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robson-on-politics - Tues 29 March

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

Tues 29 March

Tomorrow marks longest MMP government

Tomorrow marks the 965th day in office for the Labour-Progressive government.

In 1993, New Zealanders demanded an end to the 19th Century voting system that had delivered a huge slide in New Zealand's relative economic and social performance ("Muldoonism" and "Rogernomics").

It is true that MMP got off to a dreadful start with short-lived and unhappy National-United, National-NZ First and National-Mauri Pacific governments in short order.

But things have been much better since late 1999 and on Wednesday the Labour-Progressive government celebrates that it is the longest serving government since the advent of MMP. We will be the first to serve a full term which means MMP has come of age.

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Making MMP work

Three parties, Labour, Progressive and United, with a one-seat majority in Parliament between us, are making MMP work for people.

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Teaching the Canadians about democracy

I'll be attending a round table discussion with other party representatives tonight on behalf of visiting Canadian MPs interested in learning about true democracy.

I'll be explaining that for the six smaller parties the big challenge under MMP is to get into Cabinet. In 2002, Progressive was the only smaller party to successfully make it into Cabinet. Our priorities, like four weeks leave for workers, encouraging Big Budget Screen productions to be filmed here and other initiatives to create high quality jobs for young people in their own regions are being put into place with broad parliamentary support.

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Budget 2005 announcements start today

Jim Anderton normally starts the ball rolling with pre-Budget Day policy announcements and I'm expecting Budget 2005 announcements may start today with Jim attending the Better By Design conference. His speech will be posted at:

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Better by design

Businesses looking to make their mark in export markets need to better utilize design not just in the way a product looks, but much more importantly in the bottom-to-top discipline required to ensure products are world class. Over the past three years, the Labour-Progressive government has been working closely with an extraordinarily high-powered group of dedicated New Zealand businesses on significantly upping the role of design in lifting New Zealand's productive performance.

This work is vitally important to everything this government has been striving to achieve since 1999: It is about lifting the productivity of our economy. It is about significantly improving the opportunities for young people to get high paying jobs in their own regions and in their own country. Social justice can only be built on strong economic foundations.

Over the next 48 hours, 750 business people, designers and design educators, including 300 delegates, will be attending the Better by Design conference in Auckland.

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Drinking age debate: Score is 44 to 42

The Herald-on-Sunday did a comprehensive review of the latest evidence on the public health and personal safety issues arising from New Zealand's decision to lower the alcohol purchasing age in 1999. Progressive is promoting a return of the purchasing age to 20, together with other public health measures like tougher laws to punish those who supply liquor to minors and stronger advertising law.

The newspaper's poll of M.P.s shows tremendous progress in our campaign to rally support: Just 44 MPs remain wedded to the current low drinking age - that means 76 either support raising the age or are open to adopting that view - we are going to win this one on behalf of New Zealand!

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