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Fifth year of Progressive achievements

Fifth year of Progressive achievements

Budget 2004 builds strongly on the progressive platform established by the minority centre left government first elected in 1999, Progressive leader Jim Anderton said today.

"This is the fifth budget that I have been involved in, and it is the most ambitious yet for New Zealanders' economic and social development," Mr Anderton said.

Mr Anderton said the key challenge for all minor parties under MMP is to get good things done for people as best they can, which means getting into a coalition government and strongly advocating for policies from within the Cabinet system.

"The Progressive Party's fingerprints are on every initiative of the coalition we belong to because every funding initiative is discussed and altered in the Cabinet committees and Cabinet in which I am represented.”

Mr Anderton, who chairs the ministerial committee overseeing the National Drug Policy, said the challenge of reducing the problems caused to society from drug use and alcohol abuse is one of the most serious facing the country.

"Budget 2004 allocates an additional $39 million to tackle the illegal methamphetamine trade and organised crime over the next four years. But it isn't only the supply of drugs we have addressed.

"The budget also delivers policies aimed at reducing the demand for drugs and makes provision to care for the victims of the drug peddlers with nearly $15 million over four years on drug related health initiatives and $5.5 million over four years dedicated to support suicide prevention measures," Mr Anderton said.

"The Progressive Party is proud to be part of a forward-looking government with strong policies for the benefit all New Zealanders. No other minor party in Parliament has achieved half as much as we have for New Zealand," Mr Anderton said.

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