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ACT Leader announces MP Portfolios

The ACT party leader Hon Richard Prebble today announced the portfolio responsibilities for ACT's nine MPs.

Richard Prebble said that the ACT Caucus had already held a two day retreat to analyse where the country is headed under the new Government and ACT's role as the effective opposition in the new Parliament.

"ACT believes that the new Government will show little regard for the rule of law, the sanctity of contract and private property rights. This has been shown by their actions to stop West Coast logging contracts, the F16 contract and claims by MP's that they will breach the law.

"New MP Stephen Franks, who is the leading lawyer in Parliament, will have a crucial role in advocating for the rule of law. Stephen Franks will be ACT's spokesman on legal and constitutional issues.

"The new Government has indicated that it will rewrite the industrial law but has also promised that 'good employers' industrial relations will not be effected. ACT regards this as a crucial issue and I will take the industrial relations portfolio. I have negotiated industrial agreements, appeared in the Employment Court and have legal qualifications in industrial law. I will also take the Foreign Affairs and Defence Spokesmanships as Labour announcements in this area indicate a dangerous isolationist approach.

"ACC re nationalisation is clearly a major issue and ACT's Deputy Leader, Ken Shirley, will take this important spokesmanship.

"Clearly tax is going to be an ongoing issue. Rodney Hide will continue to be ACT's spokesman.

"I believe ACT's two other new MPs will have a strong impact on Parliament. Penny Webster, a former district chair of Federated Farmers, has been on the Federated Farmers Transport Committee. Roading reform is an issue that will come back and ACT believes the issue is not just for Auckland, as this Government thinks, but also for rural New Zealand. Penny will take responsibility for the Transport portfolio.

"ACT believes that conservation and farming are not exclusive as the new Government believes, but that they go hand in hand. ACT MP Gerry Eckhoff has made conservation and farming his life long passion and is now ACT's spokesman. He will bring some practical common sense to the debate.

Donna Awatere Huata will continue as ACT's Education Spokesman. Labour's announcement of the abandonment of tests is the abandonment of standards. Having all our children able to read will be a major issue in the 2002 election and with Donna Awatere Huata, ACT will lead that issue. Donna Awatere Huata will also target Labour's plans to force schools back to central funding.

"Labour/Alliance and the Greens will put the vital reform of the RMA and trade on the back burner. ACT has given responsibility for keeping these issues high on the political agenda to Owen Jennings. He will ensure that the Government can't ignore these issues.

"ACT is extremely concerned by the backward approach of Labour and the Alliance to those on welfare. There plans to scrap successful community wage schemes will be disastrous for those needing skills and real jobs. The welfare rolls will again start to rise under this government. ACT favours fundamental welfare reform and Muriel Newman has been given the task of leading the issues of welfare reform," said Richard Prebble.

A list of the MPs portfolio responsibilities is attached.

ENDS

ACT Portfolios

Hon. Richard Prebble, Leader
Foreign Affairs, Defence, Labour, Disarmament & Arms Control, Cabinet
Office,
NZ Security Intelligence Service, Pacific Island Affairs, PM's
Department,
Veterans Affairs, State Services, Treaty of Waitangi Negotiations,
Ethnic
Affairs.


Hon. Ken Shirley, Deputy Leader & Whip
Health, Accident Insurance, Police, Forestry, Research, Science &
Technology,
Crown Research Institutes


Stephen Franks
Justice, Attorney General, Courts, Corrections, Commerce, Serious Fraud
Office,
Tertiary Education.


Donna Awatere Huata
Education (other than tertiary), Education Review Office, Maori
Affairs,
National Library.


Rodney Hide
Treasury and Finance, Superannuation, Economic Development,
Revenue,
Statistics, SOE's, Audit Department, Fisheries, Auckland Affairs.


Owen Jennings
Local Government, Industry and Regional Development, Trade Negotiations,
Rural
Affairs, Biosecurity, Civil Defence.

Muriel Newman
Social Welfare, Housing, Youth Affairs, Senior Citizens,
Communications,
Employment, Information Technology.

Penny Webster
Transport, Tourism, Immigration, Internal Affairs, Customs, Womens
Affairs,
Consumer Affairs, Arts, Culture & Heritage, Broadcasting, Racing.

Gerry Eckhoff
Agriculture, Energy, Conservation, Land Information, Valuation
Department,
Sports Fitness & Leisure.

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