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2008 going to be a big year - Anderton


 Jim Anderton’s news releases & speeches can be found on the websites of the New ZealandGovernment Progressive Party

2008 going to be a big year 
14.02.08 Welcome to the first e-news of 2008. It’s going to be a busy year, especially with a general election later in the year. Prime Minister Helen Clark was right when she told journalists that this Government is one that has a lot of ideas and policy still to implement, and we won’t be hanging up our boots anytime soon. That goes for me too.

Drought meeting brings representatives to Wellington 
 13.02.08 Representatives of land-based farming interests met with me at Parliament on Tuesday to discuss the current dry conditions. I wanted to get an understanding of the overall picture, as well of what is happening regionally and the drought meeting was an important first step in addressing the drought New Zealand is facing.
Twenty agriculture sector leaders made time to come to Wellington and I was very pleased to see the level of constructive engagement. There was broad agreement that, while hoping for the best, we must prepare for the worst. A Drought Committee is being formed and will hold its first meeting on Thursday 21 February. Details of its membership and the terms of reference are now being worked on. I expect that the core committee will not be large but will link into all the networks and information channels that were represented at that meeting.

I am worried about the effect of stress on families, as they face worsening conditions on their farms. Officials from MAF, the Ministry of Social Development, IRD, Treasury and Civil Defence will prepare information on all the services available and make sure it is given to Rural Support Trusts, and to rural accountants and other advisers, so that people understand what their entitlements to assistance are and co-ordinate their input into the Drought Committee’s work. I am now finalising plans to visit those regions that are worst affected by the continuing dry weather.

Tribute to Sir Ed
The Leader of the Progressive Party pays the tribute to Sir Edmund Hillary in the House, 12.02.2008

Sir Ed Hillary was a national hero, and he is rightly claimed as an inspiration by all New Zealanders. 

I find inspiration in the commitment he made to a fairer, more caring New Zealand. I find inspiration in both his public and political commitment.

He had a fierce and proud commitment to fairness and justice. He might have been the first to climb Everest but his life was more about working co-operatively than it was ever about competition.

Sir Ed Hillary showed us the value of decency and unity in our common purpose. He showed us the value of working tirelessly and selflessly for all our brothers and sisters on planet earth.

His values were the highest mountain he ever stood on. He showed us the value of taking on any challenge, meeting it with grit and determination, and of pulling together to make the most of our talents.

Sir Ed epitomised the tolerant society. He was the embodiment of a strong and caring New Zealand. He was an inspiration for the kind of New Zealand that we should aspire to create.

Orewa hears Progressive message for New Zealand  

 29.01.08 This year, I delivered the famous Orewa Rotary Club speech, and used the opportunity to call for a stronger, more caring, more equal New Zealand. It takes tolerance to unleash all of our talents and to encourage the talents and success of others.

Getting all of our communities aboard the boat and rowing in the same direction, not only helps each individual community; it helps row the boat faster too.

The real challenge for New Zealanders - Maori or Pakeha - is to create a New Zealand where no one is left behind; where everyone has an opportunity; and where everyone is included in our national successes. The real challenge is to create a New Zealand for all of us.

In the past twenty years or so, the word “equality” has become unfashionable and disappeared from the lips of many of our politicians. Two key issues that need addressing are housing and education.

Housing affordability is a critical issue for New Zealand. A stronger, more caring New Zealand is one where most families own their own home, rather than one where a few people own most of the homes.

One of the biggest barriers for low income families in buying their own home is getting the deposit together. The Progressive Party proposes that families be able to capitalize family support, to create the deposit for their own home. I know this scheme will work - it is how I bought my first home.

If we want to speed up our development further, and reduce the skills shortage created by reducing unemployment, the best thing we can do is remove the tax on tertiary education. If students agreed to stay and work in New Zealand after they graduate, their debt would be wiped.

This would not be something for nothing, but something in exchange for service. We would help to keep our best and brightest here at home. It's one of the best ways we can use some of the government's operating surplus.

At the moment, free education is nowhere on New Zealand’s political agenda. But it is too important to equality and opportunity to be ignored, and that's why we, the Progressive Party, are taking it on.

