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Newsworthy - 12 May 2006 - No. 72

NEWSWORTHY from Richard Worth MP
12 May 2006 - No. 72

The oldest profession

The effect of the Prostitution Reform Act passed in 2003 was to make prostitution a lifestyle choice which could be practised lawfully. Section 42 provided for a review of the legislation by a specially constituted committee.

That committee has now been established. The issues which it should confront include:

· Whether the legislation has achieved its intended purpose

· Whether it is appropriate for brothels to be lawfully established in residential neighbourhoods through by-lawmaking powers of local authorities

· Whether the significant increase in street prostitution and soliciting in particular areas (for example the Manukau City Council district) should be met by local legislation creating new offences

My answer to all these questions is “no”, and on the third issue, if the legislation is to remain, it is wrong in principle to create criminal offences in defined geographical areas. The lawmakers’ response should be a nation-wide response.

Immigration – a second look

Last week I argued the case for the advantages which flow from sound immigration policies.

People come into New Zealand under four different categories:

· Skilled migrants

· Business investor

· Family reunification

· Refugee quota

The refugee quota of 750 does not accurately reflect the total entry of refugees and their families into New Zealand. There is a quota of 300 for family members of refugees who come into New Zealand at the same time a refugee comes in.

Once settled, a refugee can bring in additional family members who are not counted as part of the refugee quota or the refugee family quota.

The system is open to abuse.

In 2004 three Afghan boys were accepted as refugees. Having been accepted into New Zealand, each then sponsored eleven non- refugee family members to join them.

But worse in my view is the requirement that those in the Business Investor Category must have a sound knowledge of English generally to the standard of the old University Entrance qualification.

Skilled migrants may require good English but business investors are in a quite different category.

A well-designed business investor programme would bring significant capital flows to New Zealand and business investors are well able to afford staff to assist them in their daily lives in New Zealand.

In an earlier newsletter I noted that Samuel Goldwyn who emigrated from Poland to New York and went on to create the famous film studio MGM knew nothing of English when he left from Poland.

Broadband and Telecom

The polls indicate strong support for the proposals to “unbundle the local loop”. This phrase means little more than allow access by competitors of Telecom to the local wire system of that company.

Popular though the proposals may be the evidence that unbundling the local loop will increase broadband access is highly problematic.

Germany was an early adopter of unbundling; Switzerland still has not one unbundled cabinet or exchange.

In the 2005 rankings of Broadband subscribers per 100 inhabitants, Iceland leads the table at 26.7. Switzerland is 5th at 23.1, Germany is 18th on 13.0. New Zealand is 22nd on 8.1.

In the leaked Cabinet paper, the Government advisers note the risks that the effect of the change may slow future investment in extending fibre closer to the customer and also slow investment in some rural areas.

Trenchant criticism of congestion charging

The Government is seeking comment on proposals including establishing cordons in various parts of the city and charging motorists as they pass through those cordons. Other options are also proposed including area charges.

The Auckland Business Forum which comprises a cross-section of Auckland industry and commerce is strongly opposed to the proposals primarily because Auckland does not yet have a comprehensive frequent and reliable passenger transport system, and also because the western ring route should be in place before a pricing scheme is introduced.

National’s policy remains constant for the Auckland roading network and can be summarised as follows:

· Fuel excise taxes should be spent on the roads and not be appropriated for general central government spending

· The base roading network should be completed within 8 years and funded with a range of strategies which might well include private sector participation

· It is critical that public transport services are efficient and accessible.

Political Quote of the Week

"A world united is better than a world divided, but a world divided is better than a world destroyed." - Winston Churchill - British Prime Minister

Richard Worth

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