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The New Write - 26th November 2002

THE NEW WRITE

Official Newsletter of the New Zealand Young Nationals

26th November 2002

“Socialism only ever works in heaven where they don't need it and hell where
they've already got it.”
-unknown



1. A WORD FROM THE EDITOR
2. A WORD FROM THE PREZ
3. BILL ENGLISH OUTLINES PARTY PRINCIPLES
4. HOT GOSS FROM PARLIAMENT
5. WEEKLY TOP TEN LIST
6. WEBSITE OF THE WEEK


1. A WORD FROM THE EDITOR

What has happened to political debate in New Zealand?

I remember the days when there was serious debate about the role of the state in New Zealand.

Only five years ago I saw a thousand people protesting at Parliament over student fees, and the following year around 5000 turned up for the hikoi of hope.

These days it is a different story though. When was the last time you saw a decent protest? When was there last a decent public debate over a meaty policy issue? The big issues for politics recently have been Ross Armstrong, scampi, Corngate, Paintergate and leaky homes.

I miss the big debates over things like privatisation, work for the dole, welfare reform, student loans and taxes.

Political parties have a lot to answer for. Labour, National and United are busy scrapping over the centre ground. The Alliance is gone, ACT is struggling to be heard, while the Greens and NZ First are not particularly interested in the right-left spectrum.

Meanwhile both left and right-wing lobby groups have been brought off, or else are afraid to challenge the Government.

Personally I blame Labour for all this. They are not a reforming Government – in fact the have no principles or vision whatsoever. Their only goal is to look good and stay in Government. Look no further than their backdown on issues like OSH, immigration and closing the gaps for proof of this.

Labour’s two modes of operation are media management and strategic polling. Controversial decisions are avoided, lest they scare off voters. Your ordinary punter might appreciate this, given years of political betrayal and pain, but for a political junkie like me I hate it.

Maybe now is the time for a party like National to re-start some of these fundamental debates on the role of the state. Some bold, controversial but well-thought out policies on issues like welfare, education, the Treaty and the economy could spark off some much-needed debate again.


2. A WORD FROM THE PREZ

Keith Locke award for outstanding contribution to the theft of Parliamentary Oxygen:

Another award in the name of everyone's favourite communist - it has to go to none other than the knitting machine and close friend of the PM - Judith Tizard. An incredible effort in a week dominated by the hapless George Hawkins.

Ms Tizard also deserves a mention for hypocrisy - apparently sexist male jokes are OK but perish the thought of making jokes about women.
Judith's joke:

"Why don't men die in their sleep? Because they cannot do two things at once."

A reply from an anonymous official:
"Why does Judith knit when meeting with officials? It gives her something to think about whilst she is talking."


3. BILL ENGLISH OUTLINES PARTY PRINCIPLES

National Party leader Bill English launched a wide ranging attack on the Government’s politically correct initiatives and outlined his Party’s principles at a breakfast meeting in Wellington last week.

“New Zealand doesn’t face a crisis, we face something much more difficult - a gradual erosion of ethics in Government.

“We’re seeing a creeping incompetence in our public services - debt ridden strike ridden hospitals and school students who can’t trust the exam system,” Mr English told the Institute of Directors.

He also used the breakfast to set out what the National Party stands for.

“We stand for enterprise, we stand for personal responsibility.

“We stand for strong families and communities, we stand for freedom and choice, we stand for limited Government.

“We stand for one standard of citizenship - one rule for all and we stand for national and personal security,” says Mr English.

Mr English also targeted the Local Government Bill due to be pushed through Parliament under urgency before Christmas.

It paves the way for wider consultation with Maori and special Maori seats on local authorities.

“This is the biggest constitutional change since the introduction of MMP.

“Labour has lost its way on the Treaty of Waitangi.

“The Government can’t and won’t sort it out so it’s passing the job on to your council.

“There is no discussion, no direction, no leadership - just corrosive political correctness.

“The Treaty created one standard of citizenship, but the Government is destroying that ideal.

“There’s been a slow stifling of political debate - people scared to say what they think because the Government will punish them” says Mr English.


4. HOT GOSS FROM PARLIAMENT

-By Sneaky R Wilson, New Zealand’s finest investigative journalist.

Recent editions have been a bit light on Labour goss, so for this issue I’ve been picking through the trash, sniffing out papers and loitering in public toilets around the Beehive to find some interesting stuff the Government doesn’t want you to know about.

* Watch out if you live in the Waikato, there are taniwhas on the loose! The taniwha who recently held up construction of the new motorway is not an isolated incident – in fact, this is the third time in three years that Transit has encountered taniwha in the Waikato. Yes, seriously.

* And another interesting tidbit on political correctness – the Government is spending $1.2 million this year on Maori traditional healing, as part of the health budget. This in the same week as a Hamilton doctor is being prosecuted for using christian prayer as a treatment.

* Poor Judith Tizard has a massive workload as Associate Minister of Arts and Culture, Minister Assisting the Prime Minister on Auckland Issues, and Minister Responsible for the Prime Minister’s Handbag. If you don’t believe me, here is her list of public appointments for last week:

Monday 18th
-Attend opening of Music Industry Business Seminar, the Classic Bar
-Attend opening of World Series – NZ Music Week, Westend Theatre

Tuesday 19th
-Attend APRA Silver Scrolls Awards function

Wednesday 20th
-Auckland Growth Forum

Thursday 21st
-Attend Dinner for Music Week, Auckland

Friday 22nd
-Auckland Mayoral Forum
-Attend TV One Marquee at Ellerslie Flower Show
-Attend Young Sportsperson of the Year dinner, Eden Park

On top of this, she spent her time in Parliament knitting.

