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By Matt Robson

Doing New Zealand proud

Peter Jackson and Fran Walsh and the team did us all proud at the Oscars with a great promotional job putting New Zealand on the map with our own culture, separate from Australia. Good on them for mentioning New Zealand and Kiwis so many times and for thanking the Government, often the overlooked partner. Good also to see 'behind the scenes' people get deserved recognition.

The forgotten partner:

First they came for the Maori, now they come for the pensioners In 1990, National got elected on a promise to remove the surtax Labour had imposed without a mandate - but National, just like Labour, broke its promise on super once in power. Not surprisingly there was massive disenchantment with politics after 1990, so much so that a mass movement developed demanding an end to the First Past The Post electoral system we'd had since 1854. The two old parties were in desperate straits. Guess who asked for their solemn commitment to New Zealanders to never again make super a political football?

Jim Anderton, then the sole MP for the independent progressive Left in Parliament, promoted a cross-party Accord on Retirement Income to which National and Labour could both commit. The progressive Left promoted that Accord in the full knowledge that it was a political life-line to both National and Labour because we wanted to instill some security for people.This week National kicked super back into being a political football. Weasel words, insecurity and uncertainty are back for those working for retirement.

See Jim Anderton on 'Nats fail to learn Super lessons of 80s and 90s' at _____________________

We've stopped NZ falling off the OECD tables Jim Anderton told Parliament that in 2003 we had one of the best-performing and fastest-growing economies in the OECD, the club of rich nations. Every region has registered positive growth for 18 consecutive quarters -four and a half years. What a contrast to what National left us, an economy just about falling off the OECD tables. Jim went on to tell the House that he attended the premiere of the musical Once Were Warriors and he was more proud of that that Lord of the Rings because all the kids in the production are the real New Zealand, the future of our country.


Fighting the scourge of drugs The annual report of the International Narcotics Control Board out this week is positive about the government's action on drug abuse - the first full year Jim Anderton has been leading the coalition's work. We are addressing demand, working on harm minimisation and restricting supply by cracking down on drug dealers. The report is at For good NZ links

A nation of binge drinkers? News this week that over half of all adults (1.5 million) are binge drinkers means we have got a good idea where young people get the idea that it is cool to drink. It shows that Jim Anderton's tax increase on so-called light spirits (14%-24% alcohol) was the right thing to do. Start at for the news on the ALAC website

Kim Hill interviews Michael King Refreshing to watch Kim Hill interviewing writer Michael King this week on the Treaty, race relations and the development of New Zealand culture. He suggested that there are now two indigenous cultures in New Zealand, Maori as first culture, Pakeha as second culture. Are we now developing a third strand to our rich tapestry? Re-read Ngati Kiwi: _____________________

A successful business partnership Not that the Business Roundtable will tell you, but the World Bank has released "Doing Business 2004," which identifies New Zealand as one of the best places in the world for business. That's one result of the Progressives emphasis in coalition on a partnership between government, industry and regions, and a focus on jobs. _____________________

Terrorism attacks democracy Wednesday's news of terrible attacks in Iraq and Pakistand led me to call for New Zealand to continue to support efforts to promote democracy in the Middle East, because bombings attack that democracy.

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