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Newman Online 7 February 2005

6 Feb 2005

Newman Online

This week’s Newman Online is based on Muriel’s speech in reply to the Prime Minister’s opening statement to Parliament.

The Prime Minister’s statement this week can be described as a triumph of spin over substance. She was claiming credit for the buoyant economy, but everyone knows that the economy is doing well… in spite of the Labour Party.

Labour has done everything it can over the last five years to undermine the economy: it has increased taxes; introduced dozens of extra government charges, stealth taxes, and levies; bowing to union pressure, it has taken away flexibility by re-regulating the workplace; it has increased compliance costs on small business and introduced a plethora of draconian punitive penalties targeted at employers.

This anti-business Labour Party appears determined to punish the small-business sector. In spite of using ‘feel good, sound good’ rhetoric, Labour’s actions demonstrate that they do not actually care about the well-being of small business - even though it is the engine room of the nation.

This massive increase in rules and regulations has made it harder for businesses to do well. That is why it was truly bizarre to hear the Prime Minister in her speech bleating on about how the Government needs to get involved to increase productivity, when the best way to achieve that would be for Labour to reverse their changes. Stop penalising and meddling with the small business sector and leave them to get on with their job of making a living and taking the country forward.

As a result of the five years of Labour Party interference in this area, we now have Treasury forecasting that New Zealand’s growth will halve this year. Further, according to international surveys, our living standards have dropped to equal those of Korea, Slovenia, and the Czech Republic, with the gap between the standard of living in Australia and New Zealand growing wider as each day goes by.

As a consequence, in spite of struggling harder, working families are sliding backwards. They are being penalised by a Labour Party that is not only hampering the productive sector, but is actively overtaxing New Zealand workers as well.

In fact I find the whole situation of having to watch while the Labour Party gloats about their massive tax surplus while, at the same time, scheming and plotting how to best use the money to win votes in the election, extremely distasteful. It does not seem to enter their heads that, like the shopkeeper who over-charges his customers, the only moral thing to do is to give the money back to the families that earned it. Sadly, the Prime Minister has categorically ruled out tax cuts.

However, we still live in a democracy, and if taxpayers think this situation is wrong and unfair, then they should sack the Labour Party at the election and instead support ACT, a party that understands that lower taxes is the key to creating a strong and prosperous future.

The Prime Minister claimed in her speech that crime in New Zealand is falling. Yet everyone knows that crime is not falling. The public is now more fearful for the safety of themselves and their family - particularly their children and grandmothers – than ever before.

The Labour Party’s soft-on-crime approach has done enormous damage to this country. Already this year there have been nine homicides. From grandmothers to babies, innocent New Zealanders up and down the country have been raped, beaten, and tortured. In many cases the perpetrators are still walking free, driving fear into the hearts of the people living in those communities.

Keeping citizens safe is a core responsibility of a government. The Labour Party is failing not only the public in this crucial role, but also the police.

George Hawkins as the Minister of Police has been an absolute disaster. He has allowed public confidence in the police to be totally undermined, turning police from crime fighters and upholders of the rule of law, into traffic wardens and revenue collectors.

Under the governance of the Labour Party, police are understaffed, under-resourced, and overstressed - to dangerous levels. Laws have been weakened to the point where the public are endangered.

It is like a recent case that was brought to my attention in Northland where an offender with a history of violence and crime, raped, abducted, and beat a young woman. Bound and thrown in the back of his car, he threatened to kill her. Fortunately, some locals heard her scream, and as a result of their intervention she was able to escape and was taken to safety.

The police investigated and the man was arrested on charges of kidnapping, rape, assault, threatening to kill, aggravated burglary and unlawfully taking a motor vehicle. Police opposed bail saying that the man was violent and a danger to the community - particularly the victim and witnesses. Incredibly, Labour’s bail laws enabled this violent offender to be bailed. Sure, he is on a 24-hour curfew, but in reality, how on earth can a single police officer in a large rural area be expected to keep him under surveillance for 24 hours a day? He cannot.

Within a week the offender had breached bail, was re-arrested and reappeared in court. Everyone expected that this time he would be remanded in custody until the next hearing, but – unbelievably - he was bailed again.

Speculation is now rife that bail was awarded because of a critical shortage of prison remand beds. If that is the case then the Labour Party’s mismanagement of prison bed availability is now clearly putting innocent lives at risk.

Now more than ever, we need a government that prioritises law and order, that cares about safety, that puts more police on the beat, that toughens up laws, and introduces stronger punishments. These changes would send a clear message to law-breakers that crime doesn’t pay in New Zealand, setting us back on the path to what should be our goal – to once again become one of the safest countries on earth.

I am ashamed of the way the Labour Party has been running our country. Driven by their politically correct social engineering agenda, Labour has undermined the very fabric of society with values that are out of step with those of mainstream New Zealand. Rather than being committed to making New Zealand a better place for our children and grandchildren, Labour is obsessed with winning power.

I believe New Zealand deserves better.

ENDS

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