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The Right Talk, The Leader's View - 15 July 2003

The Right Talk, The Leader's View
15 July 2003

It really was a great conference

You might not have thought it from the media coverage, but our annual conference was a great success, demonstrating that the Party grass roots is in perfect tune with the Caucus over the policies we are pursuing. In fact, I have never seen a conference where the feeling of the Party was so much in tune with the political wing. With 450 delegates, it was a big conference, too, for a party in mid-term and in Opposition. And we elected a strong new board that will be empowered by the new streamlined constitution. National is on the move and now equipped to fight an MMP election. Party members should not be despondent about the sideshow events surrounding Maurice Williamson, which drew the media attention. Although it would have been better for us in terms of news coverage if the sideshow had not arisen, the fact that this anger by delegates could not possibly be suppressed was a healthy sign. I understand this because I shared the frustration of delegates. We will settle this and move on to become stronger, more unified and more directed.

Paying to get access to the beach

The "One Standard of Citizenship For All" policy platform, applauded at our conference, gets more resonance by the day. Not only are our beaches under claim, but so are oil, gas and mineral claims and now the seabed extending beyond the 200-mile economic zone. Apart from the vast commercial liabilities involved, this raises the spectre of future generations of Kiwis having to pay for access to their beaches. When travelling abroad we have always looked askance at countries which imposed such charges and contrasted this with our wonderful, accessible shoreline. The trouble is, Labour is going weak at the knees on its initial promise to legislate to safeguard foreshore ownership for all New Zealanders. Helen Clark has been more interested in chatting to her leftie mates in Europe than overseeing the secret bargaining Labour is conducting on these claims. National's stance is unequivocal: we will legislate to ensure the beaches of New Zealand remain open to all - for free.

What the conference was promised

Apart from saving our beaches and foreshore for all, key points in our policy platform were approved at this conference. We know these will be popular with the electorate and we believe they are essential to reverse the social engineering and to get New Zealand back on track. National will:

* Abolish the Maori seats

* Close the book on new Treaty claims after 12 months

* Bring in work for the dole

* Dump the flatulence tax on farm animals

* Remove the worst excesses of the Resource Management Act and the Local Government Amendment Act, such as the so-called "taniwha" clause.

* Remove the raft of compliance costs suffocating small business

* Restore our standing with traditional allies.

See the full speech to the conference on the National Party website: http://www.national.org.nz

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