Don Brash Writes - No. 74, 3 April 2006
Don Brash Writes
No. 74, 3 April 2006
Over the last few days I have been talking about two key issues facing New Zealand. These are issues that I and many other New Zealanders are passionate about.
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April 1st saw a massive expansion of the welfare state as Labour extended the Working for Families package. As we have seen from Labour's TV ads, much of the extended Working for Families handout will go to higher income families who can afford to live in plush homes and own the latest electronic gadgets.
It's clear the extension was aimed at middle and higher income earners - proving it was a huge and desperate bribe to get Labour re-elected.
But thousands of Kiwis miss out. People without children will subsidise those with children to the tune of hundreds of millions of dollars.
National's policy at the 2005 election was to offer tax cuts to working New Zealanders. These would have provided far better incentives for working people to get ahead in life from their own efforts.
National remains committed to introducing competitive tax rates and other growth-enhancing elements in a fairer regime that lowers the burden on Kiwis.
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I strongly believe that there is no future for a racially divided electoral system in New Zealand. All New Zealanders deserve equality before the law and democratic equality.
Do we really want to raise our children in a country that is served by an electoral system that divides, rather than unites us? That is the message being sent with this electoral campaign which sets out to highlight racial differences rather than promote our shared values.
All Maori should enrol to vote. Participation is the most important thing and the Electoral Enrolment Centre must encourage that.
It is inexcusable that New Zealanders could be funding a campaign targeted at increasing the Maori roll, rather than targeting increased Maori participation in elections.
Many of the most significant gains made by Maori have been under National Governments. And while National has never won the Maori seats, we have been fierce advocates for fairness, equality and speedily putting right the wrongs of the past.
Maori now have unrivalled levels of representation in Parliament. The changing make-up of our population also means that this is never likely to change. The real choice facing Maori in this electoral option question is whether, fundamentally, they believe we are one nation or two.