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Letter To Jim

31 August 2000

Hon Jim Anderton
Leader of the Alliance Party

Dear Jim

Thank you for your letter of the 30 August. I am pleased to learn that you have read my speech to the Business Broker's Division of the Real Estate Conference.

If you had read it more carefully, you would have noticed that I pointed out that there are just three people in the Labour-Alliance government who have any experience of business and I named them: Jim Sutton, Dover Samuels and yourself, who used to run a dairy.

I also remember that with your cousin, you had a light engineering company that used to produce those supermarket trolleys. You know the ones, they weighed a ton and went in any direction except the way you pushed.

I note the rather personal tone of abuse in your letter - what happened to your well publicised statements when you announced your retirement from politics that you were 'sick of personal abuse'. I seem to remember a claim by you that you never engaged in personal abuse.

You claim that my story about the small businessman who has invented and patented a device which he is manufacturing and is selling them in America is, quote "fabricated". If I produce the businessman, will you issue a public apology?

As I said in the speech, he's already gone and listened to your presentation at Manukau City. He went with his accountant. They listened to the criteria and have concluded they'd be wasting their time to apply. After reading your letter, I see nothing that would cause me to advise them they are mistaken.

Is it correct as they stated that under your program there is special preference for both Maori and Pacific Island businesses?

I note that the amount of the grants available is in fact only $10,000 and not the $20,000 stated by me. What do you think Jim, can be achieved for $10,000?

You ask whether the ACT party supports the government giving largesse to businesses - which you select. ACT is the party of small business, and selecting a few businesses for grants does nothing for the vast majority who don't meet your politically correct criteria.

I'm happy to advise you what small businesses really want.
1. Bring the top rate of tax back from 39 cents.
2. Allow small business to choose their own ACC provider.
3. Do not implement the trade union promoting Employment Relations Act.
4. Stop passing laws which break commercial contracts without compensation.
5. Lower the compliance costs of business for everyone rather than giving $10,000 to the chosen few.
And finally Jim, I have to advise you that I have yet to meet a New Zealand business that wants to have you as their partner. Business would prefer to select their own partners.

Since we're swapping notes on speeches, I see that the Round Table invited you to speak to them and you adopted a similar abusive tone to them as you have in your letter to me, so can I ask you a few questions. How does it help create a sense of purpose as a nation for the Deputy Prime Minister to abuse the leadership of the 23 largest companies in New Zealand? What were you trying to achieve? Did you expect as a result of this speech to encourage those companies to invest in New Zealand and create more jobs?

I see, as no doubt you have, that a person called Bryan Sinclair has written a letter to the daily papers. Let me quote from his excellent letter.

"Jim Anderton says that "almost everything the New Zealand Business Roundtable has ever said has turned out wrong".

Could Mr Anderton tell readers whether the Government plans to reverse each of the policies listed below that, to the best of my knowledge, have been promoted by the Business Roundtable and which Mr Anderton apparently believes to be wrong?

The policies are as follows: the relaxation of restrictions on shop trading hours; the abolition of compulsory trade union membership; the sale of beer and wine by supermarkets; the introduction of competition in the transport, telecommunications, postal and disaster insurance markets; taxi deregulation; the removal of import licensing and tariff reductions; reform of producer boards; the removal of farm subsidies; the revision of the Companies Act; corporatisation and/or privatisation of government telecommunication, postal, forestry and energy businesses and its interests in ports and airports; policies to raise the performance of the public sector; the removal of exchange controls and the adoption of a floating currency; the adoption of price stability as the goal of monetary policy and independent implementation of monetary policy by the Reserve Bank; the reduction of government debt; the introduction of GST; enhanced fiscal responsibility and financial management requirements at central and local government levels respectively; self-managing schools; and raising the age of eligibility for New Zealand superannuation from 60 years.

The public has a right to know if Mr Anderton believes what he says."

I couldn't put it better Jim. Please advise what it was you were trying to achieve when as Minister of Commerce you abused the nation's business leaders. Please be kind enough to go through the list and tell me which of the measures you disagree with and your timetable and programme for implementing their reversal.
Yours sincerely

Hon Richard Prebble CBE

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