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Labour's Secret Agenda -- Richard Prebble

Labour's Secret Agenda

Speech by Hon Richard Prebble, Leader ACT New Zealand

at the launch of ACT's East Auckland campaign

at the Howick Country Club

795 Chapel Road, Howick

on Thursday 27th June 2002, at 7.30pm

If you log on to Labour's website, you could be forgiven for thinking there is no election. There's nothing on the site to indicate that Labour is campaigning.

The only reason Helen Clark can give for why voters should re-elect Labour, is "stability". You have to admire her gall.

Here is a government calling a snap election because its coalition partner has imploded. Labour's only other potential partner - the Greens - are so extreme that Labour claims it won't go into coalition with them. And they say they are stable!

Labour has an agenda, but it doesn't want the election fought on it because 70 percent of the electorate would say no.

Agenda item number one is that Labour will go into coalition with the Greens, either formally or informally. Labour is in de facto coalition with the Greens already. Labour and the Alliance are a minority government. An informal coalition with the Greens has kept Labour in power for two-and-a-half years.

Two other facts back up my claim that Labour will go into coalition with the Greens. First, Helen Clark is endorsing Jeanette Fitzsimons in Coromandel. Second, one of the reasons given for the early election was to allow time afterwards for negotiations with the Greens.

The Greens are quite open. They want and expect to be in coalition with Labour. The Greens say, in their open way, that they would never go into coalition with National or ACT. This is good because, as the sign says: "Please do not ask because refusal often offends".

Labour is the Greens' only door to power.

What else is on Labour's agenda? By looking at the 94 unpassed Bills and published government documents, we can set out the agenda.

1. Increase ACC levies. ACC levies are higher today than officials say is necessary. Why? So Labour can extend ACC cover at the expense of business. The Minister rejected official advice to reduce levies.

2. Increased power for the trade unions. Margaret Wilson has a working party report that recommends that a firm that wins a tender must take on the unsuccessful tenderers' employees. Labour intends to ratify an international convention that makes political strikes lawful. It adds up to an increase in trade union power.

3. Labour has two Bills on the order paper to give extreme environmental groups more power to object to resource planning consents. Maori will be given even more grounds to object. And objectors will be able to get legal aid for their expensive Environment Court cases.

4. Labour will pass the OSH Bill, which imposes $500,000 fines on employers who cause their workers stress. Today I spoke with a restaurant owner who was held up by a shotgun-wielding robber. Now he is told by his lawyer that his staff could sue him for stress!

5. Labour intends ratifying the Kyoto Protocol. This will mean carbon taxes and there is talk of livestock emission taxes - 10 cents a sheep, 20 cents a cow.

6. Labour is increasingly using race, not need, to allocate resources. The latest proposal is that GP subsidies be based on the race of patients. There is a proposal that local body boundaries be redrawn to match iwi areas, and that iwi should have the power to levy rates. National's Hekia Parata, who will be an MP, supports this mad idea. The Annual Tax Bill has a clause to lower the tax for Maori companies to 19.5 percent.

7. Labour will give local councils the "power of general competence" to enter any business in competition with the private sector.

There is no support from the public for these policies, but Labour will claim a mandate. ACT has led the Parliamentary opposition to these measures and had slowed the Labour agenda.

What I have not included is the measures that individual Labour MPs have promoted.

- Margaret Wilson wants the Treaty of Waitangi to be our constitution.

- Rod Donald, from the Greens, wants taxes on resources and capital.

- Jeanette Fitzsimons confirmed today that it's Green policy that Maori have tino rangatiratanga over New Zealand. The Greens claim they don't know what this means. It means a separate Maori Parliament, separate courts and laws for Maori, and an endless gravy train of claims.

Even Green voters don't support a separate Maori nation. But Labour MPs like Tariana Turia certainly do.

If the media were to examine the parties' programmes instead of publicity photos of Helen Clark's latest PR stunt, they would question her on the Labour/Green real agenda.

ACT has put out positive, alternative policies. ACT is the only party to have put out a manifesto this election. It is 57 pages and is on our website (www.act.org.nz (http://www.act.org.nz/) ). The two TV channels decided this was not newsworthy.

Let me give you one example of ACT's fresh, new ideas. Hospital waiting lists. Labour's solution is to refer patients back to their GPs if they have been on the list too long. I don't know of any one being cured by being referred back to their GP.

ACT says that any patient waiting longer than the medically acceptable time should be referred to a private hospital for treatment at taxpayers' expense. The medically advisable time for radiotherapy after breast cancer is four weeks. Today women are waiting 15 weeks. Under ACT, after four weeks women will be able to get treatment privately.

No media have reported ACT's policy, even though hospital waiting lists is a major issue.

If Helen Clark gets re-elected it will be because the media have not got the courage to question her outrageous claims, and her refusal to discuss issues.

Helen Clark has not yet agreed to any television debate. How arrogant. TV should put one of her phoney pictures in a chair.

New Zealand deserves a real election.


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