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Newsworthy: Things are not what they seem

Newsworthy: Things are not what they seem

By National MP Richard Worth

Despite favourable economic conditions, New Zealand’s economic position is not improving relative to other countries.

Early last week the OECD released a report on GDP comparisons based on purchasing power parities.

The report groups New Zealand with Hungary, Cyprus, Slovenia and Spain in the low-middle income bracket. Australia is ranked in the high-middle income bracket, along with Canada, the United Kingdom, Finland and France.

One would have thought that being grouped with former communist countries like Hungary and Slovenia would puncture the complacency of the current Government.

The reality is that the Government has done absolutely nothing significant to improve living standards since coming into office more than five years ago, and has done plenty of things which damage our prospects.

Our tax system is stopping people getting ahead, stopping them paying off their debts, stopping them building an ownership stake in society, stopping them building adequate savings for retirement.

National is committed to returning New Zealand to the top half of the OECD and bring our income and living standards into line with Australia. It is wholly unacceptable that the gap continues to grow wider when appropriate policy could be implemented to close that gap.

The misery of Waitangi
Waitangi Day has become one of the low points in the nation’s commemorative events. One initiative which has been advanced by a Members Bill in Parliament is whether it should be renamed New Zealand Day.

We have in fact gone there before. From 1973 to 1976 Waitangi Day was called “New Zealand Day”.

We should have a national day of thanksgiving to celebrate the heritage and future of New Zealand.

In strict legal terms the events at Waitangi in 1840 have been over-stated in terms of their constitutional significance. The Treaty of Waitangi itself has never been incorporated into New Zealand law.

Since the 1960s Waitangi Day has been marred by Maori protest. It should no longer continue as a public holiday.

What might be an alternative National Day? It should not be ANZAC Day.

ANZAC Day is firmly established as the occasion that both countries chose to commemorate all their dead from World War 1 and subsequently, all wars. It is a memorial day which should be retained.

In a search through the constitutional events of New Zealand, a clear alternative National Day is readily identified. That day in my view is 24 May.

On that day in 1854 the House of Representatives first met.

So what then might happen on our National Day. It would be a day of celebration of one of the oldest continuing functioning democracies in the world. It would be a day to celebrate the achievements of our artists, sporting heroes and educators. We might publish the Honours list on that day.

Above all it would be a day of thanksgiving.

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