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robson on politics 27 February

a weekly newsletter from Progressive party deputy leader Matt Robson

Whakapapa whänau tikanga and foreshore

In the current debate that has ensued since the infamous Orewa speech, New Zealanders could do no better than to see Whale Rider a second time. It deals with all the issues in the debate - whakapapa whanau tikanga and foreshore. Keisha Castle-Hughes (and we all want her to do well at the Oscars on Monday) in a moving story emphasises that leadership is not the domain of men nor of the old.

Someone should tell Don Brash that white skin is not necessary for leadership either. Carl von Clausewitz, the Prussian military strategist whom Dr Brash studies, reminded generals to take the enemy away from your weak point and towards your strongest.

There is no denying that the National Party are desperately trying to keep New Zealand away from their weak points: National will sell public assets including Kiwibank, they will upend our nuclear-free tradition, undo superannuation, and do away with four weeks annual leave for employees. Looking at that little list, I think Brash would do better to study Abraham Lincoln - you can't fool all of the people all of the time.

No Credibility Brash 'We'll help on the basis of need' -

Genuine Nationhood Requires Free Speech -

Ngati Kiwi

There will be a serious debate about the serious issues that concern people. Dr Brash is not helpful by preying on fears, much like yelling 'fire' in a crowded cinema and trying to disclaim responsibility for the casualties.

Progressive leader Jim Anderton on the other hand makes a useful contribution with his article "Nationhood and Ngati Kiwi," available at He suggests that a future generation will look back to say that this was the time when we really forged our distinctive identity and recognised our extraordinary creativeness and capacity.

When our new identity, Ngati Kiwi, evolves New Zealand will be a country where all citizens enjoy freedom and opportunity. The Progressives are doing our bit in government for our country.

Friday Fono

A great start to my radio career on Radio531PI today with guests Sir Howard Morrison and Lesley Max of the Pacific Foundation. I'm looking forward to next Friday.

"We talk in our family now"

About 150 people were at a Glen Innes school last night for the launch of the Pacific Foundation's inspiring report on the HIPPY programme. It's a simple idea of taking tutors to families in trouble, and working alongside both the youngsters and the parents. The great news is the Pacific Foundation is doing the work and getting results.

When my turn came to speak I reminded listeners about About Time, the report I commissioned when Minister of Corrections. It identified a number of options including: encouraging young women to delay having babies; identifying high needs births and providing support to the new mother and family; and importantly early detection and intensive rehabilitation of high-risk young offenders.

The report is now being implemented and I can say that real progress is being made. The need for government is to make sure enough resources are delivered. The Progressives will work for that, and I am sure our junior coalition partner, who were to have been represented last night by John Tamihere, will come through. Click through from to HIPPY and the book launch

Ombudsman's report on Immigration Service

The report reminded every public servant that the Official Infromation Act is law. I am deeply disappointed in Immigration Service head Andrew Lockhart, and I say he should go. To remind you, the saga started when an NZIS media man suggested officials would 'lie in unison' about Ahmed Zaoui, so I had to smile when the cartoon today said "We told you Zaoui was a terrorist, look at this bomb he's put under [the Immigration Service.]."

Continuing the partnership

In the coalition, the Progressives listen to people's concerns. The latest National Bank survey shows falling business confidence which could have an impact on job numbers next year. Government must act to continue the partnership with industries which has since 1999 delivered many new jobs and increased workers' skills. Not surprisingly, that's where I started from in robson-on-poltiics last week - we're the people who listen . . .

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