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Progressive Party top priorities

11 September 2005

Hon Jim Anderton MP, Progressive Leader

Progressive Party top priorities for coalition work

In a Labour Led coalition the Progressive Party will prioritise five key policies that will make significant gains for New Zealanders. These were announced by Party Leader Jim Anderton in Wigram today.

Drinking age - raising the alcohol purchasing age

"Changing the law is an essential part of reducing the harm caused by binge drinking. Our bill covers education, advertising and raising the age of purchasing alcohol because they are all essential components in a reducing youth binge drinking.

"Research released by the Progressive Party earlier this week lays out the tragedy caused by lowering the drinking age. New Zealand and international researchers have estimated that we could have saved 12 young New Zealanders' lives and prevented 400 moderate to serious injuries annually simply by raising the drinking age back to 20.

Education package

"Businesses round the country are crying out for skilled labour - I want to be Minister of Education to sort out that problem - to bridge the gap between skills training needs and business skills shortages.

"Our skills shortage package of a skills stocktake backed up by 1,000 scholarships worth $12,000 each, along with our graduate debt relief programme for those graduates who stay and work in New Zealand is an excellent start.

Bridging the deposit gap for low income families

"Our policy to allow capitalisation of family support up to $30,000 to provide a first home deposit will ensure young families can get a chance at owning their own home.

Keeping the power on for superannuitants

"A $200 winter power supplement will make sure that our senior citizens living on relatively low fixed incomes do not have to turn off the heaters on cold nights next winter."

Hospital waiting list fund

"We will ask for a ring-fenced waiting list fund of $100m to be provided so that District Health Boards can apply for to ensure that local waiting list operations are performed. DHBs will be accountable for the 'reduction of waiting lists' proposals being implemented according to their planned timetable and costs.

"These key priorities will be argued for around the cabinet table in the same way that we have argued successfully for Four Weeks Paid Annual Leave for workers, Large Budget Screen Grants, the programme to address Drug and Suicide problems and Kiwibank, income related rents and extra apprentices in the two previous terms of coalition government," Jim Anderton said.

ENDS

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