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Richard Prebble's Letter From Wellington - June 3

The Letter
3 June 2003


The Green Party conference at Karapiro was potentially the Party’s most important since they split from the Alliance. The Party that had expected to be in government with Labour finds itself irrelevant and facing electoral defeat. The Green politicians are still keen on office and can see opportunities: move to the left and take the Alliance’s electoral support; modify their anti-GE stance and become Labour’s only option. The Greens agree the United Party is finished. How could Peter Dunne allow his “biblically based” Commission for the Family become the politically correct Families Commission?


The Green position has been that once GE is in the environment, it’s the end of the world - so the Party has pledged it’s a non-negotiable bottom line. The Greens had promised extra parliamentary protests when the moratorium is lifted in October. The Party leadership went to the conference with a new strategy – oppose GE but still let us be in coalition with a GE supporting Labour Party. Can a Party that comprises on GE credibly be called Green?


Jeanette Fitzsimmons has promised her husband to retire at the next election. The greens’ constitution demands gender-balanced leadership. Problem: none of the women MPs are Green. There is Sue Kedgley who is batty about battery hens, Sue Bradford who is a red, and Metiria Turei is an anarchist/Maori sovereigntist who makes Tariana Turia look mainstream. The next candidate on their list is Catherine Delahunty, a real Green. The Caucus has been trying to persuade Ian Ewen-Street to take a long honeymoon with his new love and let Delahunty into parliament. He’s resisting - so parliament may win over love for Jeanette also.


If the left can’t form a government can the centre/right? Winston Peters has not lasted as a minister more than two years on two occasions. NZ First’s irrational immigration views are unacceptable to ACT. An even bigger problem is Winston’s popularist approach to big government and big spending. However National, ACT and NZ First do agree that the Treaty industry is out of control. A coalition where ACT, not NZ First, was in second place ensuring sound economic policies and NZ First was handling the Treaty issues, is a formula for stable government. Richard Prebble’s speech is on http://www.act.org.nz/grandcoalition


It is expected that the Reserve Bank will cut interest rates yet again this week. The latest economic data shows a $1 billion dollar drop in earning from the farming sector last year – hard spring, drought and falling milk prices. The Australian, British and the US Fed are all expected to lower interest rates. But should NZ? Inflation is under 3% but only because the price of imports are falling. Strip out the imported prices and domestic inflation is at 3.5% and rising. The critical shortage of skills is seeing wages rise faster than inflation. If the Kiwi falls (as the Governor wants) the strong internal inflation will be revealed. Inflation is easy to create and very hard to eliminate.


Phil Goff’s picture, hand in hand with Arafat, was shown around the world. Goff knew when he requested his meeting with Israeli PM Sharon that the meeting would be cancelled if he then sought to meet with Arafat. The Munich Olympic terrorism was planned and executed by Arafat’s movement. He has done nothing to stop the suicide bombing. Goff, who spent six months as a student on a Kibbutz in Israel has not explained why he has chosen to make this gesture of defiance to Israel and the US. It is impossible to see how NZ’s interests have been advanced.


Associate Maori Affairs Minister John Tamihere has been predicting a dozen Maori seats, saying the Maori population will reach 28%, 749,000, in 2021, and a million by 2051. Yeah right, and Christian Cullen is a Maori. Claiming every one with any Maori blood is Maori is harmless when it’s rugby, but not so when it is used to pick those who govern us all.


The Government’s spin in Te Mangai Paho is that there is nothing wrong with the policies and procedures but they were not followed. That’s like saying there is nothing wrong with law and order except some people break the law. Actually, the report shows the procedures are not ok. Thousands of dollars were taken without a contract, agreements, or services. That’s called theft. Why hasn’t the Government called in the police? Employees, including the chief executive, are working, handing out $48 million of taxpayers’ money, without having a written employment contract. Illegal. Rodney Hide has more to come.


Documents released under the Official Information Act show officials advised against Labour’s new dog laws. The Minister was told, “Inform the public that there has not been an increase in the number of dog attacks and that the incidence of dog attacks, under the current Act, is decreasing.” Officials advised that identification of dog breeds is “problematic” and “Customs would not be able to identify and prevent the importation” of specific breeds. The UK Dangerous Dogs Act 1991 “has had no effect on the incidence of dog bites.” The ad hoc Ministerial group on dog control recommended against the new measures. ACT will post the documents on http://www.act.org.nz/dogs this Thursday.

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