22 January 2014
Happy New Year! After the bumbling comedy show of political wannabes strutting their stuff over the holiday period the serious business of government is underway once again.
I am delighted to be returning as a Minister – to Internal Affairs which I last held 18 years ago, and to my more recent stomping grounds of Health and Conservation.
But let me be clear – with apologies to Emmerson’s Herald cartoon this morning – there are no strings attached. My opposition to the controversial government plans like changes to the Resource Management Act remains. So too does my opposition to legislation to override the Commerce Commission’s ruling on copper pricing. And I retain concerns about aspects of the proposed industrial relations changes. The Government will still have to negotiate support on a case by case basis for matters not covered by our confidence and supply agreement. And that is as it should be.
Having said that, UnitedFuture has been a reliable support partner for both this Government and its Labour predecessor for nearly 12 straight years now – a record no other party can emulate. Our commitment to ensuring political stability is thus proven, which perhaps explains why National remains keen to work with us, and why even Labour is not ruling that out either.
UnitedFuture’s opportunity is clear: to be the party voters feel most comfortable with as the support partner for the John Key Government. We have to show voters we are the party that allows the major party of government to get on with the job of governing while holding them to account as necessary in accordance with our liberal democratic principles.
In return, UnitedFuture looks to advance our policies of promoting public access to the great outdoors; giving more power to regions, communities and families over how they live their lives; supporting an open economy based on low, broadly based tax system without a capital gains tax; promoting partnerships between the government and non-government sectors in the delivery of health and education services; and, and upholding New Zealand’s independent foreign policy by being a good international citizen.
Recent events show 2014 has all the ingredients to be a fascinating and exciting journey. It will require steady hands on the tiller. Just as well I spent some time sailing over the holidays!