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Jim Anderton's coalition agreement signing speech

Jim Anderton's speech on the signing of the coalition agreement

Mon Dec 6 1999

Prime Minister-designate, Helen Clark,

My colleagues in the new government, Michael Cullen and Sandra Lee,

Friends,

It is nine days since the election, at which the people of New Zealand voted clearly for change.

The government New Zealand has chosen is a government dedicated to reducing inequality.

It is a government dedicated to environmental sustainability.

It is a government which will improve the social and economic well-being of all New Zealanders.

Since election night, we have been working hard to put the new government in place.

This is a time for restoring public confidence in the integrity of our democratic processes and in Parliament itself.

It is time to show that governments of more than one party can be successful.

It is a time to show that a government of two parties can provide stable and effective leadership.

I would like to pay tribute to our coalition partners in the Labour Party for Labour's electoral success.

And equally I pay tribute to my colleagues in the Alliance.

We have come a long way through the political wilderness together.

This is a triumph for the Democrats who have waited almost half a century to join a government.

It's a triumph for Mana Motuhake, who have waited two decades since Matiu Rata strode out into the wilderness. And for Maori who have waited 160 years to see a Maori political party elected into government.

It is a triumph for my NewLabour colleagues who walked with me down our own path a decade ago.

One of the lessons that all politicians should have learned by now is that governments must move away from crushing control by the executive.

Governments in future must govern with the people.

Governments in future must keep faith with the people who put them there. They must honour their promises.

The Alliance and Labour have worked to design a way of governing that allows us to retain our political identities, while at the same time providing stable government.

Our goals are shared: to reduce inequality, and implement environment ally sustainable policies that lift the social and economic well-being of all New Zealanders.

But we have different policies as well.

And so our agreement recognises that no amount of contractual detail will make up for good will, for good faith and some basic discipline.

That is a challenge for us both, and we accept the responsibility.

The terrain ahead is not all flat. But as we look ahead at how we are going to climb our mountains, we offer our commitment to work through issues in good faith.

Our coalition agreement is not an attempt to spell out all of the policy details. It sets out how we will work through the issues of government.

We have simple objectives.

We have a simple process for dealing with differences.

We will try to avoid surprises.

We will seek consensus.

There will be a coalition management committee.

We will differentiate ourselves where necessary publicly and openly.

We will keep working on these issues continuously, as we get to understand their tests and strains.

We are in a political relationship. We are co-operating, while we remain, in some respects, in competition. We have tried to both acknowledge the things that bind us together and also to provide for our distinct identities.

This agreement creates an orderly system for public differentiation of the parties. It is innovative but not revolutionary. It is a logical and progressive development in New Zealand government under proportional representation.

We cannot deal with every 'what if' detail and nor will we try. That is why we have opted for a simple agreement. The answers to 'what if' questions lie in the simplicity of the agreement.

We will work through the issues in good faith, seeking consensus, getting policy advice, and always conscious of the responsibilities of stable government and the need to deliver for our own constituenci es.

And more than anything, that is what this agreement is about: A good government for the people of New Zealand.

If we can govern well together, there will be less inequality in New Zealand. We will be a more environmentally sustainable country. There will be advances in the social and economic well-being of all New Zealanders.

And if we achieve that, both the Alliance and Labour will have cause to be very proud of the contributions we have made.

Visit http://www.alliance.org.nz for more information about the Alliance

ENDS

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