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The Mainland Report - 'Commonsense in Action'

The Mainland Report - 'Commonsense in Action' No. 3, 1 Feb 2003
Welcome to the first Mainland Report for 2003. I hope you have had a wonderful and safe Christmas. This edition is not only a catch-up from last year but a look at what lies ahead for United Future in the year to come.

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New Criminal Justice research on the way!

Personally, I have been extremely busy over the last few weeks conducting research into a new approach for the criminal justice system. It has always seemed to me that successive Governments have allocated resources to areas that are the intellectual flavour of the month all the while neglecting other areas less in currency. It is also evident that what is required is an inventory of all our programs, a rigorous assessment of them (weeding out those that are the least cost effective and do not foster best practice outcomes), and taking a more integrated holistic approach.

Some of the areas I have looked into include the role of drugs and alcohol abuse with emphasis on the marijuana debate, new technologies and offender profiling, prison systems and the newly installed IOM (Integrated Offender Management) program, City planning and even nutritional deficiencies in youth crime. There is a mountain of information to put together but I believe it is imperative to structure a coherent and inclusive approach if we are to develop policies that are equal to the task that lies ahead if we are to ever turn the criminal tide and spare future New Zealanders from becoming victims. If there are issues you would like to raise please Contact Marc on: marc.alexander@parliament.govt.nz Marc will be in Blenheim on Saturday 1st of February at the Blues, Brews & BBQ's as a Celebrity Judge. If you're up that way, say hi!

?Christchurch Office; Highlight House,Cnr. Cashel & Manchester Streets, Christchurch.Tel: 374 6804?

Something that all politicians should remember and have as their credo. "The easiest thing in the world is to tell the truth, then you don't have to remember what you said." Hollywood producer Robert Evans Last Years issues in brief

Thursday, 21 November, 2002

United Future to oppose Progressive Coalition Holiday Bill United Future New Zealand leader, Peter Dunne, today told the New Zealand Retailers' Association that his party would not be supporting the Member's Bill proposed by the Progressive Coalition's Matt Robson seeking four weeks' annual leave for all New Zealand workers. After careful consideration of Mr Robson's Bill, it is our belief that the families of New Zealand will be better served by policies such as splitting the incomes of breadwinners and child carers for tax purposes, paid parental leave, and by increasing family support payments," said Mr Dunne. "Nor do we believe that this is the right time to be loading New Zealand businesses with extra compulsory costs," he said Friday, 6 December 2002

Alexander seeks stronger rules for objectionable videos United Future New Zealand MP, Marc Alexander, is delighted his Member's Bill strengthening the law concerning classification of films, video and publications has been drawn from the ballot and will be considered by Parliament early next year.

"The Films, Videos, and Publications Classification (Meaning of Objectionable) Amendment Bill is intended to restore the original intention of Parliament when it passed the law relating to the meaning of what is 'objectionable'," he said.

"The original Act gave examples of what might be considered objectionable, but in practice, the courts have been ruling that those examples, and those examples alone, can be seen as objectionable, meaning much material that does not exactly conform to the definition have been getting through.

"My Bill will widen the definition so that this further objectionable material will be caught, as Parliament originally intended. The Bill's objective has the support of the Chief Censor, Bill Hastings," said Mr Alexander.

Tuesday, 10 December 2002

United Future opposes introduction of Supreme Court Bill United Future New Zealand leader, Peter Dunne, announced today the United Future caucus had decided to oppose the introduction of the Supreme Court Bill, which aims to cut New Zealand's links to the Privy Council.

"This is a major constitutional change," he said, "and therefore we believe it requires a significant public debate involving all New Zealanders."

The caucus will ask the Government to postpone the introduction of the Bill for 12 months to allow that debate to take place. Sunday, 15 December 2002

Blumsky joins board of United Future New Zealand The former Mayor of Wellington, Mark Blumsky, has joined the ten-strong board of the United Future New Zealand party. Welcoming Mr Blumsky, leader Peter Dunne said "I am delighted with the high calibre of New Zealanders who are joining us as United Future continues to set new goals for bringing sensible, thoughtful policies to the business of Government."

