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robson-on-politics 22 August

robson-on-politics 22 August

Mark 20th , 21st Sept in your diary Four weeks from today I will be getting ready for the Progressives' inaugural conference at the Waipuna Hotel & Conference Centre on the banks of the Panmure Basin.

I expect that over 150 delegates will come together Sat 20th & Sun 21st Sept to celebrate our formation, success in getting elected to the 47th Parliament, and the pro-gress we have made in a year in coalition government.

We've had a good year: more people in jobs (1,911,000) than ever before; unemployment at the lowest since 1987; progress on four weeks leave; achieved a Corner-stone Commitment on work/life balance; and more.

Everyone is welcome to the public sessions and members of course can attend the whole conference. Contact Sally Griffin, , ph 09 273 8150, or fax 09 274 5176 to express your interest.

The full programme is at

Ross Wilson and Sir Howard Morrison Two prominent New Zealanders will be delivering keynote addresses to conference on the Saturday morning from 11am. Ross will be speaking on working life issues, an important issue for the Progressives as we work to deliver more jobs and a better quality of life. Sir Howard speaking on Maori development will be able to talk about his hands-on experience in providing education and leadership for young people. He works under contract to Te Puni Kokiri delivering initiatives for rangitahi (youth development). I expect both speakers to attract significant attention.

Making progress on work-life balance Progress on work-life balance issues is a cornerstone commitment for the Progressives - a top priority issue, which we wrote into the coalition agreement. On Tuesday, the coalition announced an integrated work programme to develop family-friendly and other policies promoting work-life balance. As the Jobs Party, work for all who can work is the our top priority. Not for the sake of it, but to enable all to enjoy a fulfilling life. There needs to be a balance between work and the enjoyment of life outside work. See: and the Cornerstone Commitment at with policy links

Pacific Forum The Forum got off to a spectacular start with an amazing cultural performance which showed the journey through Polynesia to New Zealand for many Pacific peoples. It reflected both the hardship and the triumph in the new country of New Zealand. The conference itself had the hard job of concentrating on key developmental issues that are at the root of instability in the Pacific. There was clearly a clash between the Australian concept of policing the Pacific as against New Zealand's more balanced approach to development and security. Sadly, little progress was made on the tough issue of West Papua, although Vanuatu pushed hard.

Media analysis on safer communities Of course I like it when the media say positive things about the Progressives, but it was more than that when I read New Plymouth's Daily News paper of 16 August. Under the headline 'Catching lawless before they can commit their crimes' they said: "The award for the most commonsense suggestion on crime prevention recently has to go to Progressive Coalition MP Matt Robson, who says there needs to be a stronger push to intervene with young people before they start a life of crime. He says helping an angry and defiant five-year-old costs $5000 and has a 70% chance of success. It is a lot cheaper than locking the same person up as an adult offender at a cost of $50,000 and with a 75% chance of re-offending." The Daily News recognizes that there is more to the justice debate and safer communities than the simplistic lock-'em-up-for-longer arguments of some politicians. We need to stop crime before it happens. I will keep on saying that early intervention is one of the best tools to do this, and we must have more of it. See: and Matt Robson's About time report (pdf format) at

More on these issues at and on another high flying export success, why we differ from Labour on student fees, and tackling child alcohol abuse. robson-on-politics is available by email and fax. If someone you know would like to subscribe, email or fax: 04 472 7620

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