Local Govt | National News Video | Parliament Headlines | Politics Headlines | Search

 

Frontlines - From Helen Clark’s Desk

Frontlines - This weekend the Prime Minister and the Treasurer will make one last effort to relaunch their failed government. National is struggling in the polls and has become erratic over its tax plans. It lacks any constructive ideas for creating jobs and sustainable growth.

The Treasurer now talks of relatively small tax reductions. This is a long
way from the bullish talk of a few months ago. Yet the latest fiscal data,
as Michael Cullen explained to the Labour caucus this week, shows there is
room for neither major tax cuts nor major spending increases. That of course
doesn't mean National won't try to bribe its way back into office with money
that isn't there.

While National engages in its game of economic roulette, ordinary New
Zealanders continue to struggle. Power is more expensive, not cheaper as Max
Bradford promised. ACC levies and the cost of registering vehicles have gone
up. The new driver's licences scheme is a costly shambles. Police and fire
services continue to be stripped down. Education and housing continue to
become less affordable and less accessible.

These are the issues people are worried about, not a tax-cut striptease
which has become meaningless and, quite frankly, irresponsible. The National
Party will demonstrate yet again this weekend just how out of touch it has
become with mainstream New Zealanders.

Labour MPs - a hive of activity

It is recess week in Parliament and Labour MPs have been using the time away
from Wellington to make portfolio-related visits to other electorates.
Activities this week have included Judith Tizard in New Plymouth talking
about local government reform and experiencing some of the arts and culture
delights of the city; Nanaia Mahuta has been with Tariana Turia in the
Wanganui area looking at some of the Maori education initiatives there;
Annette King has met with health groups and officials in Taura????3B Phil Goff
has been on justice business in the South Island.

Labour releases overseas aid policy

A Labour Government would focus its overseas aid and development budget on
measures to help the eradication of poverty. Overseas aid and development
spokesperson Graham Kelly released the policy this week to an audience of
aid sector workers in Wellington. He said all development projects will be
assessed against guiding principles for their impact on poverty, inequality
and human rights, and that Labour planned progressively to increase New
Zealand's commitment to overseas aid and development towards the
international target of 0.7% of GNP.

Modern apprenticeships coming

Labour is about to unveil plans for a modern apprenticeship system as part
of its industry training policy. The policy will be released at a
Wellington factory on Wednesday and is aimed at rebuilding workbased
training as the means to a full apprenticeship qualification.

About-face on food safety

The Government has finally seen sense and accepted Labour's argument that a
stand-alone agency is needed to oversee food safety issues. National
initially rejected the idea and wanted to place a new Food Assurance
Authority within the Ministry of Agriculture. But a select committee
revealed serious flaws in the Government's decision-making process. Now
National has joined Labour in supporting a stand-alone agency, directed to
protect the interests of consumers.

Labour's "excess" claims backed

A campaign by Labour health spokesperson Annette King against uncontrolled
spending at the Health Funding Authority was vindicated this week by an
independent audit. King called for an inquiry after criticising the HFA over
the $7.5 million cost and the tendering process used in its office
refurbishment. The report by Price Waterhouse found the HFA had no formal
tendering policies and its processes were deficient. It was especially
critical of the purchase of 500 imported American chairs. The $1000 a-pop
chairs have become a potent symbol of the way taxpayers' money has been
misused by the National Government. Unfortunately for the 110,000 people
still waiting for their first assessment from a specialist to decide if they
qualify for an operation, the HFA's lavish spend-up can't be undone.

© Scoop Media

 
 
 
Parliament Headlines | Politics Headlines | Regional Headlines

Scoop 3.0: How You Can Help Scoop’s Evolution

Entering into its third decade of operation, the Scoop news ecosystem is set to undergo another phase of transformation and evolution.

We have big plans for 2018 as we look to expand our public interest journalism coverage, upgrade our publishing infrastructure and offer even more valuable business tools to commercial users of Scoop. More>>

 
 

Speaking Of Transport: Public Engagement On Wellington Scenarios

“Our work on possible solutions for Wellington’s transport future is ongoing, but has progressed to the stage where we’re ready to share our ideas with the public and seek their feedback to help guide our next steps...” More>>

ALSO:

Parental Leave: National's Time-Sharing Change Fails

National has proposed a change to the Parental Leave and Employment Protection Amendment Bill that would allow both parents to take paid parental leave at the same time, if that is what suits them best. More>>

ALSO:

Train Free Thursday: Workers Strike To Defend Terms Of Employment

"They signed up to these conditions a year ago when they got the contract for Wellington's rail services. Now they're trying to increase profits by squeezing frontline workers." More>>

ALSO:

Seclusion: Ombudsman Emphasises Importance Of Monitoring

Disability Rights Commissioner Paula Tesoriero says that while there have been changes to the Education (Update) Amendment Act 2017 to prohibit the use of seclusion, the report is an important reminder of the importance of regular monitoring of schools. More>>

ALSO:

United Future History: "All Good Things Must End"

'We’re extremely proud of what we’ve achieved over the past 15 years, working alongside the government of the day, both National and Labour.' Mr Light told members on Monday. More>>

Gordon Campbell: On The TPP Outcome, And The Hobbit Law

Somehow the Trans Pacific Partnership trade deal has come lurching back from the dead – and as predicted in this column last week, the member countries gathered in Vietnam have announced a deal in broad principle, shunted aside until a later date the stuff on which they don’t agree, and declared victory. More>>

Agreeing To Differ: Greens Maintain Opposition To TPPA
“The Green Party has long opposed the TPPA. The new proposed deal, which came out of the weekend’s talks, still contains key ISDS concessions to corporations that put our democracy at risk, so our position remains the same,” said Green Party trade spokesperson Golriz Ghahraman. More>>

ALSO:

Monitoring Report: A New Chapter For Children’s Rights In New Zealand?

The Children’s Commissioner is calling on the country to embrace children’s rights to ensure their overall well-being. More>>

ALSO:

 
 
 
 
 

LATEST HEADLINES

  • PARLIAMENT
  • POLITICS
  • REGIONAL
 
 

Featured InfoPages

Opening the Election