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News Worthy - 4 February 2005

News Worthy - 4 February 2005


Kilimanjaro There are seven summits in the world which draw climbers to them. They are Everest, McKinley, Aconcagua, Elbrus, Vinson, Kosciusko, and Kilimanjaro. I was beaten back on Aconcagua in 2002 because of the snow and an unfulfilled ambition was to climb Kilimanjaro.

There are a number of features about Kilimanjaro which are unusual. It is not a technical climb and it is one of the highest free standing mountains in the world. Approximately one third of those who climb fail primarily because of altitude sickness or lack of fitness.

Outward Bound International organised the trip and three New Zealanders including myself, summitted on 27 January 2005. It was quite a day. The climb to the summit had been six hours; the trek out was seven hours. The elevation change was 18,000 feet (4,000 feet in ascent and 14,000 feet in descent - more than half the height of Everest - through a temperature range of minus 20o C to plus30o C).

Parliament resumes Parliament resumed on Tuesday and the week has been taken up with the PM's statement and the Opposition response. The news dominating Parliament however centres around the release by National of its welfare policy.

Orewa 2

The media to some extent have distorted the welfare speech which Don Brash gave on 25 January 2005. The key points of his speech are that National will:

- Work to reduce the number of those on benefits from over 300,000 to 200,000 over ten years.
- Introduce a three-month trial period during which employers and employees can end an employment relationship without penalty. That will provide new job opportunities for beneficiaries perceived as 'risky'.

- Conduct numeracy and literacy assessments of those seeking the dole, and arrange assistance for those requiring help.

- National will implement a more thorough medical evaluation process for sickness and invalids' benefits. In particular, the next National Government will work with doctors' groups to ensure consistency in the way those applying for sickness and invalids' benefits are evaluated.

- After a period allowed for job search, require those receiving the unemployment benefit to make themselves available for community service work or retraining. We will focus initially on those under 25 and on the long-term unemployed.

- Require that under all but quite exceptional circumstances, the DPB recipient will name the father of their child, with a significantly higher financial penalty for not naming the father than is the case now.

- Require those in receipt of the DPB to undertake part-time employment, retraining or community service from the time their youngest child reaches school age. That becomes a requirement for full-time employment, retraining or community service from the time their youngest child reaches 14 years of age.
Require those receiving a benefit to present their pre-school children for all appropriate health and dental checks, including vaccinations (except where there is a sincerely held objection to vaccination). It would also be a condition that they ensure school-age children attend school regularly.

The full text of the speech is at National's welfare policy is one of five policies which will be the basis of the election campaign - the others relate to One Standard of Citizenship, an economic policy which deals with tax issues, a Law & Order policy which abolishes parole for all repeat and violent offenders. An education policy focused on choice and literacy.

Political Quote of the Week "A man who is good enough to shed his blood for the country is good enough to be given a square deal afterwards. More than that no man is entitled to, and less than that no man shall have," President Theodore Roosevelt 1903

4 February 2005 No. 19

Upcoming Events

4 February 2005 National Day of Sri Lanka 5 February 2005 Chinese New Year 6 February 2005 Waitangi Day Eden/Epsom Branch AGM - 34 Rahiri Road - Epsom - all welcomed 7 February 2005 Remuera and Parnell Branch AGM - Regional Office 107 Great South Road - all welcomed 10 February 2005 National Day of Islamic Republic of Iran reception in Wellington Launch of Auckland Regional Transport Authority 14 February 2005 Prime Minister of Sweden HE Mr Goran Persson visiting NZ Epsom Electorate AGM at 107 Great South Road - all welcomed 19 February 2005 United Chinese Assn 2005 Multi-Cultural Festival at ASB Theatre 24 February 2005 Lifeline Auckland celebrates 40 years of service 25 February 2005 Royal Federation of NZ Justices' Assn Annual Conference in Wellington

Richard Worth

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