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The Right Talk - 21 February 2003

The Right Talk - 21 February 2003

National Economic Strategy

Next week National will launch an economic discussion document. Economic debate has long been characterised by public relations spin, but this document takes a long term view. It is unashamedly a basis for discussion; a starting point for a national growth strategy.

Clouds on the horizon indicate the golden weather for exports is coming to an end, and the warm glow of the strong property market will inevitably fade. Watch discussion about growth take on a more serious tone as it again becomes clear that economic progress can't be taken for granted.

Catching the Knowledge Wave

The last Knowledge Wave conference was sponsored by the Governemnt and overrun with Ministers. There were dozens of recommendations but none of them were put into practice. This time the Government is generally staying away (which should lift the level of discussion). But unfortunately the outcome is set to be the same, Helen Clark blasted anyone who didn't precisely agree with her Government's direction. She accused them of being part of some far right conspiracy and also hinted that she was preparing to lay any recommendations to one side of her desk.

The Treaty Grows Another Leg

You thought you knew a bit about the Treaty - that it had three articles, for instance. Well, think again. The Waitangi Tribunal has now accepted a claim under Article 4, apparently a verbal agreement for religious freedom. The claim says the Government should compensate Maori for its failure to meet the Treaty obligation to protect Maori religious belief. Will it succeed? Tribunal Chair Eddie Durie argued in 1996 that 'Article 4' is evidence of the Treaty intention "to have its law in two streams". So the claim is another roll of the consitutional snowball that must be stopped. Check out Simon Upton's speech at the Knowledge Wave.

Which War?

"Sending more ships to the Indian Ocean, technically as part of the Afghanistan effort (what might be called the Canadian option), would free American and other vessels for a military campaign in Iraq. It would be a tangible endorsement of any American-led attack." The Economist 15 Feb 2003.

The Economist is talking about Japan and Canada. But we have a frigate in the Gulf and one on its away. A Hercules and an Orion will be in Qatar, with Canadian and American forces. The Afghan Operation Enduring Freedom is under the command of one General Tommy Franks, the same Tommy Franks in charge of Iraqi operations . Helen Clark's dance of the seven veils is hiding from the Left that we will be as close to the Iraqi War as we can get without being in it.

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