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Newman Online Weekly commentary by Muriel Newman

Newman Online Weekly commentary by Dr Muriel Newman MP

Why A Party Vote for ACT is the ONLY vote for change

This week Newman Online looks at how only a Party Vote for ACT is a vote for change.

The mood in New Zealand is a mood for change: a change in government and a change in direction.

Up and down the country people are saying they have had enough of Labour. They feel that Labour has become arrogant and has stopped listening: working New Zealanders have had enough of working harder but struggling to get ahead; small businesses have had enough of struggling with the ever-increasing burden of regulation that has been foisted on them; and individuals are fed up with Labour interfering in their family, restricting their freedom, and intruding in their personal lives.

The big contest at the election is between Labour and National. That is the battle that is occupying people's minds. While that battle is going on, the nuances of MMP lie forgotten, but once the election campaign begins they will become relevant and they will matter.

Under MMP every voter has two votes - the Electorate Vote and the Party Vote. The Electorate Vote is for the candidate who will work the hardest for the electorate, while the Party Vote is for the party that best represents the values and aspirations of the voter.

Of the two votes it is the Party Vote that is the most important because it determines the future direction of New Zealand. For small parties like ACT, the Party Vote is vital for our survival.

After the election, New Zealand will either have a government led by Helen Clark and Labour or one led by Don Brash and National. Neither of these two parties can govern alone, they will need the support of the minor parties.

Those New Zealanders who are desperate for a change in government will need to think carefully about how they vote at the election, because if they want a change in the direction that New Zealand is heading, then it is only ACT who can deliver that change.

On present polling, National and NZ First could form a government together. The problem is that such a government could not deliver on the changes that are needed if New Zealand is to become a first world nation. The reason is that to become a first world nation, ACT's agenda would need to be enacted and NZ First could not support that because it does not believe in lower taxes or less state control.

The last time that NZ First was in government with National, it turned into an expensive disaster. Winston Peters was responsible for driving a $6 billion spending spree. Already his current promises to Grey Power demonstrate that he has not changed. He is and always has been a big spending interventionist.

That means that a government of National and NZ First will not the able to deliver on National's promise of tax cuts, welfare reform, and smaller government, which has been ACT's agenda for the last decade. Instead the country would be held to ransom by the whims and wishes of a consummate populist politician.

Those New Zealanders who are desperate for change must realise that a party vote for ACT is the only way to guarantee change.

ACT's Leader Rodney Hide is campaigning hard in Epsom and he is confident of winning the seat. Once voters focus on the importance of strategic voting in order to determine the shape of a new government, ACT will be seen as the only insurance against a swing to the left. Having ACT working with National to keep them on track is the only way to bring about proper tax cuts, effective welfare reform and a comprehensive shake down of the regulation, bureaucracy and red tape that is undermining small-business.

Don Brash has already asked New Zealanders who want to see a change in direction for the country not to vote for NZ First or United. He knows that both of those parties are prepared to work with Labour. What he hasn't said - yet -is that ACT is his small party of choice.

Don Brash has been labelled as more ACT than ACT. When he was first elected to Parliament people used to joke that he was another ACT MP. But he is only one man, and while some in National share his prescription for improving New Zealand, many others in his party do not. That is why it is so important that ACT is there to work with National after the election in order to bring about the changes that are needed and to undo the damage that Labour has done.

ACT is a party that believes in freedom, choice and personal responsibility. Our vision for New Zealand is of a country that is free, prosperous and proud. A country where enterprise flourishes, success is celebrated, hard work is rewarded and families are strong. A safe country where citizens are proud of our world class health and education systems and where we are all equal under the law.

A Party Vote for ACT is a vote for a party that sticks to its principles, tells it like it is - no matter how unpopular that might be - and truly believes that our ideas of lower taxes, more effective welfare and a productive small-business sector will improve the lives of every New Zealander. Just as a rising tide lifts all boats, so a growing economy raises the standard of living of each and every citizen.

If you believe in these values and our principles, then please join us in our 'five-a-day' campaign. Between now and the election, we are asking supporters to make five contacts a day - whether it's sending me e-mail addresses of people you believe will be interested in finding out more about ACT, or talking to others about how Don Brash needs ACT. If everyone who supports ACT finds the time to help in our "five-a-day" campaign, they will be helping to ensure that New Zealand has a very bright future after the 2005 election... whenever that is!

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