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Richard Prebble's Letter from Wellington 1/7/2002

Letter from Wellington

Monday, 01 July 2002

Labour's Bizarre Credit Card Promises

They're the promises you make when you're making no promises. Labour is a party that has run out of ideas.

Pledge one is to intervene in every sector of the economy. Pledge two is to continue to cut hospital waiting lists by sending patients back to their GPs. Pledge three is not to pay good teachers more. Pledge four is to gamble with our retirement funds on a falling world equity market. Pledge five is to continue not having real apprenticeships. Pledge six is, after ignoring the Norm Withers referendum on crime, to say 'please trust us'. And the seventh pledge is to promise not to cut company and income tax rates which are higher than any of our trading partners.

National's Coalition Offer

Bill English has offered a grand coalition with Labour, to keep out the Greens. He was right to point out that on issues such as GE, free trade and the war against terrorism, National and ACT have supported the government against the Greens. Labour is the Greens' only partner.

Perhaps a more powerful case against the Greens is that they cheerfully admit their only path to power is a coalition with Labour. The Greens say they would never have a coalition with National or ACT (which is fortunate because 'refusal often offends').

So Labour is the Greens' door to power, and National and ACT are the wall to stop them. The only odd thing is the number of voters who say they are voting to increase the size of the Greens' door to power and to reduce the size of the wall to stop the Greens.

ACT's Party List

The ACT Party has continued its policy of promoting talented new candidates to electable positions on the list. In 1999, ACT elected three new MPs. Again, ACT has new candidates in positions where they will be elected - Deborah Coddington, Heather Roy, Kenneth Wang and Paul King.

You can see ACT's full list at

Talent Spotting (New Feature)

The Letter has decided to do a series comparing ACT's team with other parties. ACT's first new candidate, Deborah Coddington, is at number six. This year she won the country's top journalism award, the Wolfson Fellowship to Cambridge University. She agreed to become an ACT candidate, even if it means not taking up the award.

Deborah has stood before, for the Libertarianz Party. She's now standing for ACT as the party that most closely represents her views. The Greens' first new candidate is Metiria Turei (number eight). The Greens' website states: "From 1989 to 1991, she was the Tumuaki o Te Iwi Maori Rawakore o Aotearoa. She was also a candidate for the McGillicuddy Serious Party in 1993 and for the Aotearoa Legalise Cannabis Party in 1996. She is involved in the Random Trollops, and anarcho-feminist performance troupe which has become a regular in the Hero Parade". And: "justice belongs to us all, including our environment and the non-human species that we share our whenua with".

Policy Comparisons (New Feature)

Industrial Law: Labour - extend ERA to increase unions' power; National - keep the ERA, employment court and mediation service, and combine OSH and ACC! ACT - Repeal the ERA, abolish employment court, privatise ACC and enact freedom to contract law.

Truth Comes Through in TV Ads

The recent TV political videos revealed more than the parties intended. Labour's revealed that it is a one-woman government. National's showed the party not only has no sizzle but also no sausage. NZ First's phoney talk at the Oval Office made us feel relieved that NZ is nuclear free. And the Greens appeared to be high on something.

ACT's Statement Real

Commentators agree ACT had the best opening. ACT took a risk and went for reality TV - no narrator, real people and no scripts (which you can only do when you have talent) - demonstrating ACT's quality team.

ACT's Formal Campaign Opening

Richard Prebble will open ACT's formal campaign at the Ellerslie Convention Centre next Sunday at 11am. For tickets phone 09 523 0470. Be early, ACT will fill the hall.


There have been 4500 hits on the ACT website's overseas voting link. Voters overseas this election can register by email and vote by fax. This is ACT's election edge.

Whether to Sign

Labour debated for some time whether Helen Clark should sign the credit card. They decided it would be worse if she didn't sign. Labour's strategists have been sweating since the Chief Justice over-rode the JPs and referred Constable Abbott to the High Court, saying it was for a jury to decide. Police and Crown Law have a credibility problem by delaying a decision on Ms Clark's paintings.

Which ever way it goes, it's not good for the PM. If the decision is delayed until after the election, it's not credible. If she is let off, it's one law for a police constable and another for the PM. And if it's referred to trial, Ms Clark will be the first PM in NZ's history to be charged with a crime.

Only Lefties, Please

The Letter has noticed that state TV has as "independent" election commentators the anti-free enterprise ex-Alliance MP Pam Corkery, former NZ First MP Michael Laws, and David Lange. We know the media has a left-wing bias, but isn't this a bit extreme?

Highest Taxed Country

Helen Clark today claimed NZ has "the lowest tax rates in the OECD apart from Mexico". KPMG senior tax partner Chris Abbiss has found NZ has higher income tax rates than Australia, the UK, the US and Canada at all levels from $20,000 to $80,000. (Only at $80,000 is Australia's tax rate 0.8% higher than NZ's.)

The differences are significant. At $20,000 (typically a student) in NZ we pay 21% tax, while in Tony Blair's Labour Britain just 3.2%. (see

Only ACT is campaigning for a tax cut for every worker.

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