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The Letter – Monday, 24 April 2006

The Letter – Monday, 24 April 2006

The Letter – Monday, 24 April 2006

The Letter Limited -

The Haps

Liberty is safe - Parliament in recess. MPs travelling. Solomons in flames. ACT MPs acting up. Dull budget predicted.

Long Recess

With Easter falling close to ANZAC day, parliament has taken a long three-week recess. Half the cabinet is travelling overseas (nine ministers).

Dancing with the Stars

One of New Zealand's worst kept secrets, you read it here first - Rodney Hide will be officially confirmed today as a participant in "Dancing with the Stars".

Ugly Duckling

Rodney's friends were concerned that he was over weight and no one had ever seen him dance. There is a very good reason for this; Rodney had never danced a waltz in his life. World wide there is a trend in viewer voting programs; it is young women who vote and the white middle class male never wins. Rodney has made it harder for himself by determining not to miss a day of parliament or a constituency clinic.


The average viewer who has not seen Rodney since election night will be stunned at his transformation. Our spies tell us he is already a better dancer than Tim Shadbolt was at the end of the contest. Tim came third last year. Rodney who has never been interviewed by a Woman's magazine in his life has been inundated with interview requests.

Private Roy

Even more out there is ACT MP Heather Roy's Easter break activity. The 42-year-old mother of five has joined the Territorial Forces and is currently doing her six-week induction training! Heather is ACT's defense spokesman. She believes in "volunteer" soldiers. As a health professional she has the skills the army seeks. TF soldiers are required to be non political while in uniform which Heather has respected, hence the media blackout. (You read it here first). The 40 sit-ups is what defeats many applicants. The instructors asked Heather to stop when she had done 130! MPs belonging to the TF are common in England and Canada. Heather has the support of the Minister of Defence and has been given formal leave by the Speaker. Carry on soldier.

They are OK

The government accounts continue to show above predicted surpluses. Latest accounts show a government surplus of $4.7 billion, $.8 billion more than Treasury predictions. Treasury puts this down to slower than expected spending. We predict the extensive paperwork requirements of the new Family Assistance package will result in a lower than expected take up rate especially amongst those who need it most. Richard Prebble recalls assisting a Pacific Island mother with 6 school age children who had been abandoned by her husband, and was not receiving the family benefit. "Why are you not getting it?" he asked. "The family benefit is only for poor people," said the solo mother, who had just had her power cut off because she could not pay.

Dull Budget

The markets are not expecting any significant new policy. When the budget was being put together Finance Minister Michael Cullen had just completed a tiring election. Then it emerged that David Benson-Pope (who is a Cullen protégée) had lied about complaints against him. These scandals are not just time consuming they are emotionally draining. It has been at the expense of the intellectual energy required to think up new policy solutions.

New Export

One of the biggest debates inside government is how to meet NZ's Kyoto obligations. One sensible measure that the government has taken is in the climate change bill about to go through parliament, which allows for the creation of "permanent forests". Under Kyoto a forest, never to be harvested, planted on a green house-producing farm does earn carbon credits. Kyoto has created a global carbon credit market. There are many places in the world that grow trees faster than NZ, but few places that have secure property rights and a stable political regime. Provided Labour Ministers can resist their socialist temptation to nationalise the credits there are thousands of hectares of marginal farmland ready to convert and create a new export industry.

Aussie caused riot

The Solomon government both illegally and legally bribes MPs to support the PM. Last election the average bribe was Solomon $40,000, eagerly accepted by MPs broke from having over spent on their campaigns. The legal bribery is a cabinet of 19 for a parliament of just 50 MPs! The Taiwan government generously funds politicians to keep recognition. It is the logging companies keen to keep the unsustainable logging of rain forests doing the serious bribery. Aussie Federal Police firing tear gas at a peaceful demonstration caused the riot. There is very little anti Chinese feeling. Most Chinese were born in the Solomon's, speak pidgin and are Solomon citizens. The crowd was outraged and the riot spontaneous. Canberra should hold a proper inquiry and then pay, in the Solomon way, compensation.

Back to the center

Don Brash in Washington has adopted Labour's anti nuclear policy. It is Phil Goff inviting the US navy to visit. Brash has now adopted almost entirely the policies and positioning of Bill English. The MPs like Lockwood-Smith who backed Brash, in his case to get a new foreign policy, are side lined. Lockwood is now liaison for expatriate kiwis, whatever that means.

Our Poll

Just 27 readers think the health system will be able to provide for them. A massive 97% have no faith in socialist medicine. This week. "Do you support Heather Roy joining the Territorial Forces?" vote at we will send your views to Heather in boot camp.


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Please Note: Formerly the column The Letter was circulated by the ACT Party. It no longer is.

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