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News Worthy, 31 March 2006

News Worthy

31 March 2006 - No. 67

The latest Polls
The polls published this week place the parties in the following ranked order
National - 45%
Labour - 42%
Greens - 7%
Maori Party - 3%
NZF - 2%
United Future - 0%
ACT - 0%

The poll covers the period of David Parker's resignation from Cabinet after admitting filing false returns to the Companies Office. Under the relevant legislation he faces a potential penalty of $200,000 and a jail term of 5 years.

In a recent decision (Hale v The Registrar of Companies) the High Court upheld fines of $7000 on two shareholders who failed to file financial statements within a specified time limit. They had moved from New Zealand and were apparently unaware that as a result of that move they had such an obligation.

The penalty imposed clearly indicates the serious stance that the law takes towards Companies Office returns.

The significance for Mr Parker is that the conviction would result in his having to resign from Parliament under section 55 of the Electoral Act.

Steaming through the seas of Politics

Dr Don Brash is speaking at a Epsom breakfast on Friday 7 April 2006 at 7.30am. The place is Parnell on the Rose Garden - 85 Gladstone Road - Parnell and the cost is $25 in advance or $30 at the door.

If you would like to come tickets are available by calling (09) 623 2598 or emailing me at richardworthmp@xtra.co.nz

Broadband

The Government has reiterated its commitment to faster broadband services. That commitment was first made by the Prime Minister in her opening statement to Parliament. On 27 March 2003 the portfolio Minister said:
It's become very clear that new initiatives are needed to get faster internet access and at more competitive prices. Broadband is a critical enabler of productivity, growth, and economic transformation, yet New Zealand is lagging behind on many broadband indicators. For example:

* Our connection speed offerings are on average still too slow.
* Our standard upload speed has been too slow for many users and has inhibited some important applications and development of advance services.
* We are one of the few countries where restrictive data caps have been the norm.
* The latest OECD rankings on the average per person investment in telecommunications infrastructure placed us at 22nd out of thirty nations.
* Similarly, the OECD's mid 2005 rankings for the level of broadband uptake also placed us at 22nd out of thirty.
These results are unsatisfactory.

Infrastructure

From the same speech by the Prime Minister "Auckland cannot realise its potential as a world class international city if people and goods cannot move rapidly through it".

In an Auckland context there are huge financial challenges to the provision of both hard infrastructure (roads, energy, water, telecommunications etc) and soft infrastructure. In the latter area the local authorities face major expenditure against the background of previous decisions to limit rate increases and restrain expenditure.

Alternative funding mechanisms have not been pursued.

There will always be an argument amongst local authorities in Auckland as to how regional facilities are to be funded. In two instances (the Auckland Museum and MOTAT), local legislation has been enacted which requires, on a formula basis of capital value and population, local authorities to pay support levies.

But the list of regional facilities extends far wider than that and includes:

Convention Centre - $125-205 million
Eden Park Upgrade for RWC 2011) - $200 million
Auckland Art Gallery (Restoration) - $90 million
Auckland Museum Grand Atrium project - $64.5 million
Auckland Showgrounds(new exhibition halls) - $26 million
Auckland Zoo(New Exhibits) - $18 million
MOTAT(Upgrade to Aviation display area) - $12 million
Regional Rescue Helicopter(replacement helicopter) - $7 million
National veterinary facilities - $5 million
Stardome Observatory(Upgrade to Planetarium experience) - $1.4-2.0 million

The funding answers lie in a range of possibilities including debt funding, greater use of development and financial contributions and in some cases changed funding legislation to enable co-funding of first-class regional facilities.

Busting the gangs

This month has seen the South Auckland Police bust an organised crime ring run by the Black Power gang.

Policing the gangs is difficult and dangerous work.

Limited resources have been deployed to deal with the gang problem. We have seen increasing sophistication as the gangs organise their affairs on business lines. Gang activity is now big business.

The open activities of prostitution and the pushing of methamphetamine mask activity across a range of investment activities including property acquisition.

Present Government proposals fall far short of what is required. National policy is to destroy the gangs by confiscating their assets.


Political Quote of the Week

"There is only one basic human right, the right to do as you damn well please. And with it comes the only basic human duty, the duty to take the consequences". - P.J. O'Rourke - America's leading political satirist (1993)

Richard Worth


Visit my website for more information at: www.richardworth.co.nz


ENDS

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