resources which was promised in the Treaty and where they have been denied those historic grievances will be put right, so that progress can be made.
And on the issue of participation and citizenship, things like the disparity argument, I argued earlier must also be in our sights. I believe that the New Zealand National Party should continue to argue that those issues will be addressed through mainstream strategies of inclusion rather than strategies of separation.
We must be prepared to champion the issue of inclusion and mainstreaming, for we do not live in a tribal nation, so to speak, other than in a respectful acknowledgment of existing historic tribes. We cannot allow tribalism to divide us but rather it should enhance our future.
This is a huge challenge and in my opinion the modern National Party has shown more foresight, more wit, more ability, more determination and more understanding on this issue than any other political party.
We must not lose our courage. We must support Maori and we must support our leaders within the Party who are making a difference in this area. Again I say clearly as the leader of National and also as Prime Minister, this nation's future rests on our seeing ourselves as one people, with a future together, rather than focussing on the differences that may linger and divide us.
Our country does have those challenges in front of it and National does have a clear set of opportunities based on our principles and values that can deliver the sort of nation that the vast majority of New Zealanders want.
Simon again said last night we are a national party, we take a New Zealand-wide vision and while we need to acknowledge the diversity of urban and rural New Zealand, Maori and other New Zealanders, women and men, young and old, overall those issues must sit within the whole where we are arguing for progress together, recognising our diversity and difference, cherishing and developing it with the single goal of it becoming part of that whole successful New Zealand.
I know we have not only the challenges in front of us but the confidence to talk up our National Party standards and values and we must continue to do that.
But there are two other things that I think are important at the moment and I just want to leave these with you.
Small government is one of the principles in our Party.
The size of Parliament, the size of the Cabinet, the size of the bureaucracy are all things that you and I need to have a clear view on. I believe that we do have a historical view of being wedded to smaller government and larger private sector participation.
I hope that the New Zealand National Party, as we did yesterday, giving a clear steer on the ownership of State Owned Enterprises, that you will continue to argue that where we can contract out services, buy them on behalf of the taxpayer, but not necessarily deliver them by the taxpayer institutions, that you will insist that we do that.
This is not some wild eyed privatisation bid. We have already got Presbyterian Social Services, Catholic Social Services and others being large providers of long stay care, meeting the needs of our elderly. And no one would argue that that is not a good thing.
We have got Maori delivering all sorts of new health services. We have got Pacific Island communities delivering care in a way that suits their people.
That is smart government, using smart taxpayers' money, wanting to buy smart responsive services in a modern way.
While the dinosaurs in New Zealand politics will argue that somehow or other this is a new right ideology, I want to say to you that it is in the principles of this Party that where the private sector can do it better, we will allow them to do that. And we need to draw new breath on this issue and find new energy and get on and deliver what we said we meant and make it real for New Zealanders.
I believe the services will improve as we know that they have done in the area of long stay care, but I also think that the taxpayer will get a better return for their dollars, and this Party should also be interested in that.
The argument of electoral reform which is on your plate this afternoon is the other issue that I want this Party to grasp and make its own. New Zealanders do clearly want to debate this issue again with respect to the size of the New Zealand Parliament, 120 or 100 MPs and the question of voting systems, MMP, SM or FPP.
I believe some change will be required in the future. I want this Party to go into the next general election with a clear message for New Zealanders as to what we will do in the area of electoral management and if necessary electoral reform.
We should grasp the best of what we have currently got but make improvements if we think we can do that.
I look forward to your debate this afternoon. I personally support change and I want to work with the Party to see that that change is both designed and managed in an effective way.
And so to the challenge of politics. Yesterday I talked a lot about my belief that New Zealanders can get on with their lives knowing that the political process can serve their interests.
Yes, we will have some flashpoints. Actually we always do. We even did under First Past the Post. The only question is whether they break out into the public arena or not and whether you and the media know about them or whether they are kept in house.
Thankfully the National Party has had a history of keeping its dirty washing inside not flapping it about for all to see and I hope that we will continue to exercise that discipline.
