robson-on-politics Fri 10 October
Steps towards sovereignty
I expect that Parliament will pass the Supreme Court Bill into law next week. By establishing the final appeal court in our own country, we are taking another step towards full nationhood. More New Zealanders will be able to access the fourth tier of appeals, as the Bill makes a wider range of cases eligible than those that could be taken to the Privy Council. It will be more affordable too, whereas the old system cost $1 million just to get to London. To the usual suspects, claiming that the sky will fall in response to every progressive step the coalition govern-ment takes - and the sun is in the sky - I say this. Three parties of the future, Labour Progressive and the Greens went to the electorate in 2002 with a commitment to establish the Supreme Court and between us, we gained a majority in Parliament.
There is an electoral mandate.
See: Matt Robson's statement
Genetic engineering and the NOOM Bill
The Progressives moved amendments this week to ensure the extension of the moratorium on GE food products until there is greater certainty about their effect on our economy, human health and environmental sustainability. As the House considered the New Organisms and Other Matters Bill (NOOM) I said it is time for a sensible and pragmatic approach to the safeguarding of New Zealand and its economic interests. Three important factors are: there is no scientific consensus on the safety of GM organisms in the environment; the economic benefits of GM release have not been established; and the Progressives, speaking through their delegates at conference, want to see the moratorium continue. We support many aspects of the NOOM Bill but we are firm in our view that the time has not arrived for releases into the food chain to begin. See this week's announcement:
Alcohol, NZ's no. 1 problem drug
Jim Anderton speaking to the Wellington Region Alcohol Forum said that alcohol is both New Zealand's no. 1 problem drug, as well as the no 1. recreational drug. He told the forum that Dr Wiggers, who met the Ministerial Committee on Drug Policy, has interesting figures from Australia and New Zealand in relation to violence and crime associated with alcohol abuse.
Jim, the Dominion Post's Winner of the Week
"Progressive leader Jim Anderton, who successfully tempered enthusiasm in Labour for earlier and steeper tariff cuts," the Dom reported. In Canterbury, the Press reported our position clearly: "Progressive Party leader Jim Anderton, who campaigned against rapid tariff reduction, said the key objective of the Government's programme was to minimise adjustment pressures on firms and regions. 'What we rejected was a unilateral move to zero tariffs by 2010. What we will have is a further review in 2006 to determine appropriate tariff rates after 1 July, 2009,' he said." By being constructive partners in coalition, the Progressives can and do make a difference.
Police using powers to pot P
Progressive leader Jim Anderton has led the coalition's anti-drugs initiatives and given Police more powers to fight the scourge of P. It is good to see the Police using those powers to arrest 54 people yesterday across Auckland, taking up to 24 dealers off the streets. As a result of law changes we initiated they face life imprisonment when they appear in Court.
Ahmed Zaoui, former MP and asylum seeker
After representations over time from myself and Keith Locke MP, and a medical report, Mr Zaoui's position is being reviewed. Police Commissioner Rob Robinson came to see me on Wednesday and he is reviewing the way Police deal with asylum seekers - who are not criminals. I have now written to my 52 Labour Party colleagues on how our humanitarian ideals are relevant to Mr Zaoui.
I cheered on the Panthers as they plucked the Roosters in a real rugby contest on Sunday. Other news this week on growing high tech high value jobs on the North Shore; Kiwibank delivering competition; and more on GE can be found at http://www.progressive.org.nz
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