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

Progressive: positive about people and jobs

Fri 30 July

Progressive: creating many more high value jobs

EDS, readers will know, is a business playing a vital role in ensuring New Zealand is ready to succeed in the digital economy. The news this week is that the company has fulfilled its first target as part of tagged investment grant from the government and has created over 200 jobs in 15 months. These are the sort of jobs we need - high value, high skill jobs. EDS is on track for 360 jobs.

DataCol, meanwhile, is now big enough to move out of a government-supported incubator. This Christchurch employer has grown from four people to 22 staff, 140 contractors and is on track to reach $20 million revenue.

The alternative to our progressive government is National's rejection of our innovative, constructive and creative economy. They prefer instead to compete in a race to the bottom with Uzbekistan, an authoritarian state that has failed to develop its regional economies but boasts world record imprisonment rates.


Identity (Citizenship and Passports) Bill

Yesterday Parliament voted for the first stage of this bill and sent it to committee for public submissions.

Jim Anderton and I differed on this bill, a healthy thing to do. He voted for it, and I voted and spoke against. All parties in Parliament find that one or two bills come along on which their caucus agrees to disagree like that.

But Jim and I, and the growing Progressive party, do agree we want migrants to continue to be welcomed by all New Zealanders. We agree we want immigration to continue with the emphasis on skilled and trained future citizens. We agree on our Progressive policy to support active measures to welcome migrants, to minimise social and political division and to assist with settlement and integration. We agree that New Zealand must protect all from bigotry and racism. I oppose this bill on five major points:

- It will effectively double or triple the current three-year probationary period for citizenship, by adding two years

- and then will not count time lawfully spent here on a work permit, student visa or visitor's visa.

- It will remove the discretion that enables the spouse of a Kiwi to gain citizenship in less than three years. What was that talk about the "special status of marriage"?

- It is likely that at select committee a provision will be added to stop the current policy of citizenship for all babies born here, for which there are good reasons.

- And fifthly, in the passport provisions the bill says to every New Zealander: "We can deprive you of the right to travel even though you have committed no crime." Without due process of law passports will be taken away.

Both my speech and that of the Minister of Internal Affairs (supporting the Bill) are at: I invite readers to look at both and give me your feedback.


Noticing NIMBY Nats

Tony Ryall, a not-in-my-backyard National MP, delivered another we'll-build-more-prisons law and order speech. The House convulsed with laughter when the next speaker observed, "There is a man who objected to a prison in his area when he was offered one." So true.


Nothing beats a good golf game

A prominent Christchurch man maintains a work-life balance. Long hours in a tough job doing excellent work are balanced by visits to the Hagley Golf Club's course, (rarely a full 18 holes.) Recently he was ecstatic to play 9 holes in 40 strokes, a personal best. Perhaps an indicator for the Progressive party at next year's general election.


You're invited to a special screening of Fahrenheit 9/11 at Rialto Newmarket, Sunday 8 August. Michael Moore investigates the Bush administration. For tickets, phone 09 525 5544, or email


Tune in Sunday 12 - 1 for the Matt Robson Hour on 531 AM. This week: talking to John Tamihere on red-blooded Kiwi men, Tim Barnett on red-blooded gay Kiwi men and Clem Simich on blue-blooded Kiwi men. More on this week's news at including the Greens who are implying they would prefer nuclear power to hydro, and on Green angst about a water-based spray used by Police on cannabis. Shouldn't they be concerned about the harmful effects, including mental illness, of cannabis? And the website has more on excellent news today that government is delivering $62 million over four years, in response to my call for more resources, to help new migrants integrate into New Zealand including access to heath housing and employment and a focus on cultural integration.

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