Public Holidays

Next Monday, here in New Zealand, we celebrate the official birthday of Queen Elizabeth II with a national holiday. This happens on the first Monday of June every year.

And, New Zealand remembers the sacrifice of their armed forces with a national holiday on ANZAC Day (25th April, or following Monday if it falls on a weekend). This is principally centred on the fighting alongside the UK in both world wars.

And, New Zealand recently voted to keep the current national flag, with the Union Jack in the top left quadrant.

There really is a very strong affinity for the UK here.

Brexit New Zealand

We finally have some coverage here in New Zealand of the forthcoming EU referendum in the UK, courtesy of a Brexit special supplement in the Sunday Star Times newspaper. It contains many predictable comments from reliable sources. The CEO of the NZ German Business Association saying New Zealand businesses might have to make more use of other countries (ie Germany) as their entry route into the EU. The British High Commissioner says “the choice is between economic security and global influence on one hand, and ‘a leap in the dark’ on the other”.

However, there were some other, tantalising glimpses. The only fact in the entire piece was that 90% of New Zealand exports went to the UK in 1930. Today that figure is 2½%, and presumably a [sizeable?] chunk of that is actually destined for re-export to the EU. NZ First leader, Winston Peters, sees Brexit as a chance to “heal a rift going back to 1973”, especially as far as visas go since the UK joined the “Single Market”.

Shane Firth, Kiwi expat in the UK and part of the Vote Leave campaign says “We have a shared culture and language but we are in the foreigners’ queue”. New Zealand certainly feels like one country where a vote to leave the EU would allow a much closer relationship with the UK at every level. 

Coming to New Zealand, I have been struck by how young and energetic this country is. By “young”, I literally mean the age of the population, compared to the UK. “Remain” offers a chance to continue down the integrationist path with “old” Europe. “Leave” offers us a chance to forge a relationship with “old” Europe based on a free trade version of what we have now, plus the chance to engage with vibrant economies around the world. 


In the UK we are familiar with the phenomenon whereby the economy creates more jobs, and this number is matched almost exactly by the increase in the number of working immigrants. Unemployment remains stubbornly high. Not unreasonably, those campaigning for “Leave” in the UK’s EU membership referendum on June 23rd suggest that this is substantially down to our inability to restrict the flow of low skilled labour into the UK whilst we are members of the EU.

Here is evidence that it may take some difficult decisions to achieve that –

This article reports that “New Zealand created 120,000 new jobs in the past two years, but the number of unemployed and underemployed rose. Essentially New Zealand imported a net 123,900 people to do those jobs.”

New Zealand has complete control over its immigration policy and has a points based policy that is all but identical to the Australian system that UKIP propose to introduce in the UK, once we have left the EU.

It seems that here, as in the UK, business hates the idea of restrictions on the supply of labour that might push up wages, especially for the low skilled. And they are very effective in lobbying. So, driving down UK low skilled unemployment, after Brexit, is going to take a points based immigration policy implementation that draws howls of protest from “industry”. The fight really only starts with Brexit!

May 5th Elections

Tomorrow, 5th May 2016, is the day that you [finally] have the chance to keep your resolution to never, ever vote Conservative again.

In St Paul’s ward Clacton you will have the chance to elect my successor. I hope you will vote for Jack Parsons [UKIP]. In the Essex Police & Crime Commissioner election I hope you will vote for Bob Spink [UKIP]. And, in the Essex County Council Elections I hope you will vote for whoever is the UKIP candidate in your area.

Electorates worldwide are showing that they are tired of the old politics, where you got the same thing whichever of the old parties you voted for.

David Cameron and George Osborn promised not to raise taxes and, once in power, put VAT up from 17½% to 20%, supported by the Lib Dems and Labour.

David Cameron and George Osborne have been steadfast in their support for uncontrolled immigration of low skilled labour. The [slavishly] Europhile Lib Dems are in favour of everything Euro and even Labour [mysteriously] support this policy. I say mysteriously as Jeremy Corbyn has been a Eurosceptic all his political life; but, with the big prize in sight, has let down the traditional Labour voters by supporting a policy that seriously damages their earning potential.

Your vote matters tomorrow, and will matter more than ever on June 23rd. Please . . . make your views known. You are part of a tidal wave around the world, that is washing away the old politicians.