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Robson On Politics

Robson on Politics

Veteran Tongan MP at our Parliament

Akilisi Pohiva, a Tongan MP for 18 years, and leader of the pro-democracy party came to Parliament for the select committee inquiry into relations with Tonga. He told us that, unless Tonga moves to a 100%-elected Parliamentary democracy, violence could occur. He criticised New Zealand and Australia's cosy relationship with the present autocratic regime.

The pro-families progressive coalition government

The Families Commission will be formally established next month to act as an advocate for the interests of families and this week we announced the new commissioners.

Progressive provided the two vital votes needed to establish the Families Commission because our commitment is to making New Zealand a safer, more decent and happy place in which to live and work, to prosper and raise families. Establishment of the Commission is only possible because three MMP parties, Labour, Progressive, and United Future voted for it.

NZ First's misleading campaign against migrants

During the week I refused to withdraw my assessment in the House that NZ First's public campaign against new settlers in New Zealand risks fostering misinformation and hate toward new New Zealanders. I don't know how else any rational person could interpret NZ First's going on and on about the alleged costs to the country of new migrants now. The hard cold fact of the matter is that welfare costs associated with new migrants was higher when NZ First was last in government during the nasty, brutish and short National-NZ First reign.

Conservative parties in disarray

On Tuesday the same three parties passed the Supplementary Estimates and Imprest Supply bills to raise the money needed to keep the wheels of our social democracy functioning for the next two months.

The debate once again highlighted the reality that our five-year-old minority progressive coalition government is only able to govern thanks to the positve relationship we have with one of five Opposition parties - United Future.

An absolute majority of 61 MPs have confidence in this progressive coalition government, double the number of 35 MPs who in contrast have expressed confidence in the only other alternative available to govern the country, a Don Brash led National government.

Missed by some commentators, the fact that National is able to muster just 35 votes of support highlights the utter disarray among the conservative parties with United voting with the government. And the misnamed NZ First adopted the anarchist position of refusing to vote confidence in any government for the country at all.

Is America going to abide by international law? During the week, international development agency Oxfam said that ruling at the World Trade Organization against the United States government's cotton subsidy regime completely vindicates the claims by developing nations that those U.S. subsidies harm cotton farmers around the world causing untold suffering and poverty.

Oxfam said it was a victory for the 15 million people in West Africa who depend on cotton for their livelihoods. It is also a tentative victory for the voice of fair international trading rules based on sound international law. Will George Bush abide by the rule of law and so deal a blow to the underlying causes of global poverty and terrorism?

Strengthening long-term relationships Last year, Progressive voted against legalising prostitution and we'd oppose any legislation to introduce slavery or to sanction short-term commercial slave-relationships because the social science and data show that prostitution and slavery undermine long-term, caring and meaningful human relationships.

Consistent with this, Progressive on Thursday voted in support of legislation introduced by the government aimed at strengthening long-term relationships. Our party believes that any effort or honest attempt to strengthen human relationships deserves the support of forward-thinking lawmakers.

Matt Robson's speech on the Civil Union bill will be at later today

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