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Address and reply speech, Kevin Campbell MP

Speech notes from the Alliance party.

Address and reply speech, Kevin Campbell MP
13 February, 2002.

Mr Speaker

I thought I would take the opportunity of this address and reply debate to refer back to an aspect of my maiden speech, that aspect being the Hikoi of Hope.

During the Hikoi thousands of New Zealanders marched from North Cape to Bluff converging on this House, saying enough is enough about the failure of successive governments to address areas of concern to them. Those areas were health education housing employment and poverty.

Those areas were also very much of concern to the Alliance. They are core Alliance policy areas.

Mr Speaker, sadly a new generation of New Zealanders faced the last election being unaware that we could have, and have had a fully funded health system, a fully funded public education system. That we could have full employment.

Mr Speaker, that is the insidious legacy of the New Right ideology that is undermined a generation of voters. The Alliance firmly believes that we can have full employment and fully funded public education and health systems.

And also, we believe that we can go further, for example, by contributing to economic growth, planning for the future and providing security for our elders.

The Alliance has played a strong part in contributing to, and driving, advances in those areas so far in this government.

Health care has been boosted by huge increases in funding. Successive governments ran down our health system. This one is ensuring it will survive and become much stronger. We have introduced innovative ideas like the mobile surgery unit, which the Alliance campaigned for before the last election to reduce waiting lists.

We also have returned some democracy to the health system with elected health boards that can address community health concerns.

The public education system is better off with funding for pre-school, school and tertiary education. Interest on student loans have been frozen and the government negotiated with tertiary institutions to stop fee increases.

The Alliance MP, Liz Gordon has chaired the select committee looking into the failures of the student loans scheme. Almost all submitters felt student fees were too high.

Both major parties agreed there were problems with the scheme and while different parties disagreed on aspects of it, there was a consensus that in depth research was needed on the economic, social and educational implications of the system.

The Alliance believes that seriously indebting our young people will be highly detrimental to the future of our country, especially because our future demands highly skilled and trained workers. We will fight to make public tertiary education freely available to everyone who has the ability to enter university.

The extensive regional development programs led by Jim Anderton have given regions real hope for a prosperous future around New Zealand and this jobs machine is well in place.

Industry New Zealand is setting up innovative businesses drawing on kiwi ingenuity.

I'm amazed at the new discoveries and inventions that I have come across when presenting enterprise awards throughout the country on behalf of Jim Anderton. I have seen many great ideas with great potential. New Zealand is becoming well placed for advances in the information technology area.

Unemployment is now at 5.4% and under this government reached its lowest point in thirteen years only rising slightly above that recently.

When the Alliance was elected we said an Alliance government would create 80,000 jobs. Between December 1999 and December 2001 the Household Labour force Survey says we've created 79,000 jobs. I have a feeling that this government may well deliver those 80,000 jobs.

That's an incredible achievement in a country that has suffered over a decade of non-intervention. If we can do that in 3 years, imagine what we could do in six by supporting the great ideas of New Zealanders creating work.

A key goal for the Alliance in housing was to achieve income related rents for state house tenants, who are some of our poorest families. These are very much in place now.

Looking back to the Hikoi Mr Speaker, one of the greatest causes of poverty at that time was the market rentals for state house tenants, put in place by the previous government.

The minimum wage has increased by $20 a week. Again addressing fairness in work and reducing poverty in the community. There are now fair employment laws that are assisting workers in getting a fair wage.

Thinking back also Mr Speaker, to my introduction to the select committee process. I was placed on the select committee working on ACC and helped to get rid of private insurance companies. I was amazed at the number of foreign accents that I heard from submitters mainly from multinational insurance companies opposed to the government's reform: South Africa, Australia, Ireland, Britain and America. This represents the extent to which our ACC system was in the hands of foreign owned insurance companies.

I said at the time that it was a great challenge for ACC in picking up the reforms of this government that they were not to become a monopoly to do just what the private insurance companies were doing collectively but that there was a need to perform to serve New Zealand well, to serve them fairly, efficiently, professionally and with care.

ACC are working hard on these issues now and providing a much better service than the previous scheme.

My colleague and friend Willie Jackson replaced me on that committee to work on the Employment Relations Bill, but I had the opportunity to sit from time to time on it.

I am very proud to be part of a government that has put in place a fairer system for workers, a change from the contractual approach to employment to the relationship approach.

Alliance Minister, Laila Harre has been instrumental in winning twelve weeks paid parental leave for parents all over the country. We are bringing New Zealand into the 21st century with legislation that over 120 other countries gained before us.

It has been sad that the country which first gave women the vote, couldn't recognise the contribution of parenting to the economy and community a little earlier, but we have it now and we celebrate it.

And we now have a nationwide Kiwi owned bank. Finally people all over the country will have a choice of whether they visit a local bank, which invests in New Zealand, or give their money to banks that send their profits overseas.

We are also proud to be part of a government contributing to keeping railways and airlines in the hands of New Zealanders.

The Alliance has also played its part in the coalition in regard to electoral law. It has invested heavily in the MMP system. We wanted to show New Zealanders that MMP can work. We wanted to restore faith in MMP.

I am pleased to see that this government has put the Electoral Integrity Bill in place so that people who no longer represent the people who elected them must now stand down.

Mr Speaker, there is another key issue we have been working on which will build up the safety and health of our communities. This government, through Alliance Minister Matt Robson has been developing new and effective programs to reduce crime, reduce suffering of victims and to keep people out of prison.

There are now restorative justice pilot programs in Auckland, Waitakere, Hamilton and Dunedin District Courts. These programs give victims the assistance they need and the significant opportunity to be at the centre of the criminal justice process, while aiming to reduce re-offending by the offender.

These will go hand in hand with programs in our prisons and police work in our communities to reduce crime effectively and go well beyond the sloganeering we are bound to hear about crime during election year.

Mr Speaker, this brings me back to my maiden speech. I am proud to look back on the hopes of that speech as see that our work is truly being done by this government. While the Alliance would move faster in a government of its own, we can certainly stand up proudly with our colleagues and say that we are on our way to instituting a decent and prosperous future for all New Zealanders.


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