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Jennings Speech For Candidate Selection Rangitikei

Owen Jennings Speech

Tuesday 25 Jun 2002

Speech For Candidate Selection Rangitikei

The forthcoming election is not some sort of artificial contest between Labour governing on their own and Labour with a minority party coalition partner. Labour spin doctors are doing their damnest to keep the focus on what is a sideshow - the GE debate

The real election is between the centre-Right and the Centre-Left. It is between parties that want more freedom, more personal responsibility, less state control, lower taxes, a safer and more secure New Zealand and parties that favour the state taking responsibility for as much as possible, higher taxes, more compliance costs, lower standards in education, softer on criminals.

It is a contrast between the dictatorial style of Helen Clark who dominates the centre left landscape, or Bill English and Richard Prebble, who are relaxed about individuals being responsible and accountable, communities determining their own destiny and the Government being there to back up the rights of those individuals.

Media preoccupation with the Left, carefully manipulated by the Prime Minister's spin team, has seen a pseudo-contest emerge between Helen Clark and Rod Donald. Fortunately the public are not that gullible. They can see through the jack up. The thinly veiled attempt to take the spotlight off our high taxes, rising business costs and a deteriorating economy are failing.

It's a pseudo-contest because were it possible that Labour were elected on its own - and its certainly unlikely - Labour's environmental policies are equally as devastating and extreme as anything dreamt up by the Greens. In fact Marian Hobbs as the Minister for the Environment, is just as capable of walking over Private Property rights and backing loopy environmental ideas as anyone in the Greens/Alliance.

The real issues for this election are about access to health care. Voters know that it is difficult to keep up with the technology in health care with a growing aging population. They don't want rash promises - they want practical solutions. ACT proposes dropping the ideological opposition to the use of the private health care providers so we can maximise resources and help cut the weighting lists. Only the National Party is proposing this rate of personal responsibility by making personal health involvement effective.

It is issues like our families' educational standards that New Zealanders are concerned about. Parents understand that the new NCEA is more about political correctness and the centralised control by the education alike than it is their children's education. Parents want to have the right to choose a school with the values and educational attainment that they want for their family.

ACT is the only party stating that choice in education is vital for driving quality and recognising the better performing schools and their teachers. ACT's policies are not about closing schools that don't perform, it's about bringing those schools up to the standard of the best. ACT wants to pay our best teachers more but also wants to see poor quality teachers stood down from the influence they have in the classroom.

Personal safety and security is an issue in this election. It is not a "populist" issue as some journalists want us to believe. It's New Zealanders saying to the Government that they ignored the 92% of people that voted for the Norm Withers petition. They are angry that parole times have been increased and those criminals can be released after 1/3 of their sentence.

Law and Order issues are not some desperate pitch by the small parties. They are fundamental to our democracy. New Zealanders deserve to be safe and it is the Government's primary role to ensure external security with a properly resourced defence force and internal security, through tougher sentences and through a zero tolerance to crime.

ACT makes no excuses for raising Law and Order issues. ACT MPs are receiving a flood of stories from voters who have been beaten, bashed, assaulted and robbed. ACT's policies in Truth in Sentencing and New Yorks broken window approach are being well received across the whole country.

This is a stark contrast between the left and the centre right on their attitude toward and policies on business. The left distrust business people and have no compunction about levelling new taxes and costs against them. Labour's trumpeting of cutting compliance costs was the biggest non-event of the last Government. In a party dominated by Trade Union Secretaries and school teachers, cutting compliance costs and improving business conditions was never going to be a starter.

ACT's research among 9,500 businesses on the North Shore confirmed that high tax rates are the biggest cost facing businesses and the one issue that slows investment, jobs and growth. National has announced tax cuts but it is the ACT party that has made it clear we must immediately give a tax cut to the all workers to be fair and effective. ACT has also said we will follow the recommendations of the McLeod Report commissioned by the Government that said New Zealand could cut the corporate and top tax rate to 28 cents immediately without any adverse effects on expenditure in health and education. McLeod proved that a 28-cent tax rate was achievable and in the best interests of early growth that we sorely need to get back into the top half of the OECD.

A major area of difference between the Right and the Left is in the area of managing the environment. The Left continue to want to write rules and regulations and have the State dominate all environmental and conservation initiatives. They have planned to make the RMA through Amendments already introduced into the House, even more draconian, anti development and growth.

The ACT Party wants to restore Private Property rights and cut the red tape and bureaucracy that is responsible for keeping our growth rate at a miserly 2%. ACT aims to remove from the Act the immeasurable cultural and spiritual values, aesthetic, social etc, and concentrate on the natural and physical resources and their wise management.

ACT would also restore the provisions of the old T&C Planning Act that requires persons to have an interest greater than the public interest before they could have an involvement in the consent process. This would eliminate much of the vexatious objecting. ACT wants to promote voluntarism, including voluntary exchanges, tradeable rights, covenants etc as opposed to regulations.

In this election ACT is seeking the Party List Vote. We anticipate that voters will choose a Centre Right Candidate for the Constituency but give ACT the party vote. That is the best insurance for preventing the Left wing parties, Lab/Alliance/Greens and whatever party Jim Anderton is involved in today from forming the next Government. By using your party list vote this way you are assured of having a party of sound principles, strong Members of Parliament and progressive and fresh policies in Parliament.


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