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National MPs gather for three-day Caucus


National MPs gather for three-day Caucus

All 27 National MPs are gathering in Whangarei this week for the annual three-day Caucus meeting.

"We'll be discussing a range of issues as part of the policy development programme," says National Party Leader Don Brash.

It's the first real chance the MPs have had to get together in the New Year, and it follows hard on the heels of last week's hard-hitting speech by Don Brash at the Orewa Rotary Club.

"The silent majority are now speaking out against Labour's divisive race-based policies. National is determined to make sure we take those concerns into the heart of the next Government."

Dr Brash says much of the policy work will focus on the five key areas he outlined as critical for the Party when he took over as leader. They are:

* 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.

* Ensuring every child leaves school able to read and write, no matter what their parents' income or where in the country they are.

* Ending the creeping paralysis of welfare dependency. As a country we spend $20 million a day on social welfare, nearly a million dollars an hour, 365 days every year.

* Heading off the dangerous drift to racial separatism and deal fairly and finally with historical grievances. We must ensure all New Zealanders are treated according to need, not according to race.

* And ensuring all New Zealanders feel secure. That means not just dealing firmly with crime, drugs, gangs and vandalism, but also making sure that our relationships with new friends in Asia and old friends in Australia, the UK and the US are put on a firm footing. The three-day Caucus winds up on Wednesday.

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