But I also want to say that the New Zealand National Party is capable of getting on and doing what modern politics requires of us. Yes, even though I know the media has got the stitch with this message, I am confident that there is political stability in New Zealand, albeit that it will be a different type of politics than we have been used to before. The timing of how we get things done may be different. The style may be different. The way in which we have to manage the issues, most certainly is going to be different, as it has been in the last few months.
Our experience in the Parliament may be different. U turns may well become the norm as we negotiate and seek accommodations and considerations.
I think you and I should set ourselves the challenge of saying to New Zealanders, "judge us by results". I know there are many people who are saying the coalition is a dead duck. Well it isn't. This country has continued to deliver strong results with the coalition through the first half of this year. And as long as I believe, as leader of the coalition, that that is possible, we should continue to back the coalition.
As I said yesterday, there are ten people in addition to those within the coalition who do support the direction of this Government. As long as we can make progress for our country in a way in which I have already described earlier today, then I think we should commit ourselves to making the current modern political process work for us and in the interests of our country.
I say to Helen Clark, get into the policy race, don't simply continue bad mouthing individuals.
We want to know what you stand for and we want to know whether you have actually started talking about whether you have got relationships with people of like mind that could possibly deliver credible government for New Zealand in the future.
My information is that they can't even agree within their caucus, let alone across any other political party. And I say to Helen Clark, let the race begin. I relish the opportunity to argue our case on any platform throughout New Zealand.
I intend to take every one of those opportunities, as I have in the last six months, and I know that the ministers and the other Members of Parliament will be there too arguing our case. I say to Clark, match up, I don't believe you can.
With respect to the Alliance I say to Jim Anderton, stop being so sanctimonious and virtuous and tell New Zealand whether in fact you do have a genuine alliance to bring to New Zealand politics or an alliance of convenience.
I believe there is significant evidence that the Alliance is simply a cobbled together group of disparate group of individuals who are manipulating the electoral system in order to get their voice into Parliament.
I challenge Jim Anderton to say that is not true, because I do not believe that New Zealanders would wish to be hoodwinked by an individual who is so keen to be the Treasurer. I wonder who will win that argument between him and Michael Cullen. I wonder whether he can say to New Zealanders that there is anything that that group of aligned parties have in common and that they can honestly make a difference for New Zealanders.
Those of us who sit in Parliament see every day the almost unwillingness of this group of people to talk each other, let alone work with each other.
And I say again, an alliance of convenience of the sort the Alliance has, which has no uniform common themes, should not be allowed to manipulate the 5 percent rule, or ride in on the back of an electorate member who actually wins his seat and then carries others into Parliament.
They are in my opinion manipulating the electoral system and I want Jim Anderton to prove that he is not, in order to claim his place in the Parliament beyond the next general election.
And so to the final issues that we must think about this year and next year. New Zealanders want us to do well. They want us to do well for ourselves and for them. They want us to do what is right, not what is easy. And that has been National's tradition. While we hope to do what is popular, we choose to do what is right if we believe that that is what is required at the time.
We also need to do what is important for our country, whether it is international affairs, in economic issues or in social issues. And of course we must do what is necessary, as long as we can deliver good government.
I have felt very encouraged over recent months to have the strong support of the New Zealand National Party. There is nothing more that a leader can ask for. As you have organised functions in your electorates, signed up new Party members, you have demonstrated your commitment to the ideas that make the National Party so successful.
I want to give you my commitment that I will work with the National Party, every waking hour that I have got, over the coming months until this next general election. Then I intend to be there beyond that, seeing that we continue to lead.
I bring with that the support of Burton and also Anna and Ben, all of whom share similar aspirations for this country and the strong belief that we can in fact be a small, smart nation, better than most, cheekier than many and very, very successful.
As the light strikes this country in the year 2000, you and I will be the first to see the future. What a magnificent opportunity that is for a country like our own, tucked here at the bottom of the world, looking out in every direction for every opportunity and chance. You and I as National Party members need to inspire New Zealanders to understand what it means to be first, what it means to be excellent, what it means to know opportunity when you see it and have the courage to grasp and take it.
I believe we not only have the people, we have the policies, we have the best vision to give New Zealanders that sort of future, and we will do it. Let's make it happen for New Zealand. I know we can be there.