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ACT’s The Letter 7 June 2005

ACT’s The Letter 7 June 2005

Poll rocks Labour

Labour was rocked by last week’s NBR poll putting them one point behind the Nats. They are looking for scapegoats. Cullen has decided that President Mike Williams is his goat because he hyped the Budget by announcing a “deep, dark secret”. As Cullen caustically observed, “he forgot to tell me what it was”. Ouch!

Poll Blues

The NBR poll was bad news for Labour but good news for Winston. Labour’s down, National and NZ First are up. Such an election result would leave Winston deciding who would be PM. Who would he choose. The Letter predicts: voting for Winston didn’t change the government in 1996 - and it won’t in 2005 either.

Tax cuts inflationary?

Awash with taxpayers’ money, Cullen says he must keep it all. That’s because you would only spend it forcing up interest rates.Huh? Taxes increase prices? Tax cuts actually lower them. Cutting income taxes would cut prices including interest rates.

Rich Govt, poor people

Cullen’s other excuse for no tax cuts is he can’t afford them. He’s increasing government spending 40% faster than the economy is growing and look at the balance sheet. Government’s net worth is now $35.5 billion and is set to increase to $63.1 billion over the next five years. It’s growing at 12.2% or $5.5 billion a year. Yet Cullen says he can’t afford tax cuts. Yeah right!

It’s TV3’s fault

The pressure is getting to Cullen. So he’s hitting out. He accused TV3 of using false pretences to elicit information from “distasteful” people following sidelined education Minister David Benson-Pope’s claims in parliament. Two hours later Cullen had to make an embarrassing back down. He didn’t like doing it. He had made his claims outside the protection of parliament. With the PM facing defamation proceedings from former Police Commissioner Peter Doone, he didn’t want to be in court too.

Health experiment

Heather Roy has collated the results of Labour’s 5-year experiment of throwing more and more money at health to fix things. It hasn’t! Spending is up 60% (an extra $3.5 billion a year), waiting lists refuse to budge at 180,000 and the number of operations has increased by a little over 1%. That’s not much for an extra $3.5 billion. While there have been few extra operations and no reduction to waiting lists the health bureaucracy has grown. Ministry staff now number over 1,000, which is an increase of 40% - think how many hip replacements that would buy!

Bad branding

National’s spin doctor Richard Long has taken to writing “personal and confidential” letters to TV shows to explain that it’s “bad branding” to have National MPs appear with MPs from other parties. They will only front-up if it’s one- on-one with a Minister, says Long. National then wonder why they don’t get much live coverage. The great thing about live shows is that you can’t get misquoted. Which means you then don’t have to waste time accusing the media of misquoting you. Hmm. Maybe that’s the problem.

What’s a billion $$ look like?

MPs’ eyes glaze over with mention of a billion here and a billion there. That’s how governments get budgets through. MPs perk up with mention of a $100 or a $1,000. That is an amount they can comprehend. So here’s how to explain a billion dollars to your local MP. Picture a $100 bill. Imagine a bundle. There’s a 100 in a bundle. That’s $10,000. Now start stacking the bundles up. One, two, three - that’s $30,000 - Jonathan’s taxi rides for a year. Keep going. How high is a billion? It’s a kilometre! Total government spending next year? $100 bills stacked 60 kilometres high.

Dirty greens

Green co-leader Rod Donald committed the Greens to fighting a clean campaign this year then compared Winston to Adolf Hitler. His co-leader Jeanette Fitzsimons nutted off about Brash wanting all women in the kitchen and Maori to be just like him. It makes a change from the sky is falling and we are running out of oil.

Dial 111...

Last week, The Letter reported the police saying they were “very comfortable” with how Northern Comms handled the Iron Maidens’ mayday call. Minister for Transport Safety Duynhoven then said the police must have been listening to a different recording to the one he heard. The inquest is set down for 4 July in Kaitaia.

Speaker’s decision

Speaker Wilson today determined that “on the evidence” Rodney put forward there is no question of privilege against David Benson-Pope. Benson-Pope told parliament he didn’t tie a pupils hands and stuff a tennis ball into his mouth. His victim and his classmates went on nationwide TV to say he did. They can’t both be right. But it appears any old answer will do in parliament now. It used to be too that ministers cared enough about their reputation to bring a breach of privilege against anyone who publicly said they lied in parliament. That no longer seems to apply either.

Rural crime

Last week ACT MPs Stephen Franks and Gerry Eckhoff hosted a well- attended rural crime public meeting in Rotorua. Guest speakers included Reparoa farmer Peter Bentley - a victim of a rural home invasion, Agnes Nicholas, wife of slain Hawke’s Bay farmer Jack Nicholas and Sensible Sentencing Trust’s Garth McVicar. The 111 debacle, land access and a rise in rural offending means rural people have never felt so unsafe in their own homes.

Our Poll

Last week 97% of respondents agreed Govt spending should be capped. This week, “Who would Winston support - Labour or National?” Vote onwww.act.org.nz/poll. We will tell Winston the result.


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