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robson-on-politics Fri 24 October

robson-on-politics Fri 24 October

4 weeks leave campaign gathering steam

The Progressive Party's campaign for four weeks annual leave for all is gathering momentum. The Labour party position is not to introduce four weeks anytime soon, and the Progressives' position, shared by unions, is this is an urgent issue for low income families.

I look forward announcing the agreed timetable for enacting this much needed reform for some of the lowest income families in New Zealand. Four weeks leave has the support of a majority of parties in Parliament and huge support in the community. I look forward to continued Labour, Green and NZ First support.

The Progressive Party believes that four weeks annual leave is a critical financial issue in the battle to keep low income families in the productive workforce contributing to New Zealand's economic development. Four weeks is long overdue for this part of the productive workforce

To Nuke or Not To Nuke

Mr Bill English in his temporary role faces a tough decision. While the rival firm of ACT has already decided that nuking is good for the environment and would like us to team up with George Bush and Donald Rumsfeld in a number of joint ventures, Mr English wavers so that his business partners at the US Embassy are finding it hard to get a firm decision out of him. They had this experience with the highly lucrative Iraq operation and now want him to say yes or no rather than his usual 'neither confirm nor deny'. This feature of his leadership is apparently why his Board of Directors and the shareholders are reluctant to give him permanent tenure. Meanwhile Mr English had talks with the US Embassy this week in an attempt to give them a clearer picture of where he stands but it is possible that they will swing in behind Dr Brash who will give them what they want.

ACT favours illiteracy

A truly liberal party would always put education ahead of politics but, no, not ACT. Te Wananga o Aotearoa (the University of New Zealand) is lifting standards with a programme to combat illiteracy amongst Maori. But ACT's Mr Rodney Hide attacks the UNESCO-award winning programme purely because has been designed in the developing Caribbean nation of Cuba. Perhaps he should check the facts: the Cuban Education Ministry has helped to significantly dent illiteracy in Latin America.

Coalition invests in design strategy

Jim Anderton announced the coalition is supporting all the initiatives recommended by the Design Taskforce with an allocation of $12.5 million over four years.

The apparel industry had shown New Zealand how the application of design could transform a sector from producing commodities to producing high value world leading goods. Labels like World and Nom D, design led companies like Fisher and Paykel and Formway show us how good design can be applied to all aspects of the economy. Achieving the Design Taskforce's objective has the potential to produce $1.5 billion. That has to be good news for jobs as we keep our eye on the Progressives target of full employment.

The Great Drug Debates: South Auckland, Wgtn

Tuesday night saw 240 people pack the a Christchurch hall as Jim Anderton and Nandor Tanczos squared off in a public debate on drug abuse and cannabis law reform. The debate is one New Zealand as a whole must have. If so many are prepared to come out on a midweek night in Christchurch, no doubt there are thousands of people around the country interested in this issue.

So, there will be a similar open discussion in Ohariu-Belmont, and I will be hosting Mr Tanczos in South Auckland to debate the effects of cannabis on society.

Progressives say an emphatic 'No!' to cannabis. We are the party inside the current coalition that is keeping Labour's feet firmly on the ground on the issue of drugs.

At http://www.progressive.org.nz you can find more on all these issues, on that prayer (read my article in Wednesday's NZ Herald), and on the news that Australia controls almost all our banking system. Thank heavens for Kiwibank's slim cat! robson-on-politics is available by email and fax. If someone you know would like to subscribe, email matt.robson@parliament.govt.nz

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