Tuesday, 17 December 2002

Reeves joins United Future The former National MP, Graeme Reeves, is the new secretary-treasurer of United Future New Zealand. Mr Reeves, a Wellington lawyer, was MP for Miramar from 1990 to 1993. He says he's delighted to be joining the party which he describes as "alive, focussed and intelligent". "I'm very comfortable with United Future's economic policies and I'm particularly pleased with its social policies, especially the focus on the family," he said.

Q&A on the Families Commission

What is the Commission's legal structure and status? The commission will be established as an autonomous Crown entity. How many commissioners will there be? Up to seven commissioners can be appointed including one head Commissioner and a mix of full-time and part-time Commissioners. Initially two full-time and four part-time commissioners will be appointed, including the head Commissioner. Multiple Commissioners will effectively reflect the diversity that is characteristic of families in New Zealand.

When will it open for business?

The Families commission will be established by 1 July 2004. What sort of people does the Government have in mind to be commissioners? People with a publicly recognised interest in family initiatives. We would like to see Commissioners reflect a broad cross section of ethnicity, gender and age. What will the Families Commission's relationship be with other family agencies like the Commissioner for Children, the Retirement Commissioner, CYPFS, Plunket etc? To fulfil its advocacy function, the Families Commission will need to be responsive to a range of interests associated with families and family groups. The Families Commission will be required to establish mechanisms to allow it to work effectively alongside, and receive advice from, the various communities of interest including Maori as tangata whenua, Pacific peoples and other ethnic and cultural groups, parents including groups representing fathering interests, children and young people and groups representing their interests, women, service providers, academics, researchers, family law specialists, employers and so on. What guarantees are there that the Families Commission will not simply duplicate other agencies' work and add to the bureaucratic labyrinth? It is not intended that the Commission replicate any current functions. A number of government agencies play a role in the provision of family policy, services, and research but no agency has a specific role to publicly advocate for families. Therefore the primary function will be to advocate for the family as a social institution, both at the government level and in the public arena generally. What teeth will the Families Commission have in enforcing its views about what constitutes family-friendly law? The Families Commission will be recognised as a key stakeholder on family related issues and the expectation is that Ministers will invite the Commission to participate in the policy process in that role. What is the scope of the Families Commission? * The Families Commission will adopt a broad and inclusive approach to families * To act as an advocate for families (being advocacy for families generically or as social institutions rather than an individual family's particular case or issue) * Raise awareness of issues affecting families including support of parenting, marriage and committed relationships and promote informed public discussion * Have a degree of independence from government but be subject to statutory guidance and have regard to any priorities identified by government.

United Future six months on

Proving that the MMP electoral system can provide stable government has been highlighted by United Future New Zealand leader, Peter Dunne, as a major achievement by the party in the six months since the voters put eight United MP's into Parliament at the last election. "It's remarkable to think that just six short months ago, all the pundits and commentators were writing United Future off as a political force," he said. "Yet today, we can point to a record of achievement that includes the establishment of a Families Commission that will greatly benefit New Zealand in the future; the enactment of legislation that will eventually see our transport infrastructure brought into the 21st century; and the strengthening of the rights of crime victims." "This is a record that many other parties with many more years in Parliament would be proud to claim. "Perhaps even more importantly, I am very pleased with the role that United Future has played in allowing the Government to progress its legislative programme and to ensure New Zealanders get the Government they voted for," said Mr Dunne. "At the same time, United Future has retained the right to assert its own policies, even where they conflict with the Government's, and the right to lobby the Government strongly and effectively to moderate its more radical proposals." "We have opposed anti-business moves like the new Occupational Safety and Health laws, for example." Mr Dunne commented that public support for United Future was growing steadily as middle New Zealanders, disillusioned by the inadequate extremist options available to them in the current political vacuum, realised that United Future was providing credible policies of commonsense and intelligent thought, rather than empty slogans rooted in theory, not reality. "New Zealanders are yearning for moderate, commonsense leadership that gets on with the job, without resorting to the tired old politics of name-calling, sensationalism, and cheap stunts. "I have no doubt that the party can continue to grow in public esteem and prominence to become a major long-term player in New Zealand politics," he said. "Given that we are the party that makes MMP work, I believe we will go from strength to strength as the New Zealand public realises that stability in Government is a vital ingredient in the social and economic development of New Zealand," said Mr Dunne.

Re: 1st February "To all our Chinese friends, I wish you a very prosperous and happy New Year!!"- Marc Alexander

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