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Right Talk 7 July 2003

Right Talk 7 July 2003.

The Right Talk, The Leader's view


7 July 2003

And now for our party conference

National's three-day annual Party conference starts in Christchurch on Friday. It is only a year since the election, but our rebuilding process is well under way. The biggest constitutional changes in Party history have shaped the party organisation for the MMP era. The first meeting of the Party's new board of directors will be held on Sunday and will elect the president. Significantly, the first policy session on Friday will highlight our new Welfare policy. As you will all be aware from Katherine Rich's policy discussion paper, National rejects the concept that Welfare should be a lifestyle choice. We will return Welfare to the safety net that it was originally designed to be. Mickey Savage will be spinning in his grave over Labour's approach to welfare choice. In other sessions the conference will deal with Immigration, Health policy and Treaty issues. Finance spokesman Don Brash will lead the session on the Economy and another session will discuss one of our main infrastructure bottlenecks: the need for more roads.

One standard of citizenship

In my address to the conference I will be stressing the need for one standard of citizenship for all. National firmly opposes the widespread "social engineering" that is taking place under Labour and the march down the road to separate development. We reject that, just as we oppose the secrecy involved in Labour's negotiations over seabed and foreshore ownership. After the initial outcry over the court decision, Labour promised that it would legislate to ensure ownership and access rights were preserved for all. Ever since it has been rowing back on the promise and deal-making in secret. This is outrageous behaviour: first issue political spin in a bid to soothe the electorate, and then make deals, and no doubt payoffs, in secret. Such broken promises are not new. Labour promised not to increase taxes, but has now introduced 15 extra taxes or levies, with the flatulence tax being the latest example. This is bringing a bitter reaction also, with farmers justifiably angry that they are bearing the cost of Labour's political correctness in the rush to be one of the first to sign up to the Kyoto protocols.

Politicising the courts

National, Act and New Zealand first have cooperated to place a check on the Government's plan to abolish the right of appeal to the Privy Council and to set up in its place a new Supreme Court that would have an agenda of turning the Treaty of Waitangi into a Constitution. We believe all New Zealanders should have a chance of expressing their views on this issue by means of a referendum. A copy of a voting form seeking a referendum is attached to this newsletter and I urge readers to print it off, sign it, and return it to our Justice spokesman, Richard Worth, at Parliament. Postage is not necessary on letters to MPs, but it is necessary to sign a printed form. Electronic responses are not acceptable and do not count.

ENDS

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