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More Progress, No Threats - Robson To Grey Power

Friday 19 July 2002

Matt Robson, Deputy Leader

More Progress, no threats

Speech

Grey power - North Shore, Auckland

Thank you for the invitation to speak today. I’m Matt Robson and I am the Deputy Leader of Jim Anderton’s Progressive Coalition.

In Auckland, the Progressive Coalition is seeking your Party Vote - with one exception.

Grant Gillon is standing in Northcote for the Progressive Coalition and he will make a great local electorate MP. So I will get in a plug for Grant early on.

We’re ambitious for our country - that’s what the Progressive Coalition is all about.

At the core of our mission is jobs.

Because being in a job creates hope and a stake in the community.

Full employment will go a long way to tackling crime.

Full employment will mean we can afford free health care and free education.

Full employment will mean we can look after our seniors better.

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, the regions were in decline.

Now in Southland, for example, they are advertising in Auckland to fill their job vacancies.

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.

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.

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 - on tap in all low decile schools across New Zealand.

At the other end, we want to make sure violent offenders are locked up for longer - and for the worst offenders, that means the rest of their life.

We have new legislation to keep violent criminals out of the community. That’s why I’m building four new prisons to house the extra inmates that will be in prison.

And ACT, National and the Greens have opposed each of my new prisons.

I have a message for them. 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 with Jim Anderton are proud to see Kiwibanks sprouting up all over New Zealand - 500 new accounts are being opened every day.

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.

It’s plain common sense to put funds aside today so we can ensure a living pension in the future.

National, ACT and the Greens criticise the fund. But let me ask you this:

Which one of those parties has promised to raise taxes to fund superannuation when it comes time to pay up? 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 wants a $15 a month winter energy rebate for superannuitants.

Winters can be harsh on older people. They need to keep warm to keep healthy and active.

$15 dollars off your power bills every month during winter will make a difference.

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 GP visits for all school children up to age 16 and for all retired people.

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

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.

- We want everyone under 20 off the dole and in a job, education or training;

- We want free GP visits for kids and superannuitants;

- We want to remove asset and income testing for geriatric care;

- We want to improve the quality and availability of mental health care;

- We want get to kids in trouble before they turn into tomorrow’s criminals;

- We want to give students the opportunity to pay off debt by working in the regions;

- We want to keep student fees frozen and progressively remove fees for first year tertiary students;

- We want to get drugs out of our schools, come down hard on those who sell drugs to our kids and launch a “drug-free’ campaign to convince young people to stay away from drugs.

And the Progressive Coalition wants to make our communities safer. The Clark-Anderton government has tougher penalties for violent crime. That’s why I am building four new prisons. The other parties might not like it, but bricks and mortar don’t lie.

So, on the 27th , give your Party Vote to Jim Anderton’s Progressive Coalition and your electorate vote to Grant Gillon in Northcote.

Thank you.


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