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Richard Prebble’s Letter From Wellington

Richard Prebble’s Letter From Wellington


Why have electorate agents for list MPs? How do you take rules written for electorate MPs and apply them to a list MP whose electorate stretches from North Cape to Stewart Island? How do you apply rules written before fax machines were invented, to the cyber age? How parties operate electorate agents has always been different. Richard Prebble as an MP for Auckland Central used to help illiterate constituents fill out state house applications. ACT MPs do not get many requests for advice on social welfare emergency assistance but they do get asked for in-depth, quality information on, eg, the Land Transport Management bill. Richard Prebble has written an article for the Herald on the real issue. See http://www.act.org.nz/e-politics.


The new look Herald has put its journalists’ by-lines by every story and let journalists have their lead and print any allegation they like against ACT. Audrey Young has, in front-page stories, claimed that ACT has broken the rules to “benefit financially” and “the scheme could save…around $150,000 per year”. What readers have not been told is that Parliamentary Services has said ACT’s pooling of resources is not secret, is allowed, every dollar is accounted for, and ACT does not receive any extra money by this arrangement.

James Gardiner and Vernon Small in a front page Herald story created the impression that there was trouble between ACT MPs and Engineering, Printing and Manufacturing Union delegates when both groups were staying at the same Waiheke Hotel. The Herald did not print that the two groups got on so well the union delegates invited Stephen Franks and Rodney Hide to visit the ACI factory. Having manufactured these stories the Herald had the nerve to write “The timing is catastrophic for ACT. It holds its conference [this] weekend…Will there be any takers now?”. Come and prove them wrong.


Most ACT voters are in the Herald circulation area. ACT got 12% of the list vote in Auckland (National just 19%). The Herald’s attacks do not seem to have fazed ACT voters though it is clearly the reason why the NBR and the Dominion Post’s Auckland readership keeps rising and The Letter has set new circulation records this year.


Labour’s new Land Transport Management bill is going to turn every new road into a political decision. The history of NZ politics was roads and bridges - MPs made their careers by getting taxpayer funding for a road for their electorates. The old National Roads Board, now Transit, has as its central policy the legal requirement to provide “safe and efficient roads”. This depoliticised roading decisions. Engineers were able to develop robust cost/benefit ratios and safety records so that new roading could be prioritised in a non-political list. The new bill scraps the need for efficiency and instead sets social, environmental and cultural criteria. There is no way to objectively assess roading by social or cultural factors. Politicians will be making the decisions. This nonsense has come about to keep the Green MPs’ vote. ACT has on our website the bill, objective analysis and how to


qLabour is grateful for the Greens’ likening Australian PM, John Howard, to Saddam Hussein. This has enabled the PM to portray her policy stance as moderate. In fact Clark has moved from saying it’s the duty of every UN member to support Security Council decisions, to a refusal to support the implementation of a new Security Council resolution, and refusal to condemn France’s possible veto (France is a third rate power and its veto is an anachronism). The post-Saddam consequences for NZ’s hostility to the USA, UK and Australia will be profound. Beehive officials, touting that US Trade Representative Bob Zoellick telling a congressional committee that free trade talks with the USA were a possibility was a “significant statement”, shows how out-to-lunch Labour really is. All of NZ’s friends in Washington say Labour is completely deluded. A US/NZ free trade agreement is not on the USA’s


Michael Cullen is using the age-old technique of dowsing down expectations. He is telling the credulous media that he will be holding a hard line on expenditure. The Letter understands that there will be significant new social spending. The Finance Minister will present the new spending as moderate and fiscally neutral but Labour’s spending Ministers believe they have achieved considerable success.


Labour is embarrassed at having to admit that Ministers did talk about achieving top half of the OECD by 2011 and now admitting that it is not achievable. ACT believes for once the ninth floor spin is correct; Helen Clark never supported the goal. What she said was, it’s achievable “if we set our minds to it”. She has always set her mind against it. Clark is convinced that any government that tackles NZ’s structural problems – 350,000 able-bodied adults on welfare, real tax reform – will be swept away.


This weekend ACT’s conference in Wellington will debate the real issues. Nobel prizewinner, Milton Friedman, agreed to speak because he believes ACT is a unique party advocating freedom, choice and personal responsibility. You can register for the conference at http://www.act.org.nz/conference.


Email received by Ken Shirley:

Subject: -----Original Message----- From: [Withheld] Sent: Tuesday, 25 February 2003 10:32 p.m. To: Ken Shirley


I strongly oppose the prostitute reform bill.

I am a primary school Teacher , I know if you teach kids good thing in life they will be an asset to the society,

If you choose to support wrong things in the society, you are responsible for the damage tha's going to happen to the families and to the nation in future .

(signature) Mr Ken

The electoral roll confirms the writer is indeed a teacher, but he appears to have a remarkably similar writing style to the local terrorist who has been sending cyanide.

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