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robson-on-politics 5 July 2005

robson-on-politics 5 July 2005

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

Tues 5 July

The War on Global Poverty

How wonderful to pick up the New Zealand Herald yesterday and see plastered across the full front page a photograph and story full of hope for the future! "Songs for Africa" stamped across a photograph of a mass of humanity standing together ahead of a story entitled 'Millions send poverty message to rich leaders'.

The hopes of the hundreds of thousands who demonstrated against poverty will not be realised until reforming Governments handle the issue of redistribution of wealth and a fair global trading system.

Crowd of 1 million demand end to poverty

The most effective single act that the Europeans, North Americans and Japanese could do, of course, is to support the millions of Asians, Latin Americans and Africans that have for decades called on the wealthiest societies to tear down their unfair import barriers on efficiently-produced agriculture produce and goods produced in the Third World.

See: Oxfam's Made Trade Fair campaign

Politicians respond to People Power

Third World debt is a symptom of the problem, the problem being the trade barriers which consumers in the rich nations could end tomorrow if they demanded their politicians end the US$279 million worth of subsidies for rich nations' farmers which each and every year act to destroy lives in the Third World.

The rich world's tariffs, quotas and subsidies are designed to kill-off competition from efficient, often small producers in agriculturally-strong economies like ours.

2005 update: What the OECD club of rich nations says about agricultural polices in OECD countries

Welcome Home great - one more step needed

The government has taken another important step to meeting the housing needs of low-to-middle-income families with the Welcome Home policy.

But Progressive is pushing for one more step to help families into their first homes. Our Family Support Capitalisation scheme, which we want to see enacted by the 2005-2008 Parliament, will help bridge the deposit gap for thousands of low income families.

Jim and I urge Labour MPs, today considering their student debt policy, to adopt at Progressive's 2005 election policy to slash graduates' debt.

What should progressives aim for in '05-'08?

Future social historians considering the highlights of our centre-left coalition government's 2002-2005 parliamentary term will without a doubt list the law change to extend to workers an additional paid week's annual holiday as a real stand-out achievement.

All serious parties (that obviously excludes United Future and ACT) now agree Four Weeks Annual Leave is here to stay so that Progressive policy has been enshrined into our national social framework for all time.

Future social historians will list the highlights of the 1999-2002 parliamentary term as the establishment of Kiwibank, the putting in place of a framework for regional and industry development, paid parental leave, the three year freeze on student fees and waiver on interest on fees for students in study.

The highlights of a 2005-2008 centre left coalition, we hope, will be Progressive Election 2005 policies to:
(1) cut graduates’ debt in return for them using their skills working in NZ;
(2) take strong action to reduce youth binge drinking;
(3) get low income families into their first homes;
(4) cut the corporate tax rate to encourage yet more job-creating export businesses to locate in NZ;
(5) give a financial boost to retired people struggling on fixed incomes.

Let China trade its way out of poverty!

Looking at the strong noises coming out of Scotland for action on poverty, I'm reminded that this progressive coalition government in 2001 granted the 48 Least Developed Countries duty-free access to the New Zealand market and it is this sort of strong leadership against poverty that the world's biggest and richest nations fail to deliver on agriculture.

You can't help but wonder at reactionaries in New Zealand who would, in this century, deny China the opportunity to trade its way out of its current poverty, just as Europe and America and Japan and Korea once traded their own ways out of poverty. It isn't just NZ First that is against meaningful action to reduce poverty. Unfortunately there are hangers-on on the Left as well who affect to care, but actually try to stop real progress.


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