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a weekly newsletter from Matt Robson MP Deputy Leader of the Progressive Party

Progressive: positive about people and jobs

Public Domain, the Crown, or another seizure? At last it is here. The legislation on the Foreshore and Seabed. All parties have had their say. Some more than others. United have thrown a hissy fit over wording: 'Crown ownership' vs 'public domain.' Their real reason is that Labour is now relying (yes, a contradiction in terms for this party) on NZ First.

The Progressives have concentrated on getting broad legislation to the house which will encapsulate the main issues of public access for all, while protecting the legal and customary rights of Maori. But United and NZ First have been jockeying for position to see who has the most influence with Labour.

As the Progressive MP on the Select Committee on the Bill, I can say we will take submissions seriously. A judge said to me "If Maori are to lose their common law right to establish title then it is important that the exchange provides equal or greater benefit." I will be looking out for that, and for maintaining the principle of public access. And it is important that if injustices are highlighted, the Bill be changed. It will be interesting to see the shape of the Bill as reported by the Committee.

The front page of links to three pages on the Bill tabled today.

Easter Sunday and Market Forces

The Opposition, religiously dedicated to the rule of the market, has legislation to turn Easter Sunday into a normal trading day. Why not Christmas Day and Good Friday I hear you say? Exactly, they are next on that agenda. The Progressives, and I think a majority of MPs, have drawn a line on this. Our policy is a work/life balance for families, not a society dedicated to the jingle of the cash register. The National Distribution Union is getting petition signatures against the move. This week I've presented petitions to Parliament, and there are more to come on May 4 when the House resumes. See

Enough to make you lose faith in some politicians

"We know he has stockpiles of major amounts of chemical and biological weapons. We know that he's tried to acquire nuclear capability." Tony Blair, quoted in Hans Blix' Disarming Iraq, head of the weapons inspectors team in Iraq. But the inspectors proved the opposite. When reading the book's account of manipulation and bullying, remember the National-led opposition stridently called for us to go to war. Read The Guardian's review:,6121,1173509,00.html

I'll kick Robson's backside from here to Australia

So said Tonga's Police Minister Clive Edwards to North and South, talking about the inquiry into New Zealand's relationship with Tonga. The Foreign Affairs Committee has received over 70 submissions, many from the large Tongan community in Auckland. They want to talk about corruption and anti democratic practices in Tonga, and New Zealand's long time support for the status quo. So I'm sorry Clive, I won't have time to join you on a jaunt to Australia. I will be busy with the inquiry and looking at ways to encourage democracy and good governance. The NZ Herald has a good Tonga archive:

Passports and Citizenship

My opposition to the SIS canceling people's passports has attracted a lot of comment. Many New Zealanders seem to agree with me that withdrawing a passport should only occur if a crime has been committed that merits such a penalty through due process of law. Similarly punishing babies because their parents aren't citizens and making residents wait two more years for citizenship aren't progressive measures.

National on tax and military spending

An email came this week from Don Brash's junior, National MP John Key. He tells me that if you add up all of National's tax cut promises for high income earners, companies and low to middle income families, it totals a maximum (his emphasis) of $1 billion a year. But National will also match Australia's military spending in GDP terms, costing $1.5 billion pa. The total, $2.5 billion pa is double the government's cash surplus. So, National will borrow half the money it will give away in tax cuts to the rich and spending on military adventures. More at:

robson-on-politics takes a break next week.

Our website will have updates.

This week's news: world-class in Hamilton

more research needed on party drugs

and backing Murupara in the fight against P

I'm your host on Radio 531PI at the new time of Sundays, 4-6pm starting after Easter on April 18th. Tune in to 531 on the AM band.

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