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robson-on-politics 7 May

By Matt Robson

robson-on-politics, a weekly newsletter from Matt Robson MP Deputy Leader of the Progressive Party

Progressive: positive about people and jobs

The past week in politics has brought us to a turning point in the future of New Zealand politics. It has also been a week of progressive achievements.

Easter Sunday saved for families

On Wednesday, our two Progressive votes ensured that Parliament recognised a work-life balance for Kiwi families by rejecting the Opposition's Shop Trading Hours Bill by - you got it - 2 votes. I am delighted that my behind-the-scenes lobbying, down to the wire, influenced enough MPs to make a difference. Shops will continue to close on Good Friday, Easter Sunday, Christmas Day and Anzac Day morning, providing precious time for families to be together - a tremendous victory for workers and I salute the National Distribution Union for their campaign.

See part of the lobbying trail with a first statement: a final plea: Success!

Budget 2004 to build connections with the world

For the fifth year in a row, Cabinet's most hard-working and successful Minister was first out of the blocks with pre-budget day announcements on behalf of the Labour-Progressive government. Jim Anderton announced that Budget 2004 will include significant initiatives to build New Zealand's connections with the world with exciting measures to help both firms and entire sectors to break into new markets. And the Ministry of Economic Development's new Growth & Innovation Framework website was launched. Economic growth, fostered by regional and industry development, allows us to deliver our social justice ideals See: and the MED website

The Foreshore & Seabed Bill

Progressive supported this bill on Thursday because we endorse its two key principles: Parliament must uphold all New Zealanders' existing rights to enjoy going to the seaside regardless of their inherited family wealth or racial background; and secondly, where we so starkly differ from the so-called "National" party, we reject their bid to rip up the rule of law by promising to take away Maori peoples' right to have their customary claims - and the extent of those claims - identified by the courts. The voice of opposition among many Maori is sincere. However with patience we can convince the electorate - Maori and non-Maori - that this legislation will benefit all. The next step, the select committee process, will be the opportunity for everyone, no matter what their view, to state their case. And people who made rash generalisations over the past month may be challenged by the committee to substantiate their statements with facts. >From this process, the Progressives are committed to secure a just and equitable solution for all. We will not be afraid to look at amendments. See the statement we made when we gave our speaking slot to Maori MPs:

Managing differing policies inside our coalition

Progressive voted against the New Organisms & Other Maters (NOOM) legislation last year because we disagreed with Labour over some vital matters relating to the commercial release of GE food at this time. Third ranked Minister, Jim Anderton, voted against his Labour Cabinet colleagues on NOOM. He lives to tell the tale because he and I accept the democratic verdict of Parliament which was that a majority endorsed NOOM. In August 2002, 62 Members of Parliament from Labour, Progressive and United made a solemn pledge to have confidence to work together until September 2005. The Labour-Progressive government has the confidence of the opposition United Party to govern. While we may differ on important policy points, the coalition government continues to promote its centre-left direction. Refresh your memory of the coalition agreement:

A Brash-ACT government: Nightmare for Enzed

There are two alternative governments in New Zealand. A Clark-Anderton one or a Brash-ACT one. The second option would abolish Maori electorate seats, MMP, return NZ to Washington's nuclear umbrella, commit us to illegal foreign wars, destroy the Major Regional Development Programmes that have so benefited regions like Whanganui and Waikato, and reverse Four Weeks Annual Leave which is designed to help low income families stay in the workforce and out of welfare. The real Brash-ACT agenda includes the sale of Kiwibank and other strategic publicly-owned assets. Six links to show how we are highlighting the contrast between the two choices: has more on the above items and the rest of the week's news. Including the legacy of Colonel Malone at ANZAC; the IMF report strongly positive on NZ; and the Nats U-turn on electricity reforms.

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