Peters: Responsibility rests with the voters
Northland MP Winston Peters addressed and entertained a full house at the Mangawhai Golf Club last week as invited guest of the Mangawhai Business Development Association.
Certainly moderation is a commodity that seems to be very much rationed in the political arsenal of Winston Peters. His rhetoric is generally uncompromising with almost every utterance delivered in the form of a challenge, a stark declaration or a defensive parry.
Exchanges on topics such as democracy, rights, immigration or the economy are keen encounters and appear almost instinctive in the way we have come to know him. Convenient accommodation is, generally speaking, not part of the Winston Peters repertoire.
He was an easy winner in the Northland by-election but then began the slow and laborious task of righting the good ship Kaipara. Not an easy one in today’s political climate.
To an attentive audience Peters recounted his exposure of the money-laundering debacle that became the Winebox affair in 1994, criticised the government on its immigration policy when we have more immigrants already than anywhere in the world on a per-capita basis, and pointed out why Britain should leave the EU. The selling and re-purchasing and subsequent degradation of Kiwi Rail and its future place in Northland was met with agreed head-nodding and murmers of agreement.
Closer to home Peters chastised Kaipara people for voting in Mike Sabin for a second term despite passing his retrospective Rates Validation Bill when they weren’t really in favour of it.
In highlighting the abysmal performance of the Auditors in regard to the KDC and the inadequacy of the compensation by them for their lack of performance he said the Government should clear the Kaipara debt which is trifling compared to the South Canterbury finance bail-out which ran over $1 billion. This statement earned a round of applause.
He was further critical of the recent statement by the Associate Local Government Minister Louise Upston that she will also appoint a Crown Manager and a Crown Observer to support the newly-elected council as it settles in. Though they will not be involved in any decision-making Peters still considered that this will in fact undermine the effect of the new Council.
“These were examples of the lack of democracy which Mangawhai and the Kaipara must guard against,” he said.
While an attendee endorsed Peters as the man to lead Kaipara to better things, a question from the floor said “we have no control over council once they are elected.” Mr Peters responded putting this squarely on the shoulders of the Mangawha and Kaipara people.
Polititions have a high degree of responsibility and obligation to their constituents but so also do those who nominate and vote them in.
“Which business or person here is prepared to defend the sort of behaviour we have had from past Councils?” he asked, and then emphasised the need to be involved. “There is no point fighting back once a path is set. You need to be more closely involved from the beginning,” citing the example that if there is only a 30-40 percent voter turnout Kaipara is likely to get what it’s already had.
He concluded saying: “ The people need to speak, to lobby, canvass, nominate and elect persons who they feel they can trust to work in their best interests, then to get as high a percentage of voters as possible to the polls and vote in the people in whom you can be confident. The accountability of council rests with the voters.”
“There is no point fighting back once a path is set. You need to be more closely involved from the beginning.”
- Winston Peters, MP
HOT TOPICS: Northland MP Winston Peters lays out his view of issues relating to Mangawhai and the Kaipara.