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News Worthy: The temperature in Parliament

News Worthy with Richard Worth

The temperature in Parliament

Parliament has been in Urgency this week passing a number of Bills which are simply not urgent. In such circumstances, emotion runs high and tempers fray. The position is not helped by the view of a number of Labour backbenchers that there is one law for John Tamihere and another law for everyone else.

His stance has been one of direct defiance of the Prime Minister. The constitutional reality is that the PM had no power to exclude him from the precincts of Parliament by placing him on "extended stress leave". He is a duly elected Member of Parliament

Questions and answers on MMP
Here are the three questions from last week. Assume Parliament has 120 members:
1. If National wins no constituency seats and gets 40% of the Party Vote, how many seats does it get?
2. If National wins 10 constituency seats and gets 40% of the Party Vote, how many seats does it get?
3. If a minor party fails to win a constituency seat and gets less than 5% of the Party Vote, what happens to those party votes?

Here are the answers (somewhat simplified)
1. 40% of 120 is 48 - so if National gets 40% of the Party Vote, it gets 48 seats.
2. Many respondents answered this question 58 (they added the 10 constituency seats to the 48 Party Vote seats). The correct answer is however, still 48.
3. If a minor party fails to win a constituency seat and gets less than 5% of the Party Vote, that Party Vote is redistributed proportionately amongst the other parties. So in this illustration National would get 40% of those redistributed votes. Voting redistribution could actively work against the interest of a major party. If for example an extreme right party failed to get a constituency seat and failed to secure more than the 5% threshold, then a redistribution would give a proportion of those failed votes to the left.

There are two points which arise from all this. First that the Party Vote is critical in an MMP environment and second that voting for minor parties carries the real risk that the votes may be discounted.
National has pledged to hold a binding referendum on MMP when it comes to power which will determine the future of the MMP system. We believe that was the expectation of the public and it is an expectation which should be honoured.

National Party Policy
National has announced policy in a number of areas including, law and order, welfare dependency, roading strategies, benefits for senior citizens, the resolution of Treaty issues, youth crime, local government, and the education policy released on Wednesday. In a later issue I will publish the key points which have been announced because the policies tend to get lost in the media mist.

The key points in the education policy from my perspective are:

· respect and remunerate teachers as professionals
· slash the education bureaucracy
· undertake the complete overhaul of NCEA to produce consistent results with marks
· set national standards in numeracy and literacy
· introduce vouchers for parents to access remedial tuition for children in maths and reading
· alter school funding with a move to a single grant for schools covering both salaries and operational costs
· support outstanding state schools
· end rigid zoning restrictions whilst ensuring that all pupils can attend a local school

The Labour List
National's Pansy Wong represents the Asian community with distinction. A question mark hangs over Labour's hopeful Steven Ching (ranked 42 in the Labour List). It seems that he owes his place to fundraising he has carried out for the Labour Party. That should never be the hallmark of selection.

The Government has launched an investigation into his fitness as a Justice of the Peace against a background of allegations that he pleaded guilty to a charge of obstructing a fisheries officer under his Chinese name and has used his title as Justice of the Peace for advertising purposes.

National Party campaign in Epsom
The launch dates for the campaign have not yet been set as we wait for the Government to announce an election date. If you would like to be involved in the campaign please email me.

Media watch
A selection of media comments on Richard on 8 April 2005

8 April - Law News - Lawyers & Conveyancers Bill
8 April - NBR Public Access to Law
8 April - NBR - Lawyers & Conveyancers Bill
8 April - NZ Herald - Suppression Orders
8 April - NZ Herald - Child grooming legislation

Political Quote of the Week
"It is no use saying, 'We are doing our best'. You have got to succeed in doing what is necessary." -- Winston Churchill - British Prime Minister 15 May 2005
No. 25

Upcoming Events

15 April - 12.00pm
Funeral of HSH Prince Rainier at the Cathedral of Monaco
Prayer for Prince Rainier III at Cathedral of the Sacred Heart - Wellington
Condolence book opened for signing at Parliament
15-17 April
National Party Northern Regional Conference
Epsom Girls Grammar School - opening of the Raye Freedman Arts Centre
18 April - 7.15am
Epsom Newsmaker Breakfast at Parnell Rose Garden Function Centre - inquiries Elizabeth Ph: 623 2598
6.30pm Neighbourhood Watching meeting at Kinder Care Learning Centre - 36 Greenlane East Road with Remuera Community Constable Catherine Grant and Richard
19-28 April
House in Adjournment

24 April
Bike Day Out - Clevedon

25 April - ANZAC Day
6.00am Auckland RSA Dawn Service

10.45am Eden Roskill RSA ANZAC Parade and service

26 April
Richard to address Rotary Club of Downtown Auckland
27 April
Richard visiting Rotorua/Taupo region
29 April
Maungakiekie electorate breakfast with Paul Goldsmith and John Key MP speaking on "What Mr Cullen's Budget will not address" - inquiries Paul (09) 522 4541
Opening of 2005 Taiwan Festival by Taiwan Hwa-Hsin Society in Christchurch
2 May
Richard speaking to Probus at Epsom Bowling Club
4 May
Launch of RoadSafe Auckland
5 May
HELP Fundraising Art Auction at Auckland Art Gallery
6 May
First of Super Blues Meeting - Ct: Roy Towers 524661 or Elizabeth 623 2598
12-13 May
21st Korean NZ Business Council Joint conference in Christchurch
14 May - 4.00pm
Leaky homes meeting with Hon Dr Nick Smith at the Horse & Trap

Richard Worth

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