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Dunne celebrates first year of C & S achievements

Thursday, 19 October 2006

Dunne celebrates first year of C & S achievements

United Future leader Peter Dunne, noting that it's a year since United Future and Labour signed the confidence and supply agreement that led to the formation of the Government, said today significant progress had already been made on the policy programme agreed on.

"I'm particularly pleased that the Business Tax Review I've been overseeing as Minister of Revenue is well down the track of public consultation and has sparked a wide-ranging and informative debate on the whole topic of tax reform.

"The agreement called for the development of a national medicines strategy and this work, too, is well-advanced with a public consultation document likely to be issued before the end of the year."

Mr Dunne said United Future had long campaigned for a more generous tax regime for donations to charities.

"The Finance Minister Dr Michael Cullen and I have just released a series of proposals for increasing the tax breaks available as well as innovative ideas such as tax rebates for volunteer work, not just financial donations, in order to encourage public volunteering and philanthropy in New Zealand.

"As foreshadowed in the confidence and supply agreement, the Prostitution Reform Act is currently under review with a working group that includes United Future MP Gordon Copeland and former United Future MP Larry Baldock as members.

"The working group is looking at ways to reduce under-age prostitution and street-soliciting. The group has visited Auckland and is about to visit Christchurch to hear from affected residents.

He said a nation-wide pest reduction strategy is well underway, with positive and workable feedback from a wide-range of outdoor recreation groups and the Ministry of Conservation. An announcement is likely within the next few months.

United Future is working closely with the Minister for the Environment and the Minister of Agriculture to find solutions to water quality issues and agrarian runoff.

"I am pleased that the Government has stuck to its word not to alter the legal status of cannabis nor to introduce 'hate speech' legislation and I am especially delighted that the Government threw out the unworkable carbon tax proposal and is now working on a sensible climate change policy.

"United Future has an agreement with the Government for private hospital capacity to be used to reduce waiting lists where feasible, and currently work is being done to extend this practice within the health system."

Mr Dunne said the success of the confidence and supply agreement showed that small parties were able to play a valuable role in delivering sensible, stable government to New Zealand.

ENDS

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