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Safer communities - Matt Robson Speech

Wednesday July 17 2002

Speech

Matt Robson (Minister of Corrections, Minister for Courts)

Safer communities

Speech

Grey power - Christchurch Wigram

I’m sorry that Jim can’t be here.

He’s busy opening new factories today.

I was with him this morning when he opened a new factory in my turf - Mangere in South Auckland - that will create 400 new jobs.

400 new jobs: that’s not just a statistic. That’s 400 people who will have a decent wage, a chance of a better life, an income to raise their kids properly.

A chance to have aspirations.

We’re ambitious of New Zealand - that’s what the Progressive Coalition is all about.

At the core of our mission is jobs.

Because being in a job creates hope.

Full employment will go a long way to tackling crime.

Full employment will mean we can afford for all New Zealander to grow old with dignity and grace.

Jim Anderton’s name has been associated with one word for many years now: jobs.

He created a whole new government department dedicated to creating new jobs.

And in the last two and half years we have created 104,000 new jobs.

We have the lowest unemployment in fifteen years.

The regions are starting to flourish again.

When the Clark/Anderton government first came to power, there was a joke doing the rounds: last person in Invercargill turn out the lights!

Now there’s so much happening in Invercargill, I don’t think the lights ever go out! (Or perhaps that’s Tim Shadbolt’s influence!)

As Minister of Corrections, I know the importance of full employment for crime prevention.

There are families who have lived through generations of unemployment.

There are kids growing up in those families who have never seen an adult go out to work.

We want jobs all New Zealanders.

And I want to get to those kids before they grow up into the next generation of criminals.

Because early intervention works best, costs less.

My About Time report has driven the early intervention initiatives in the last government, and the Progressive Coalition will make getting to kids in trouble a top priority in the next term.

That’s why we want “One Stop Shops’ - social workers, police and other professionals - based in all low decile schools across New Zealand.

At the other end, we want to make sure violent offenders are locked up for longer - life if necessary.

We have new legislation to make it happen and I’m building four new prisons to house the extra inmates that will be in prison.

All the other parties represented here today have opposed each of my new prisons.

You can’t be anti-crime and anti-prison.

The Clark-Anderton government has given New Zealanders a new sense of hope and pride.

Those of us in government around Jim Anderton are particularly proud to see Kiwibanks sprouting up all over the regions of New Zealand.

We have secured superannuation for future generations by ear-marking a super-fund that cannot be fiddled with by politicians.

That fund is safe and secure.

All other parties here will find reasons to criticise the fund. But let me ask you this:

Which one of those parties has promised to raise taxes to fund superannuation? None of them.

That is why we have taken the politics out of super by ring-fencing the money so that it has nothing to do with future political parties and their policies on tax.

The Progressive Coalition also wants a winter energy rebate for superannuitants, of $15 dollars a month.

That’s $15 dollars off your power bills every month.

We also want that for low income-earners and beneficiaries.

We have made significant achievements in government in the area of health under Jim Anderton’s leadership:

- No-one is more than an hour’s drive from a hospital.

- Hospital waiting list are down.

- We have increased health spending by $3 billion over four years.

But that’s just a start: the Progressive Coalition is committed to free health for all school children and all superannuitants.

But we have to be back around that cabinet table to do that.

With your help we will be.

The Clark-Anderton government has been the most popular government in more than thirty years.

We can do it again.

Jim Anderton, myself and others have proved that we can be a reliable and constructive partner for Labour.

We won’t make threats to bring the government down - but we will make progress.

- More jobs - we want everyone under 20 off the dole and in a job or training

- Free health for kids and superannuitants

- More initiatives to get to kids in trouble before they grow into hardened criminals and get to you

- Steps towards free education (increase student allowances and give students the opportunity to pay off debt by working in the regions.)

- GE - no release until safe.

- Anti- drugs campaign and harsh penalties for anyone found dealing to kids.

To do this, we need your candidate vote for Jim Anderton.

And we need your party vote to continue to be a check on Labour around the cabinet table.

Ends


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