Riots could happen here - Peters

Conditions that led to rioting in London and other English cities exist in New Zealand and the day of reckoning is at hand, New Zealand First leader Winston Peters says.

In speech notes, to be delivered to a public meeting in Mount Maunganui this morning, Mr Peters said other stable nations may follow Britain into public violence.

"There always was going to be a day of reckoning and now it is upon us," he said.

Mr Peters said while the riots in Britain had stunned the world the causes were clear.

"We are witnessing the result of the failure of both irresponsible capitalism and welfarism without integrity," he said.

"Of Britain's poorest neighbourhoods, many like Tottenham are right down there, with serious unemployment and social dislocation.

"Just kilometres away from a leading international capital they have rioted at a time when the global economy is in freefall.

"The UK is an economy of massive inequality in income distribution, a business sector exhibiting appalling greed and legalised theft, weak finance and banking structures and a serious import over exports imbalance."

Income and opportunity inequality was out of control, he said.

"The wealth of Britain's richest 1000 people rose by 30 per cent last year alone, in the throes of a credit crunch. Britain has a lost generation about which it has done far too little.

"It's Britain now and other hitherto stable nations will very likely follow."

Several of those underlying problems were faced by New Zealand.

"Last year those on our rich list enjoyed wealth growth of 20 per cent. The gap between our rich and poor has been growing over the last 25 years. And the present government rather than addressing the symptoms is just adding to them."

Youth unemployment and teenage pregnancy rates were high and there were increasing drug and alcohol problems.

He accused the government of a lack of leadership and excessive borrowing that would harm the economy and disagreed with its line that New Zealand was well placed to face global financial problems.

Mr Peters said promoting New Zealand jobs to foreigners did not make sense and he opposed Rugby World Cup linked promotions aimed at immigrants.

"It makes no sense to bring in huge migrant numbers while thousands of New Zealanders remain unemployed."

His party wanted to see more youth training programmes for youth akin to rehabilitation programme schemes started after World War 2.

Employers should be helped to hire/train youth, he said.

- NZPA

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