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Collins Comments - 18 March 2004

Judith Collins

MP for Clevedon

18 March 2004

Democracy should rule Recently the Papakura District Council voted on whether or not to give an unelected Maori Standing committee voting rights. The Council considered new terms of reference for the Maori Standing committee which could have seen its members gain full membership of Council's five major committees.

Congratulations to the four councillors, Katrina Piggott, Felicity Auva'a, Lynette Blackbourn and Peter Jones who did not let this attempt to circumvent democracy get by. Let's remember, it wasn't that long ago that women found it difficult to get elected. The secret lies in choosing candidates based on merit - not on lineage or patronage. No member of Council should have to justify that their election is based on anything other than merit which is what will happen if the Council goes down some politically correct line of simply appointing people to some concept of a quota.

Public Meeting on Nationhood On Thursday 25 March at 7:30pm I invite you to attend a PUBLIC MEETING to be held in the Clevedon Hall. I will be joined by Dr Wayne Mapp MP, Spokesperson on constitutional matters and we will be speaking on Nationhood. We are looking forward to a great turn out. Apologies to all those who were unsuccessful in getting tickets to hear Don Brash at the Alfriston branch's dinner last month. Tickets sold out in 3 days. A big thank you to all those involved and particularly to Chris King, Roger Burrill, Jo Boyes and Len & Margaret Lipscombe.

Cassino Commemoration Shortly, the 60th anniversary of the Battle of Cassino will be held in Italy. There are not many old soldiers left. Unfortunately, the Government has decided that it is more important to fly a raft of journalists, bureaucrats and concert party people over rather than offer more than 20 seats to the old soldiers. My late father fought at Cassino. Over the years, I have read extensively about that battle. My Dad would very occasionally mention things about it. None of the memories were fond. If he was alive today, I don't think that he would want to go back. Once he got back to New Zealand after the war, he said that he would never leave again. But I do know that he would have liked the opportunity to decide for himself if he could attend that commemoration. War service exacts a huge toll. Not only does it affect the lives of the service personnel but it deeply affects their spouses and their children. Is it too much to ask for the Government to think about these ex-servicemen - after all, it is unlikely that many will be around for the next commemoration.

Agent Orange Inquiry The Parliamentary Select Committee's inquiry into Agent Orange and our troops in Vietnam is expected to report to Parliament within the next few months. I am prevented by Parliamentary rules from discussing possible findings until the report has been tabled in Parliament. What I can and will say is a big thank-you to the many people - including the many from the electorate - who still had sufficient faith in the system to make submissions and to share their personal situations with us.

Strange goings on In my February update - I said that the way NZ First and Labour were cuddling up together in Parliament, we wouldn't be surprised to see Labour looking to NZ First for support on the Foreshore and Seabed. NZ First members have spent the last month auditioning to be Labour backbenchers and yesterday saw the culmination of a month's grovelling - NZ First throwing Labour a lifeline - support if Labour adopts National's policy of Crown ownership - but here is the catch. NZ First will then support the delaying tactic of a Royal Commission. That would take the whole issue out past the next election - a delay that Labour hopes will result in New Zealand losing interest in the issue. It really is a nice example of Labour's arrogance.


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