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robson-on-politics 21 April 2005

robson-on-politics 21 April 2005

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

Seeking Party Votes in the Bay of Plenty

Last night, I met Progressive members in the Bay of Plenty for a campaign meeting. Their task in the September election will be to seek party votes for the Progressive Party in the Bay area. We need that so Helen Clark can continue to have a credible coalition partner - pro-development, anti-drugs - in the next Parliament.

Our Coromandel candidate, Annette Anderson, is already seeking party votes. In the Bay of Plenty electorate our candidate is about to be confirmed. Selection is coming up soon in Rotorua, Tauranga, and Waiariki.

It has been good to talk to farmers and growers about their need for workers and our sensible employment policies. I’ll return before the election. And this afternoon to top off two great days in the Bay of Plenty, I discovered a great tea shop in Ngongotaha.

SOE profits are invested in our country now

For about twenty-five years from the mid 1970s, New Zealand's average, relative standard of living fell sharply compared with the rest of the developed world. But the slide has been arrested since the Clark-Anderton government was elected. Key social and economic trends have started to improve

We are investing heavily in bolstering the productive capacity of our economy and the skills of our people, helping to turn creative ideas into export opportunities.

And with National and its allies in Opposition, the strategic asset sales programme has stopped. SOE profits are these days reinvested in our country, instead of being siphoned off as dividends to foreign owners.

A 75,000% increase

Good news that the Electoral Commission has allocated $75,000 to the Progressive Party for radio and TV broadcasting during the election campaign. We also get seven minutes for opening and closing addresses.

Unlike some grumblers, I’m happy with the decision. It’s a lot better than three years ago when we were shut out entirely. I’d be even happier though if independent Commissioners were left to get on with their job instead of having two political appointees there as well.

A third party that actually delivers

The Progressive Party gets good things done for people and we have the best track record of achievement of any Third Party: creating Kiwibank and the Ministry of Economic Development; arguing for and winning Four Weeks Annual Leave and Paid Parental Leave (which help working families stay in the workforce); and policies to reduce the harm caused by drugs.

But Progressive needs to increase its representation in Parliament so Helen Clark's next administration remains forward-looking and progressive. If we don’t, a Labour-led government could regress into the reactionary politics of division being offered up by other Third Parties.

New Zealand as a society has heaps yet to do and it can't afford the luxury of experimenting with the Maori Party's strange agenda to categorize everyone and everything by racial and "cultural" origin. Nor can we retreat into the fearful, xenophobic world offered by NZ First and the Greens.

Doing their best to destroy MMP

United gave MMP a bad name in the run-up to the first MMP election in 1996. And NZ First's behaviour in 1996 - first it said it could be trusted to get rid of National, but then joined National in an asset-selling coalition - saw support for MMP crumble. In recent weeks we've seen ACT, NZ First, the Greens and United promise the Sun, the Earth and the Moon - all to be done by lunchtime.

Each of these parties has cynically promised to spend this government's cash surplus many times over. If ever attempted, their promises would deliver a government financial crisis, followed in quick order by social and economic crises of which Kiwis have had a gutsful.

But the one thing the Opposition parties don't deliver are Alternative Budgets, yet alternative budgets can be very useful tools for small parties to really figure out what their absolute priorities in government would actually be.

The discipline required would help those parties, and the public, fully appreciate the Opportunity Costs involved - like telling us how much student fees would need to go up by to cover the lost revenue from lower income tax.


Friday night I’ll be watching the Anzac rugby league test. I’ll take my usual balanced approach, waiting till half-time to decide which team to back

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