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Plain English - Column By Bill English

Plain English - Column By Bill English

Stadium Politics

Auckland opinion is running about two to one against the waterfront stadium. I expected more support for the Government's offer of a free $1 billion stadium. National wants to do what it can to make sure the 2011 World Cup is successful but we won't give the Government a blank cheque. A large number of questions remain unanswered about the stadium. Who is going to pay and how? Can it be built on time? What are the other infrastructure costs? What effect will an inevitable Treaty claim have on the project?

National will be the Government that has to ensure a stadium is finished and paid for, so we want more answers than we're getting now.

Call It Clark Park
After a year on the back foot, Helen Clark decided she had to take a gamble to turn around Labour's slide by Christmas. First came carbon neutral New Zealand, and then came the stadium. The idea apparently was to fix Labour's gender problem which has been about 60% female and 40% male. Trevor Mallard is the guy who goes over the top when the bullets are flying, but he doesn't always know what he's doing.

Early indications are that the blokes might support the stadium but not Labour, while females are much more likely to question why Helen Clark wants to spend $1 billion on a rugby venue when there's no money for better breast cancer or waiting lists. Helen Clark's gamble could end up with Labour losing female voters because they don't share her sudden willingness to bet the house on one rugby game. It's always risky to play politics with rugby, and Clark could pay the price.

Climate Change Climate Will Change
National will be true to its rural roots by adopting a practical and progressive approach to climate change. When the hysteria dies down there will still be a need for action. National will apply its long-standing principles that people should be responsible for the consequences of their choices, that incentives and market mechanisms work better than regulation, and that any action on climate change must be backed by sound science.

Nick Smith is running a series of meetings around New Zealand on National's environment discussion document, including proposals to deal with climate change. We are reaching every environmental opinion leader and getting strong feedback that we have produced serious and widely supported policy ideas. National will lead the sensible environmental debate into the next election.

Bill English MP
www.billenglish.co.nz

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