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A True ACT Victory in the War of Ideas

A True ACT Victory in the War of Ideas

ACT New Zealand welcomes the National Party statement of principles as espoused by Leader Bill English today, ACT New Zealand Deputy Leader Ken Shirley said today.

"Enterprise, personal responsibility, strong families and communities, freedom and choice, limited government, national and personal security and one-rule-for-all - these are all statements of ACT's core values and principles.

"We have campaigned consistently and vigorously on these principles since ACT New Zealand formed and then entered Parliament.

"It would be fair to say that ACT has been both frustrated and disappointed by the floundering of the National Party over recent years and we earnestly hope that they can now regroup around these principles that we share with them.

"We look forward to working co-operatively with the National Party in Parliament and holding them to these policy pledges. Any backsliding or future lack of commitment on their part to these principles will certainly be exposed by ACT.

"ACT regrets the lost opportunities of the former Bolger National Government and its failure to follow through with the Rogernomic reforms which were underpinned by these principles.

"The last National Government failed to take initiatives in key areas. The recommendation of the 1994 review of ACC to privatise all five accounts and introduce competition was not acted on - with the exception that one of the ACC accounts covering workplace accidents was privatised, but only a few months before the 1999 Election. Regretfully the incoming Labour Government was able to quickly reverse this very worthwhile initiative.

"The National Government failed to amend the non-nuclear legislation to allow for the visits of nuclear ships even though the Somers Report commissioned in 1992 showed that there was insignificant environmental risk and no strategic purpose for the continuation of this ban.

"Elements within National are now moving towards the ACT position and hopefully the party will support my Private Members Bill removing the ban on nuclear propelled ships.

`If the National Government had actually acted then, the rift between New Zealand and the USA could have been mended. New Zealand could have reactivated its participation within ANZUS and we would now be enjoying an equal status with Australia in negotiating a free trade agreement.

"The principles of enterprise, personal responsibility and freedom and choice were all severely compromised through the 1990s. The implementation of restrictive and intrusive legislation such as the Resource Management Act provide clear examples. Generally, compliance costs for business rocketed under the previous National Government, severely curtailing New Zealand's growth.

"Perhaps the most welcomed policy announced by National is the one-rule-for-all principle. This has been the cornerstone of ACT's policies and we were deeply dismayed when in Government National used their majority to vote down the ACT Bill promoted by Derek Quigley calling for a full, fair and final settlement of Treaty claims and the removal of all race laws. It now seems that National has adopted the exact position of ACT on this issue and that is commendable.

"I agree with Bill English that this is perhaps the most serious issue confronting the country at this time and unity and development are certainly preferable to division and dependency," Mr Shirley said.

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