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ACT's The Letter - 13 October 2003

ACT's The Letter - 13 October 2003


13 October 2003


At midday today there was the first ever joint press conference of the leaders of the centre right parties. Richard Prebble, Bill English, and Winston Peters issued a combined statement opposing the government’s intention to change the country’s constitution by a bare parliamentary majority of three.

We should value having a final court of neutral international judges.


Margaret Wilson is the country’s most dangerous politician. Abolishing the Privy Council and appointing the judges to a court from which there is no appeal is a necessary step on Margaret Wilson’s’ agenda – the creation of the Socialist Republic of Aotearoa (SRA).


The press conference was to call for a referendum on the Privy Council.

The Clerk of the House has approved the wording. If we win the referendum ACT will seek to reactivate the appeal right. For a referendum we need 310,000 names. There are over 30,000 Letter readers. Attached is the petition. If we all get 8 names and National and New Zealand First does the same – we will have the required names.

The petition is a legal document. All names must be enrolled voters so the names and address must be clear. The petitions must be posted back to Stephen Franks MP, Freepost Parliament, P O Box 18888, Wellington. More copies can be downloaded from ACT’s website


The press conference was not a grand-coalition of the centre right but an example of the centre right working together. ACT Leader Richard Prebble, who has been leading the debate on the necessity of the centre right coalition to replace Labour, has been saying it is not necessary or desirable for the centre right parties to have common manifestos. ACT is the low tax, pro-business free enterprise party. National must remain a centre party to win the constituency seats. While ACT does not agree with Peters’ immigration statements or his populist tax and spend, Peters’ does have important things to say on Maori issues.

All that the centre right parties need for electoral support is to show that they can work together.

The Privy Council is an example.

U-TURN FOR UNITED Labour thought that the United party was going to support the new Supreme Court, and in the select committee the United MP voted to abolish the Privy Council.

The party has been losing supporters and funding for its support of the Labour government that legalises prostitution, widens social welfare, and proposes to prosecute parents who discipline. The few Christian businessmen that gave 80% of the party’s funds said that United’s support for the abolition of the Privy Council was too much. So the u-turn.

Peter Dunne at first agreed to join today’s joint press conference and then said he would just issue a press statement of support!


Rodney Hide has revealed that the Labour government has spent $2.1 million funding anti-smoking groups ASH, the Smoke free coalition and Aparangi Tautoko Auahi Kore (ATAK) to, as ASH contract says, “maintain a profile through the media with a presence in the print media, radio or television at least 50 times a year”. The ATAK contract requires them to lobby “key portfolio MPs and Maori MPs.” The organizations were contracted by the government to present submissions to select committees with the purpose to “influence and promote healthy public policy”.

The contracts are in direct violation of the public service code of conduct. Labour’s first reaction was to defend the contracts. Then to say, falsely, that National did it. Now to get an ‘in-house’ review by the State Services Commission.


The Prime Minister Helen Clark crucified Timberlands Chief Executive Kit Richards for promoting lobbying for Timberlands. Education Minister and ASH condemned the anti-drug Life Education Trust for having accepted a $100,000 donation (no strings attached) from British American Tobacco. Trevor Mallard called on schools to boycott the Life Education Trust programmes and ASH said the donation raised a “moral and ethical” issue.

At no time has ASH told parliament or the media that their campaign for the private members anti-smoking bill was being secretly funded by the taxpayer.

The contracts even contain a clause that the lobby groups agree not to attack the government.


The Letter understands that Helengrad is furious with the Ministry of Health. Not because they gave ASH and the Maori groups money but because they wrote down in the contract what it was really for. The Labour government has got buying lobby groups down to a fine art. The purpose is always a lofty one, such as, promoting the environment, and even developing business. The groups know that what they are really being paid for is to influence public opinion. It is clever. It works. It is corrupt.


Deborah Coddington’s new book “Let Parents Choose: Why parents should have freedom and choice in their children’s education” is based on her time as a research fellow at Cambridge University. Deborah shows how countries that have school choice are out performing New Zealand. She writes, “It is time to remove the state monopoly from education and let parents choose. Education is too important to be a political issue. Politicians can’t decide what’s best for each individual child – why do they even try?”

Deborah’s book will be in all good bookshops soon and is available now at


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