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Dunne: UF = stability & prosperity

Tuesday, 25 January 2005

Dunne: UF = stability & prosperity

UF leader Peter Dunne told Tawa Rotarians this evening that United Future must be an essential part of the next government, if New Zealanders want to see a continuation of the nation's current political stability and economic prosperity.

"We are the only party that has made MMP work," he said.

Mr Dunne recalled that when he spoke to the Club in January 1996 he foreshadowed the National/United coalition that was formed shortly afterwards in the lead-up to the first MMP election.

After the collapse of the National/New Zealand First coalition in 1998, Mr Dunne held the balance of power through to the 1999 election.

Mr Dunne also recalled that the last time he spoke to the Tawa Rotary Club was in 2002 - the very day United Future commenced negotiations with Labour to put in place the current confidence and supply agreement.

"The one constant under MMP since 1996 has been that United Future has been the stable government partner - for both National and Labour-led governments.

"As a centre party United Future understands that the role of a support party is to promote its key policies and at the same time enable the major party with whom it is working to implement its programme in accordance with the electorate's wishes.

"We are there to keep them honest, but it is not the role of support parties to threaten to bring the government down if they have a policy disagreement," he said.

Mr Dunne said that nothing has changed in the lead-up to this year's election.

"MMP means no outright majority for any party - parties will have to work together to provide a government.

"Labour knows its currently winning position in the polls will evaporate quickly if voters think there is a serious chance of it forming a government with either the Greens or the Maori Party, or both.

"Neither Maori separatism nor more permissive attitudes to drugs are what mainstream New Zealand expects from its governments.

"National knows that the spectre of a Brash-led government egged on by ACT will scare off many middle ground voters.

"There is no public appetite for a second dose of the economic and social restructuring of the early 1990s.

"And both Labour and National know that dealing with New Zealand First is a guarantee of political instability and a government not lasting the distance.

"Leopards do not change their spots, after all," he said.

Mr Dunne said it was no coincidence that New Zealand's most sustained period of economic growth in the past 40 years was taking place in a stable political environment.

"United Future's agreement with the current government is on the verge of becoming the country's longest governing arrangement under MMP, and is clearly paying an economic dividend to New Zealand families.

"We want to see that dividend continued and expanded for New Zealand families over the next first three years, with more emphasis on education, safe and secure communities, and nationhood.

"Strong families are the key to building a strong country, and we will work to ensure that," he said.


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