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robson-on-politics 5 December

robson-on-politics, a weekly newsletter from Matt Robson MP Deputy Leader of the Progressive Party

We deliver on 4 Weeks Leave commitment

The Progressive Party can now add Four Weeks minimum annual leave for all fulltime workers as another commitment delivered, after Parliament on Thursday voted by a thumping 33-vote majority in favour of a revamped Holidays Bill - revamped to include the Progressives' 4 Weeks Leave Bill. In my speech, I did of course signal that I will continue to pursue amendments to bring the extra week's leave into force two years earlier than the revamped Holidays Bill proposes and I'll continue to ask for other parties' support for a start date of April 2005. See my speech at:



Radi Centre: turning wood into high value exports

You'll remember that last week Jim Anderton entered into debate with a timber industry figure, a sawmiller who seems to think we should simply export low-value sawn wood. But wood processing could become our most valuable industry in 15 years if we aim for high- value exports. Yesterday Jim Anderton opened the Radi Centre (must be something to do with radiata pine) which will deliver training, skills development and research. Another step moving the timber industry towards high value exports and more, well paying, jobs. Good news generally on jobs this week as 45% of businesses plan to hire more staff in the next six months. The construction and property sector was the most positive. That will mean we need even more skilled workers. See:





To decriminalize or not - that is the question

This week it was the Greens' turn to organize a public debate on cannabis law reform - in Ohariu Belmont - following the Otahuhu and Wigram debates organized by the Progressives earlier. About 150 people packed the Johnsonville Community Centre. Many had their say in a real community event that showed New Zealanders want to participate in the decisions affecting their lives, not just leave it to others. It was good the policy was debated, not personalities. For me the issue of drug abuse is about one group, the vulnerable young, getting themselves into drugs only to cause themselves and their families so much despair. Sorry, Nandor, I got the floor vote in Auckland last week wrong. The correct figure was 46-34 against cannabis. See Jim Anderton's statement on sending a strong anti-drug message to young people at



The Pacific meets the Italians

Auckland Progressives will be celebrating a good year on Sunday night at La Dolce Vita, 42 High St in the city. Call 273 8150 if you'd like to join the party or email sallygriffin@xtra.co.nz.


Don Brash is not leading the right-wing very well

The right wing parties are in disarray and their chances of cobbling together a grand coalition after the next election are diminishing rapidly. NZ First voted in favour of 4 Weeks Leave and says it is not going back on the issue, but National and ACT say any Right Wing coalition they are part of will repeal 4 Weeks Leave. United Future is in favour of sensible Resource Management Waitaki Catchment Amendment Bill - which will allow the many applications for water use in the Waitaki catchment to be considered together - but National says the legislation is the End Of The World. ACT and National say they will abandon our moral and independent foreign policy if they are in government. NZ First and United give mixed messages on this issue. In short, the four conservative parties take differing approaches to major policies - but one thing they agree on is their desperation to get into power.

See: Matt Robson's on Brash's silence on that pamphlet at


Jim Anderton on National's ineffectiveness at



Select Committee inquiry on links with Tonga

The Dominion Post in its editorial gave me credit for proposing the inquiry and said it might help focus some official minds. Submissions have now been called for and must be in by 28 March 2004. Terms of Reference and 'how to make submissions' information can be obtained from my office, or see www.progressive.org.nz


It is incredible that a man could be held in prison without charge for a year without knowing what he is accused of. Watch out in the weekend media for new developments in the Ahmed Zaoui case which brings shame to all of us.



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