Gordon Campbell | Parliament TV | Parliament Today | Video | Questions Of the Day | Search

 


Brash Report: An Update From The National Leader

Brash Report: An Update From The National Party Leader
No. 20, 12 November 2003

A change of role

As you will probably know from media reports, I became leader of the National Party on 28 October, and for this reason I was not able to write my regular newsletter on 29 October. I hope to continue writing a newsletter at fortnightly intervals, though this may change at some stage.

Before I go on, I want to pay a tribute to Bill English. Although a majority of the Caucus reached the view that I should take over the leadership, all of us recognise that Bill made a very large contribution to the National Party during his two years at the helm. In particular, he worked with the Party organisation to bring about a substantial change to the Party's rules and organisational structure, change which puts the Party in the best possible position to fight an MMP election. There was also considerable progress made in policy development, and that too will be very important as we move forward.

The new Caucus line-up

My first priority as the new leader was to appoint key spokespeople. Many of these remained unchanged, and I won't recount all the details here. But three points are worth highlighting:

* Bill English accepted my invitation to take the Education portfolio, and a senior role on the front bench;

* Agriculture assumed a more prominent role in the line-up than for some years, with David Carter moving to the front bench and the appointment of not one but two Associate Agriculture spokespeople, Shane Ardern and Katherine Rich;

* Wayne Mapp and Georgina Te Heuheu have assumed responsibility for a new portfolio, Constitutional and Treaty of Waitangi issues - a role which I regard as very important if we are to steer New Zealand through the increasingly divisive issues surrounding race relations.

Key policy priorities

My second priority was to set out in summary form what I see as our key policy priorities. I did this in a speech in the General Debate in Parliament on 5 November, my first participation in that debate following the change of leadership. There has been only very brief coverage of this speech in the general media and, since it is a succinct statement of what I see as the priorities, I reproduce it here without the introductory comments:

Speech notes used in the General Debate in Parliament, 5 November 2003

Mr Speaker, my commitment to New Zealanders as Leader of the National Party is to deliver on five key goals:

First, we have to start narrowing the gap between our living standards and those of our cousins in Australia, a gap which sees every Australian getting nearly $200 per week more than the average New Zealander. If we don't narrow that gap, we won't have the healthcare that Australians can afford; we won't have the roads that Australians take for granted; our teachers won't get the salaries that those in Australia earn; Mums and Dads will increasingly see their kids and grandchildren grow up in Australia - we end up as a distant Tasmania to the Australian mainland. That isn't what I want, and it isn't what most New Zealanders want.

Second, we have to ensure that every child, whatever his or her race, whatever the affluence of his or her parents, whether he or she lives in Auckland or in rural Southland, has access to quality education, so that every child comes out of the school system able to read, able to write, able to take his place in a modern society. At the moment, they don't, and that is a disgrace to all of us. Unless we do very much better, we are never going to have a healthy society; we are never going to have a society where everybody can get a well-paid job.

Third, we have to end the creeping paralysis of welfare dependency. It is surely a scandal that at a time when the economy is buoyant, 350,000 working age adults and tens of thousands of their children are dependent on hard-working New Zealanders for a hand-out. As a country, we currently spend $20 million per day on social welfare, nearly a million dollars an hour, 365 days every year. For the sake of those receiving that money as well as for the sake of the hard-working New Zealanders who are paying it, we have to fix that system, and give all able-bodied New Zealanders the dignity of contributing to our society.

Fourth, we need to head off the dangerous drift to racial separatism in New Zealand, a drift which this Government seems intent on encouraging. We must deal, fairly and finally, with historical grievances, but then ensure that all New Zealanders, of whatever race or creed, are treated equally before the law.

And finally, we need to ensure that all New Zealanders feel secure. And that means not just dealing firmly with crime, and drugs, and gangs, and vandalism, but also ensuring that our relationships with new friends in Asia and old friends in Australia, the UK, and the US are put on a firm footing.

Mr Speaker, I am not interested in trading personal insults with the Prime Minister or members of her Government.

I'm not interested in sarcasm.

I am interested in, indeed desperately worried about, New Zealand's future.

I am absolutely committed to doing everything in my power to ensure that that future holds prosperity, racial harmony, security and hope for every New Zealander.

A word of thanks

Finally, thank you for the many messages of support I have received over the past fortnight and for your ongoing support of the National Party.

- Don Brash

http://www.donbrash.com

© Scoop Media

 
 
 
 
 
Parliament Headlines | Politics Headlines | Regional Headlines

 

Also, Loan Interest: Productivity Commission On Tertiary Education

Key recommendations include better quality control; making it easier for students to transfer between courses; abolishing University Entrance; enabling tertiary institutions to own and control their assets; making it easier for new providers to enter the system; and facilitating more and faster innovation by tertiary education providers... More>>

ALSO:

Higher Payments: Wellington Regional Council Becomes A Living Wage Employer

Councillor Sue Kedgley said she was delighted that the Wellington Regional Council unanimously adopted her motion to become a Living Wage employer, making it the first regional council in New Zealand to do so. More>>

ALSO:

Scoop Images:
Dame Patsy Reddy Sworn In As Governor-General

This morning Dame Patsy Reddy was sworn in as the New Zealand Realm’s 21st Governor-General. The ceremony began with a pōwhiri to welcome Dame Patsy and her husband Sir David Gascoigne to Parliament. More>>

ALSO:

Ruataniwha: DOC, Hawke's Bay Council Developer Take Supreme Court Appeal

The Department of Conservation and Hawke's Bay Regional Investment Company (HBRIC) are appealing to the Supreme Court over a conservation land swap which the Court of Appeal halted. More>>

ALSO:

With NZ's Marama Davidson: Women’s Flotilla Leaves Sicily – Heading For Gaza

Women representing 13 countries spanning five continents began their journey yesterday on Zaytouna-Oliva to the shores of Gaza, which has been under blockade since 2007. On board are a Nobel Peace Laureate, three parliamentarians, a decorated US diplomat, journalists, an Olympic athlete, and a physician. A list of the women with their background can be found here. More>>

Gordon Campbell: On The Key Style Of Crisis Management

At Monday’s post Cabinet press conference Key was in his finest wide- eyed “Problem? What problem?” mode. No, there wasn’t really a problem that top MPI officials had been at odds with each other over the meaning of the fisheries policy and how that policy should be pursued... More>>

ALSO:

Mt Roskill: Greens Will Not Stand In Likely Post-Goff By-Election

“The Green Party’s priority is changing the Government in 2017, and as part of that we’ve decided that we won’t stand a candidate in the probable Mt Roskill by-election... This decision shows the Memorandum of Understanding between Labour and the Green Party is working." More>>

ALSO:

Get More From Scoop

 

LATEST HEADLINES

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
Parliament
Search Scoop  
 
 
Powered by Vodafone
NZ independent news