For "The Strength to Care" speech, go to

Anderton meets Australian counterpart in Rudd government 

 31.01.2008 I met my Australian counterpart, Tony Burke who is the incoming Minister of Agriculture, Fisheries and Forestry Tony Burke in Sydney. This visit was our first opportunity to meet and I was pleased at the rapport we developed. Issues on the agenda included drought conditions both countries are experiencing, proposed emissions trading schemes, wider climate change issues, greater co-operation in South Pacific fisheries management, and biosecurity issues such as equine influenza affecting horses in Australia and New Zealand apple exports to Australia.

I brought Tony Burke up to speed on New Zealand’s perspective on apple fireblight, and how we have been forced to ask the World Trade Organisation to convene a disputes panel to hear our case. It is still possible for the Australian Government to avoid that WTO process by coming up with a better import health standard that will enable our exports to be economic, at the same time as protecting their own industry from disease.

National has nothing to say about top issues facing New Zealand 

 29.01.08 What’s good in John Key’s “scene-setting” speech isn’t new, and what’s new isn’t good. Mr Key had nothing at all to say about lifting productivity in New Zealand and nothing about a middle class tax cut. He had nothing to say about home affordability and nothing to reduce the student debt burden.

I welcomed his commitment to having all 18 year olds in education, training or work. When I advocated getting everyone under 20 into jobs, education or training, National claimed the policy was unrealistic. There has been a 96 percent reduction since 2002 in the number of 18 and 19 year olds on Unemployment Benefit for more than 13 weeks. The number of 18 and 19 year olds on an Unemployment Benefit for longer than 13 weeks in December 2007 is fewer than 250.

Now John Key is actually talking about reducing the government commitment for 18 and 19 year olds, not increasing it for under-18s. His proposal for under-18s will not reduce the student debt burden for anyone.

We all have a stake in the Waitangi Day 

06.02.07 Waitangi Day is not celebrated as a genuine national day because New Zealanders do not have a shared sense of ownership in the Treaty of Waitangi.

Many New Zealanders see the Treaty as a document for Maori. It isn't. It is about much more than addressing past wrongs. Treaty rights move in both directions. The Treaty contains important promises to Maori that have on many, many occasions been breached. And it contains some important promises to the rest of New Zealand, including the absolute and unreserved right to govern.

It is implicit in the idea of governing that government is of and for all New Zealanders. Those who argue for a greater claim than other New Zealanders to these lands are advocating a breach of the Treaty.

Many liberal New Zealanders seem to apologise for extreme behaviour on the grounds that the Crown has also breached the Treaty in the past. But you can’t have it both ways. You can’t both say “honour the Treaty” and “rip it up” at the same time.

So I say to all those who try to take for themselves the rights protected for all New Zealanders: Honour the Treaty. The Treaty was not signed out of some idea of idealism and harmony, but because an agreement about the way ahead was better than the alternative. Those on either side who step away from the partnership principle underlying that agreement are no different from each other. The Treaty was signed, for good reason, and it continues to have meaning today.

The real challenge for New Zealanders - Maori or Pakeha - is to create a New Zealand where no one is left behind; where everyone has an opportunity; and where everyone is included in our national successes. The real challenge is to create a New Zealand for us all. If we had an inclusive New Zealand with a place for everyone, we would celebrate 6 February as a genuine national day.

Tighter controls on live animal exports for slaughter  

19.12.08 The export of livestock (sheep, cattle, deer and goats) for slaughter will be prohibited unless the risks to New Zealand’s reputation as a responsible exporter can be adequately managed. This decision was made following a recent review by the Government of New Zealand’s live export policies, which concluded that improvements were needed to manage the risks of potential ill-treatment of animals and any economic consequences that might result from that.

In October this year, the Government considered putting in place a Customs Export Prohibition Order to implement this change in policy, and consulted exporters, industry groups and other representatives of the farming industry.

MAF received 44 submissions from these stakeholders and animal welfare advocacy groups, with most supporting the decision to put in place tighter controls. While the Order prohibits all exports of livestock for slaughter, this is not absolute. Individual consignments may be approved on a case-by-case basis at the discretion of the Director-General of Agriculture and Forestry. Approval would only be granted if the risks can be adequately managed.

Exporters will be required to provide an affidavit as to the purpose of all livestock exports. The additional controls do not apply to exports of livestock for breeding or other purposes. MAF will provide exporters and trading partners with guidance as to the factors that the Director-General of MAF may take into account in deciding whether to grant an exemption. This could include the applicant’s experience from past trade.

