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Robson on Politics: Opening New Auckland Office

Robson on Politics

By Matt Robson

Opening the new Auckland office

Jim Anderton and I will join Progressive supporters to celebrate the opening of our new out-of-Parliament office at 186 Ladies Mile Ellerslie. You're welcome to attend this Sunday, 22 Feb, from 4pm onwards. Call 525 5566 for information.

Delivering results under MMP While politics and politicians often take a battering in the court of public opinion, some of us are getting runs on the board for the people who put us into Parliament. One example this week of constructive coalition was the change to progressively remove asset testing from July next year for senor citizens in long-term residential care. My colleague Grant Gillon observed that under First Past the Post, both National and Labour governments had been able to ram though laws which were unfair on families who had worked hard all their lives. Now with MMP the Progressives have the ability to advocate for policies that we were elected to make progress on. We are beginning to see the fruits of that, with a Bill being sent to the Social Services Select Committee for public submissions. I hope the Bill will be supported by the many people who have long cried for one standard of rules for all - not two separate sets of rules for most of us on the one hand, and those with elaborate family trusts on the other. _____________________

Getting laws passed Ten years ago, critics said MMP would lead to political stalemate. One of our great achievements has been to make the system work, as shown by looking at voting in Parliament in the eighteen months since the last election. To get a bill passed into law requires the support of at least one of the five opposition parties. Of the 78 contested laws, 62 - about four-fifths - have had the support of two or more opposition parties resulting in a supermajority. That shows the success of the government's democratic engagement with Parliament. Only nine bills have relied on support from United and no-one else, and only seven relied on the Greens alone. _____________________

Talking back on 531PI >From next Friday I'll be hosting the 12noon - 2pm slot on Radio 531PI, heard throughout the country on 531 on the AM band, talking about progressive politics. Callers are welcome on 09 270 0531.

What we're doing that Dr Brash wouldn't Progressive leader Jim Anderton opened Waikato's $6 million Innovation Park yesterday in front of 400 business and community leaders. It's taken over a decade, but local leadership has paid off. When, three years ago, Jim Anderton and Industry NZ challenged regions to identify economic development strategies, the Waikato Technology Foundation was there Now, new ideas and innovations have a place where they can be fostered and developed. Some of those innovations will then turn into businesses employing people and growing the economy. You can be sure that any National government under Dr Brash would not have a bar of a partnership between government, industries and the private sector. No, they would leave new ideas to wither on the vine. National would not be interested in ensuring that opportunities are taken to boost jobs and growth. _____________________

Meeting the Tongan community in Chch Next Saturday morning Jim Anderton and I will be meeting Tongan people in Christchurch. We will hear their views and talk about the select committee inquiry (which I sought and got) into NZ's relationship with Tonga. There are Pacific Island communities outside Auckland, all adding to the richness and diversity of our nation. _____________________

Only 1,136 sleeps until everyone gets four weeks leave.

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