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National And ACT's Victory For Democracy

National And ACT's Victory For Democracy

Rodney Hide MP Sunday, November 16 2008

National-ACT Confidence & Supply Agreement announcement; Parliament, Wellington; Sunday, November 16 2008

I see National and ACT's Confidence and Supply Agreement as a victory for democracy. A week ago New Zealand voted for a Centre-Right government and today, with this historic agreement, we have one.

Agreement was achieved at an unbelievably quick pace. Tremendous ground was covered as a result - and only because - of the tremendous spirit of good faith and trust built up between my self and John Key during his time as Leader of the Opposition, and throughout the past week when he gained enormous respect from me with his openness and willingness to see the other's point of view.

All our discussions this week indicate we have the basis for a long-lasting and fruitful relationship based on that mutual respect.

This isn't an agreement cobbled together out of self-interest, but one developed through our shared vision to create a better and brighter future for New Zealand.

John Key and I have set the big goal of New Zealand closing the income gap with Australia by 2025. We aim to catch and match Australia. That's a stretch. It's what we need to do to bring our kids home.

We share the view of the need to make New Zealand safer. That's why ACT's 'Three strikes and You're Out' Law & Order policy for violent offenders will have National's support to a Select Committee. We look forward to New Zealanders getting behind this measure that will save lives.

On Climate Change we will review New Zealand's response with agreed draft terms of reference. The implementation of the Emissions Trading Scheme will be delayed until the review is completed, and the thermal generation ban will be repealed.

On spending, we will establish a series of task forces to undertake a fundamental review of base government spending in identified sectors. Capping core government spending will receive Select Committee consideration.

We have set a medium-term goal of setting the top rate of tax at 30 percent. In doing so, we have made the clear statement that New Zealand now has a government that will reward and celebrate success - not punish it.

National and ACT are committed to combating the red tape that's tying New Zealanders in knots, with John Key appointing me Minister of Regulatory Reform. We will establish a task force to carry forward work on the Regulatory Responsibility Bill, and we will explore the concept of a New Zealand Productivity Commission.

We have also agreed to take a long hard look at the Resource Management Act. Enough said: you'll find the details in our agreement.

On Education, school choice is on the new government's agenda.

I have mentioned but a few of the extraordinary joint initiatives that flow from our agreement today - initiatives that, I must stress, have only come to fruition through the good faith in which these discussions have taken place.

Last Saturday night I repeated to our next Prime Minister John Key my pre-election assurance of Confidence and Supply. Many commentators expressed the view that ACT had given away its bargaining power. Far from it.

We have found National to be respectful of our commitment to stable government. That has allowed us to produce and sign a document that I believe will allow John Key to lead a team - to which ACT will contribute - that will provide a clear direction for New Zealand through the challenging times ahead with a consistent and constant focus on the need to build the safer and more prosperous country that we all so desperately yearn for.

Thank you.

ENDS

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