08 November 2008
National Party Election Night Headquarters
I can't tell you how good it is to be here.
Ladies and gentlemen – today New Zealand has spoken. In their hundreds of thousands across the country they have voted for change.
And I can tell you there will be a new National-led Government in New Zealand.
So let me start by thanking every New Zealander who has cast their vote for National today. Thank you for your support and thank you for your trust.
Because some of you have stuck with National through nine long years. And tonight your patience has been rewarded. For others, you have heard National's message that New Zealand can do better, and have come to share our beliefs.
So, to all of you, I simply say thank you.
Today across the country, New Zealanders have voted for a safer, more prosperous and more ambitious New Zealand. They voted for hope, they voted for action, and they voted for results. They voted for a better life for all New Zealanders.
In my first speech after becoming leader of the National Party, I talked about when I was a boy living in a state house, riding my bike past the homes of kids more fortunate than me.
What inspired me then, and still inspires me today, is a belief within ourselves that we have the ability to make our lives better.
And as it is for individuals so it is for our country – because New Zealand has so much more potential.
This is not as good as gets.
So yes, we face challenges. But we will rise to them, because as a country we have tremendous advantages.
Our capacity to produce food for the world, our landscapes, and scenery, and maybe most of all the incredible Kiwi ingenuity.
So we must make the most of our advantages. Because the state of the global economy and the global financial crisis means the road ahead may well be a rocky one.
Now, more than ever, New Zealand needs to be on top of its game.
What will determine success is the unity of purpose – a willingness to work together while recognising that our collective success rests on the success of individuals, and a willingness to use our smallness to our advantage, to be nimble, sure-footed and flexible.
We all bring our different perspectives, and we all have our political debates. And that is as it should be.
But now is a time for working together. Because we need everybody pulling in the same direction. If we do that, if we work hard, if we remain determined, we will make New Zealand as prosperous as we all know it can be.
So let me say this: whether you voted for National or not tonight, tonight you have my pledge.
I will lead a government that serves the interests of all New Zealanders. And it will be a government that values individual achievement and it will be a government that supports those who cannot support themselves. And it will be a government we can all be part of.
Tonight I want to thank Helen Clark.
A little earlier this evening I spoke to her and she was most gracious with her comments.
So it's fair to say that Helen and I have different views about what policies are best for New Zealand. But we share a love of this country. And I have always admired her dedication to her job, her ferocious work ethic, and her desire to make New Zealand a better country.
As Prime Minister of New Zealand she has always ensured our small voice was loudly heard on the international stage. So on behalf of you all, I say thank you.
Ladies and gentleman, earlier this evening I spoke to ACT Leader Rodney Hide and United Future Leader Peter Dunne. I rang to offer my congratulations.
And while the details of any formal agreement between National, ACT and United Future are yet to be resolved I can confirm their willingness to lend support to establishing a new government in New Zealand.
I also spoke to Maori Party Leader Tariana Turia, and I expressed my willingness to engage in dialogue with her and her party next week.
So to you, the National Party officials, the members, and the volunteers who have worked so tirelessly in every single electorate around the country, I say thank you very much. We owe it to you.
But there are some very special people I want to thank.
And the first of them is our president, Judy Kirk. And the second of them is a guy who is a long way south tonight – Bill English. He's in Gore and I know they know how to have a good time down there, don't worry about that. And I want to thank the man who ran the campaign, who rang me every morning at 6 o'clock, who was up at 4.30 in morning, who read every newspaper from cover to cover – Steven Joyce. You ran a great campaign, mate.
And I want to say to my caucus – it's just got a lot bigger. You've worked so hard for the last three years. It's my privilege to be your leader. Thank you very much for the support.
And to all National candidates, some of whom made the courageous and selfless decision to put their own careers on the line in order to do something they truly believed in, even when they were up against the odds – thank you very much.
And haven't we had some great results.
Auckland Central went blue. What a cracker. New Plymouth. Otaki – we always knew Nathan Guy could do it. Rotorua - Todd McClay. Taupo – Louise Upston. West Coast-Tasman went blue. Hamilton West. Maungakiekie. Waitakere – an amazing result.
You are tremendous.
There are some very special people I want to thank. When you're the leader of a party, you're around the country a lot. You're not always in your electorate every day. So I want to thank the great people of Helensville who chose me as their MP again. And I want to thank my staff – Genelle and Mel, who look after me so well, and Jenny who's come back from overseas.
And I want to thank my staff in Wellington. The demands on them have been unbelievable, the sacrifices have been incredible. They are an amazing group of individuals. But at the risk of leaving some of them out because they all just did a fantastic job – Emma, who works so hard in my office day after day, Wayne, Kevin, Grant , Nicola, Phil, Sarah, Rhiannon, Jason, Lesley, Dani, Helene, Brent, Willy, and Francis – get some sleep guys, you need it. Because I tell you what, we're going to be busy in the next few weeks.
No, you don't need sleep. Not on a night like tonight, you don't need sleep.
And I want to thank my sisters, Sue and Liz, and all of my family who have been so great.
Most of all I want to thank the most important people in my life. And that is Bronagh and Stephie and Max. But I've got a bit of bad news, guys. There is no puppy coming. Sorry.
I couldn't have done it without you.
Ok, maybe I'll reconsider the puppy. The cat won't like it but maybe we can work our way through it.
Ladies and gentlemen, it is a privilege to be here tonight. You have made this possible. It will be a night I'm sure none of us will ever forget. Tonight is a night of celebration.
And tomorrow, tomorrow the hard work begins.
Have a great evening. Thank you very much indeed.