Timberlands future announced                                                                                                                                                    

08.02.08 State-Owned Enterprises Minister Trevor Mallard announced that the assets of Timberlands West Coast Ltd are to transfer to Crown Forestry as the SOE can no longer operate as a successful business. Mr Mallard said the recent audit of the forestry estate, which was completed in late 2007, shows that future annual harvest yields are significantly below earlier estimates due to difficult growing conditions on the West Coast and severe losses due to wind damage.

Transferring the assets to Crown Forestry would take advantage of its management efficiencies and systems.  Crown Forestry intends to negotiate commercially sustainable supply contracts with West Coast timber mills once the current contracts have expired. Crown Forestry will look to address issues as quickly as possible. The long-term replanting future will be determined over the next two years as part of its audit process.

Innovation always a feature of NZ dairying
Launch of the new industry-good organisation DairyNZ

05.02.08 Ever since we started farming in New Zealand we have been home to world-leading agricultural innovation with dairy as a pioneering industry. From pasture, to animal management, to health, to technology, to transport, dairy innovation has been constant for at least a century. It is a powerhouse of our economy.

Over the last twenty-five years average herd sizes have doubled and then kept growing, without increases in the number of staff to manage them. In other words, labour productivity rose steeply.  It earns eighteen percent of merchandised exports. In the year from November 2006 to November last year, the total value of merchandise exports from New Zealand rose by over eighteen percent. Milk powder alone accounted for more than half the increase.

So while I certainly want to see the rest of our economy grow faster - and there have been some encouraging successes in industries like the film industry, biotech and IT - for the foreseeable future only our primary industries have the global scale, sophistication and competitive advantage to transform our national income.

We are dependent on a smart, successful dairy industry. And the future for our dairy industry is dependent on smart farming and smart science. So I welcome the creation of DairyNZ. Like the 93 percent of farmers who supported its creation in the ballot, I am confident it will make a positive difference.

The previous organisations did a good job in the dairy sector in on-farm productivity, in developing our human capability and in lifting our environmental performance.

And because Dairy Insight and Dexcel were organisations that performed well, it took real courage and foresight to recognise that we could go to another level still by bringing them together into one industry-good organisation. It is always easy to rest in your comfort zone.

As useful as the parts were, the whole can be greater still. The new organisation will be streamlined, more efficient and more effective. This new organisation will be well-placed to lead dairying into a stronger, higher value future. It is beginning its tasks at a time of real strength for the dairy industry. But at a time when new challenges are unfolding in front of us.

Greens' conspiracy theory complete nonsense

31.01.08 Claims by the Green Party that the Government has been “hijacked” by Federated Farmers over water policy are simply ridiculous. If the Greens were actually involved in these issues at the coal face, they would know the relationship between the Government and the Federation over water quality is tense and far from "cosy".

At the end of last year I boycotted the launch of the Federation's RMA reform campaign because I was concerned they were not taking environmental issues seriously enough. At the time I issued a public statement condemning a call by Federation President Charlie Pedersen for farmers to be compensated for regulation on water quality. I stated that 'Farmers, like all industry, must accept responsibility for the effects of their production and sometimes this will mean time and money for farmers, just like other businesses'.

The Government is working closely with local government to improve the mix of tools available to councils to manage water quality and quantity issues. These measures will be rolled out this year.

Marine biosecurity promotion timely
06.01.08  Boaties, fishermen, and other people enjoying our coastal waters over summer need to keep their eyes peeled for potential marine pests. MAF Biosecurity NZ is distributing 30,000 copies of laminated cards during summer to boaties, fishermen, and others. As well as promoting the surveillance message, the cards promote the key actions boaties can take to protect the marine environment – keeping their boat hulls clean and well anti-fouled to avoid spreading any marine pests that may already be here.

The cards are a timely reminder for people using the water for recreation and work that marine biosecurity is important. Commercial fishing and aquaculture alone earned $1.35 billion for New Zealand in 2006, not to mention the earnings from our tourism industry. Marine pests can severely damage these industries as well as the wider coastal environment.

The cards also have useful information on what to do if anything odd is found, and how to report those potential finds, using MAF Biosecurity New Zealand’s tollfree number 0800 80 99 66. Anyone requiring sets of the cards can request them by emailing:


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