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robson-on-politics 1 March

robson-on-politics 1 March

robson-on-politics, a weekly newsletter from Matt Robson MP Deputy Leader of the Progressive Party

Tues 1 March

Parliament resumes after recess The Third Estate (elected MPs) gathers today after a short recess. Interesting shifts have occurred in politics in the last 10 days which will cheer readers.


Speaking to Grey Power, Invercargill

Today I'm speaking to Grey Power, Invercargill. I'm outlining what our government has done to promote the interests of retired people since 1999. I will be listening to their views so I can report back to my party. The Progressive Party is currently working on its Election 2005 policy manifesto which will include the Next Steps to better protect senior citizens' interests.


Progressive measures to cut youth binge drinking

Stats NZ last week reported that the amount of 14%-23% alcohol-content booze on sale continues to collapse. The new trend began in the September Quarter of 2003 after Parliament got serious about protecting vulnerable young people, then being targeted by those selling strong spirits-based drinks. Those drinks are now taxed on their alcohol strength, so these days more and more price-sensitive young people are turning instead to far less potent beverages below 14% alcohol content.

The collapse in the 14%-23% range, and the sudden shift to the below 14%-range instead, were new phenomena that followed the excise changes. Quite different from the trend decline in fortified wines which began years before the 2003 excise duty change or indeed the very many years' long-term trend of increasing consumption of full spirits above 23%, also unaffected by the excise changes of 2003.

Contrary to what some in the Fourth Estate (the media) say, Parliament made a public and conscious decision to raise the duty on all 14%-23% range drinks in 2003 because we didn't want to risk having binge drinkers (those after the "biggest bang for their buck") to switch from 14%-23% spirit-based drinks to sherry instead.


Alcohol Action Plan endorsed Yesterday,

MPs were lucky to be able to participate in the first-ever Alcohol Policy Roundtable at Parliament. I endorse the Alcohol Action Plan released by the New Zealand Drug Foundation after the forum. It is an important contribution to helping society seriously reduce the harm that alcohol is causing.


Significant shift in NZ politics

robson-on-politics readers may have picked up that the far-right of politics has descended into civil war. In a nutshell, ACT has decided to try and hurt National. That despite the National leader being championed (until very recently) as "ACT's tenth MP." Don Brash is supposedly the alternative Prime Minister.

I would have thought ACT would be delighted that it now has such a high ranking soul mate promoting its values of picking on women on the DPB and putting more and more New Zealanders in prison. Whatever their motivation, for some reason ACT isn't delighted at all. ACT now wants to hurt National. That is good news for those of us working for a historic, third term centre-left government. Marooned on the Right, says the NZ Herald


The Fourth Estate and democracy

NZ First leader Winston Peters gave an interesting speech on the way media organizations play a significant role in defining the terms of political and social debate. Just look at the coverage of alcohol abuse. But I don't agree with Mr. Peters that there is any conspiracy. I'd be interested in readers' views on our media's defining of The News. Email me:
Dominion reports that Peters 'lashes out at Kiwi media',2106,3201171a6160,00.html


Tories surrender on apprenticeships

In the 1990s, National-led governments virtually abolished apprenticeships. That legacy continues to hurt our economy. However the Labour-Progressive government is reversing the damage done. Great news yesterday that National and ACT admit their 1990s policy was wrong, wrong, wrong. They admit that more training for our young people is the right answer. ACT wants state funding to triple apprentice numbers! What we are achieving: id=15 and on apprenticeships:


More news stories are at


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