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What's Going wONg

What's Going wONg

Clark hangs cops and driver out to dry

Two police officers and a civilian driver were today convicted on the charge of dangerous driving, and fined for the trouble they took to get the PM to her rugby game on time last year.

Clark has repeatedly denied knowing how fast the motorcade was going, but last week it was revealed in Court testimony that she had described it as a heroic drive.

It is reprehensible that Clark has washed her hands of this incident while three people, who were acting on instructions, walk away with criminal convictions.

Labour-Greens coalition - a stoned nation?

Make no mistake - a coalition Government between Labour and the Greens would take New Zealand back to the Stone Age, as well as relaxing our drug laws.

Recently, Clark and Fitzsimons have been getting cosy on the campaign trail. This is a stark turnaround from the 2002 election campaign where Clark ran down their now potential coalition partner.

Green Party policies, hidden behind their thinly disguised environmental stance, reveal their true intentions for our country. Until now, their ideals have only been ideas, but they could be put into practise if they get seats around the Cabinet table.

For starters, current transport plans for Auckland could be entirely scrapped; they want to eliminate personal choice of transport alternatives such as cars. The Greens want to impose an ecological tax, which would push the cost of petrol even higher and car-less days could be here irrespective of petrol prices under the Greens. As we all know, expecting people to stop using their cars isn't a feasible option for our city.

As well as the ecological tax, the Greens also want to impose a national levy on every tonne of rubbish that goes into landfills, and a levy on non-biodegradable and non-recyclable products.

In regards to welfare, they want to pay beneficiaries extra if they undertake volunteer work with organisations that are of 'value to the community or the environment'.

When it comes to unions, the ideals of the Green Party and Labour are closely aligned. Green Party employment spokeswoman Sue Bradford believes that workers should be able to strike for 'political, economic and environmental reasons - not just on employment issues'. Employers and the public look set for a rough ride if this policy is combined with the changes the Government made last year to the Employment Relations Act.

Moving from the worrying to the downright ridiculous is their goal for Maori to be supported by 'ensuring culturally appropriate disposal of sewage'. What does that mean and how do they even propose to do it?

Of course, there is also their highly publicised stance on drugs. Auckland Central candidate and Green Party Drug Law Reform spokesman Nandor Tanzcos says he wants to decriminalise the use of cannabis for those over 18 years of age and introduce instant fines for people found to be in possession of cannabis.

At a time when we are all concerned about our nation's drug use, and specifically the rise of P, it is irresponsible to promote the use of any illegal drug.

According to a New Zealand Herald survey of kiwis returning from Australia, the response was that New Zealanders, in general, are losing sense of who they are and why they are here. With these sentiments, we definitely cannot afford a continuation of Labour governance, not to mention a Labour-Green coalition.

Business desperate for change

A central Auckland car dealer recently alerted me to some overwhelming survey results that paint a grim picture for Labour.

Autofile, a car magazine aimed at car buyers and vehicle dealers, asked readers their opinion on the upcoming election. Almost 93% of people said they would be voting for National, and more than 95% predicted that National would win the most seats.

The respondents' comments reflect the intense frustration they are experiencing with this Labour Government. One said: 'If the change of Government does not happen, God help us all'. Others suggested: 'The last Government ... has been a total disaster for NZ', 'we need someone to govern the country and cut all the garbage, and 'the New Zealand economy has developed in spite of the Government, not because of it'.

These harsh words show the depth of bad feeling that small businesses, like car dealers, have towards Labour. The car dealer who alerted me to this survey says compliance costs and the changes to employment laws have put businesses between a rock and a hard place.

He went on to say that as well as the matters involved with day-to-day business, employers are fighting a continual paper war, having to get to grips with more legislation, as well as becoming employment law experts.

All too often I have heard Labour Cabinet Ministers and MPs dismiss these protests, claiming that our costs are nothing compared to Australia and other similar countries. This comparison is misplaced.

We all know that New Zealand is a nation made up of small, and some would even say micro, businesses. Around 86% employ less than five staff, yet are required to shoulder the same compliance costs as bigger businesses. In Australia for example, there is an economy of scale where costs are set in relation to turnover and profitability.

It must be frustrating for small business owners to hear Labour and Clark praising them for their hard work and contribution to the economy, while having to pay exorbitant costs and put up with Labour's employment laws that suggest they can't be trusted to be good employers.

Can you trust Cullen?

Cullen revealed yesterday that there is an extra $1.6 billion dollars in the kitty and a surplus of more than $7 billion, when in May, he was adamant that there was no room for tax cuts.

Suddenly, money is available for interest free student loans, and an extension of 'tax relief' for families.

This extension of the Working for Families package will trap people in the welfare net. National's policy will encourage people to move ahead, because the more you earn, the more you will keep. Watch this space for our tax announcement on Monday.

Pansy Wong


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