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ACT's The Letter April 26 2005

ACT's The Letter April 26 2005


Parliament is in recess and the PM is visiting ANZAC Cove for the 90th commemoration of the landing at Gallipoli. It's a pity that Helen Clark's genuine compassion for our soldiers is only evident when they are dead.


Don Brash and National Party general manager Steven Joyce have been pitching the election as a two-horse race between them and Labour. Nothing could be further from the truth. Past experience shows that as the election draws closer the support for Labour and National drops and the other parties, including ACT, rise.

Here's the proof thanks to One News' Colmar Brunton poll. In 1999, six months out from the election, Labour and National had 83% of the poll between them. In the election this dropped to 69%. In February 2002 they were polling a combined 86%. History repeated itself. Labour and National's combined share dropped to 62% and the other parties went up from 14% to 39%. Five months out from the election this year, Labour and National share 83% in the polls. The Letter predicts that at on Election Day they will account for 65% of the vote with the other parties winning 35% between them - twice the current polling of 17%.


Labour governments traditionally have engaged in spend and bust policies that result in inflation and their trade union allies turning on them with increased strikes. The Clark administration is no different. The decrease in unemployment benefit spending has disguised the rapid growth in government spending. There are 38,000 extra civil servants. Civil service wage increases are leading wage inflation and rises in government charges are underpinning inflation. Now Labour's union allies are repaying Labour by organising strikes. The Unions having begun a campaign for a 5% wage rise cannot back down. Strikes will continue though the winter.


NZ is the only traditional democracy where the government by law restricts access to television during elections making it illegal for political parties to buy TV time. It then sets up a handicap system whereby Labour gets $1.1 million of state funding and the Maori party, likely to get 7 seats and the balance of power, receives just $25,000. If this were Russia the world would condemn our elections as unfair.


We note Michael Cullen's comments regarding objectionable emails on some police computers. Where has he been? We also note that some of the objectionable emails have come from parliament. Last year after months of inaction the ACT Party had to write to the General Manager of Parliamentary Services asking for some action to be taken against the bombardment of highly pornographic emails that our receptionist was receiving - 1000 per week, we are not kidding. If there really are only 330 police computers with objectionable material on them then the police have obviously been far more successful in dealing with this problem than parliamentary services had been until recently.


The Police's Northern Communications Centre came under fire last year for sending a taxi out to Iraena Asher following her frantic 111 call. The taxi got lost. The problem was not a one-off. Last August North Comms failed to launch a helicopter for two hours following a Mayday call from the fishing boat Iron Maiden. The tapes of the calls from the Rescue Co-ordination Centre based at Avalon, Lower Hutt to North Comms in Auckland tell a truly harrowing story. The helicopter was tasked but then stood down.

Then police advised the Rescue Co-ordination Centre that the helicopter had been sent when it had not. The two crew who had abandoned ship lost their lives. The Minister in charge of Transport Safety Harry Duynhoven was not briefed till March this year, when he was advised that there "may at the time have been a lack of clarity" and there was another formal review of the system. Duynhoven has yet to advise Police Minister Hawkins of the problem. It appears that it is not just the public who have trouble getting the police to respond.


On Tuesday Rodney Hide launched ACT's policy to cut red tape. Three key points are: the introduction of a Regulatory Responsibility Bill to ask some simple but tough questions of government before they pass yet another law, a return to the basic principles of property rights and the freedom to contract, and a lower, simpler, flatter tax scale. Rodney's speech can be found at http://www.act.org.nz/redtape.


United Future Leader Peter Dunne was overseas and unavailable for comment on the bust-up between the Families Commission and former chief executive Claire Austin, which has seen her leave her job only five months into a three-year contract. It would be too churlish to note that later that day Dunne put out a release to anyone who was listening on Transmission Gully. But it was left to his Deputy Judy Turner who fronted the Families Commission bust-up. She took a tough stance - not! declaring "if Austin's departure is a symptom of ongoing flaws the minister responsible will investigate if he has concerns". How reassuring!


National's caucus was rocked last week by news that Judith Ablett-Kerr was a top contender for a star slot. Richard Worth has long had his eyes on Attorney Generalship now only to see his star eclipsed.


Last week 84% of our readers agreed that superpower China is a threat to NZ, which in itself is a bit of a worry. This week "Have you ever had unwanted pornographic emails on your computer?" We will send your answers to the Commissioner of Police before he fires everyone. Vote at http://www.act.org.nz/poll. This document is available on the ACT website at http://www.act.org.nz/item.aspx/26882


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