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Quiet Revolution Underway In NZ Politics

Tuesday 24 April 2001


A quiet revolution is underway in New Zealand politics, according to United Future leader, Hon Peter Dunne.

Mr Dunne was speaking to the Western Hutt Rotary Club this evening.

He said that one of the consequences of the concentrated reform programme of the last 15 years was that New Zealanders felt more uncertain about their national identity, and were now seeking to recapture the values they saw as lost in those years.

"There are many symptoms of that feeling - from the Core Values debate being promoted by the New Zealand Herald, through to the results of my recent Ohariu Belmont survey showing that issues of social cohesion and family and community values were the top concern of local voters."

"They all underpin the wish of an increasing number of people that New Zealand to reassert its traditional identity as an innovative, pragmatic, compassionate and tolerant multicultural nation."

"The implications for political parties and government are obvious - for too long, Governments have been seen as operating primarily in their own interests, rather than facing the real issues."

"Worse, than that, the rise of political correctness means that often Governments will not take a stand for fear of offending some group or other, which means that they are seen as no longer standing for anything or capable of offering any real leadership."

"They have become mere managers - and changes of government are more about changing the furniture and the faces in control than changing society."

"There are no signs any of the major parties is looking to redress that imbalance, despite clear public concern," he said.

Mr Dunne said that United Future's emphasis on family values and community responsibility was a direct response to public anxiety about today's lack of social cohesion.

"For United Future, the key filter through which we run every policy issues is what impact it will have on New Zealand families, and through that, the wider community."

"Our proposals for a Commission for the Family to co-ordinate policies such as:

* family support and assistance;

* mentoring schemes for new parents;

* guardianship law, including joint custody arrangements,

* identifying at risk children and families early to stamp out the scourge of child abuse;

* developing proper parenting skills."

will be a positive step towards ensuring New Zealand families are put centre-stage once again."

"Likewise, our commitment to strong community agencies and our plans for the more effective utilisation of the voluntary sector will be a win-win for the whole community as well as cost-effective, because they will free up resources presently being duplicated, to be able to be used in other critical areas of need not being met at present."

"They are practical steps towards the quiet revolution now underway, and restoring a sense of balance and social cohesion to our country," Mr Dunne said.


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