Phew, what a busy week – so many cocktails to drink, people to schmooze with! No wonder Ms Tizard was recently overheard saying “I just can’t wait for Christmas – I am SO tired!”

* Transport Minister Paul Swain has announced a couple of interesting appointments to the board of Transit NZ. Labour Party President Mike Williams, euphemistically described as an “information technology analyst” was appointed, along with former Alliance and Progressive MP John Wright. At least Mr Wright is qualified, after a distinguished career as a tow-truck driver in Christchurch prior to entering Parliament.

* Poor old George Hawkins is under plenty of pressure at the moment, and like an incontinent puppy’s trainer, his press secretary has to clean up the mess. She hasn’t been helping media relations much though, hanging up on journalists and telling them to “piss off” when they try and contact the Minister.

* It’s not as if Labour are short of spin doctors though – according to my count there are now 32 press secretaries or media assistants working in the Beehive, the highest number ever.

* George Hawkins has a new nickname after revelations he ignored very obvious warning signs over leaky homes: “Not-So-Curious George”.

* Why has Labour backed down and changed the immigration law? Is it because of Winston’s pressure, as some allege?

Not exactly, according to some secret polling info that has fallen into my hands. Labour’s market research company UMR has been polling Maori over the last month, and the results are startling. Maori voters are strongly opposed to immigration, especially from Asia. NZ First is starting to make huge inroads into Labour’s Maori support, despite the fact they didn’t stand any candidates in Maori seats.

Helen is nervous about this – she knows how fickle Maori voters can be and doesn’t want to antagonise them further after backing down on Closing the Gaps.

* ACT’s Health spokesperson Heather Roy knew she had hit the mark when she received an angry phone call from Health Minister Annette King recently, furious at one of her press releases. It seems to be a Labour pattern – Marian Hobbs has also been known to lose her temper and ring opposition MPs personally to complain about their releases.

* An interesting tidbit from Air New Zealand – I understand that they actually lose money on their service to London, which is a surprise, given the number of kiwis who fly over there.

* A normally reliable source has told me of a certain MP (not National of course) with a very dodgy past involving young women. I have no proof yet, but if true, this MP makes Dover Samuels look like Craig McNair (if you get what I mean).

* Speaking of Craig McNair – a few eyebrows have been raised by his CV, which describes him as a “marketing manager” for an Auckland jewellery store. It reminds me of former National candidate Mark Thomas, who used to boast of working as a manager in New Zealand’s most successful restaurant. He was a shift supervisor at McDonalds.

* One more bit of goss on Craig – he has ordered his research unit to get back copies of Hot Goss, and has been asking around Parliament trying to find out who “Sneaky R Wilson” really is!

Oh dear, I wouldn’t have thought it was that hard!

* Sneaky R Wilson’s patience is being tried by the PM’s office though, who are STILL refusing to post minutes of the PM’s Monday press conferences on the government website. For some reason Mike Munro will not let me attend these conferences personally.

* The Nats end of session party last Wednesday has been ranked by many as the best ever - going on until 4.00 a.m. Not only did ACT and NZ First MPs turn up but also several Labour press secretaries, as their own Christmas parties are so lame.

And a good party means good gossip, of which there was lots…

* It all got a bit too much for one senior member of the press gallery who passed out in a chair. Some naughty Nat staffers made the most of it, snapping photos of him draped in a National party flag, and later with a female MP embracing him.

The photos have been developed and are awaiting bids from tabloids and women’s mags.

* New ACT MP Heather Roy looks a lot younger than she is - a couple of young male staff were overheard discussing her in complimentary terms, asking “Does that chick work for National? I haven’t seen her around before.”

* One could see future coalitions being formed as Gerry Brownlee, Richard Worth, Ron Mark and Deborah Coddington sang up a storm on the karaoke. And they were pretty damn good too, especially Ms Coddington, who claimed she had never sung karaoke before.

* Finally, a bit of United Future goss to end with. It seems they have a second MP with embarrassing ties to the leaky homes scandal! MP Murray Smith has admitted to the Independent newspaper that he has acted as a lawyer for people who built leaky homes in the late 1990s. Interesting stuff.

I wonder what his legal advice was – to pray the houses stopped leaking, rather than turning up to the Disputes Tribunal which United Future opposes?

Till next week…My lips are sealed!

-Sneaky R Wilson


5. WEEKLY TOP TEN LIST

Top 10 things Americans said while watching Helen Clark's 'Royal Tour' TV show:

1. "I never released North Korea was so scenic."

2. "It's not just the Moas, the whole country's stuffed."

3. "Where's that David Benson-Pope guy? I thought he was in charge down there?"

4. "Suddenly a holiday in Arkansas doesn't look so bad."

5. "Honey, surely we can spare a few dollars to help these poor people?"

6. "She looks familiar. Is she an All Black?"

7. "This new troll is much scarier than the one in the first film..."

8. "Boy, this new series of 'Xena' has really gone to the dogs."

9. "That reminds me, I must return that Ellen DeGeneres video."

10. "Isn't 'Helen' an unusual name for a man?"

Courtesy of St Molesworth:
http://www.geocities.com/stmolesworth


6. WEBSITE OF THE WEEK

http://www.youngnationals.org.nz

The re-launched site looks great, plus you can read archived Hot Goss (take note Craig McNair)!


Any views expressed here are not necessarily those of New Zealand Young
Nationals, or the New Zealand National Party.

Contributions, feedback, articles and subscriptions welcome. Email
newwrite@national.org.nz

Editor: Phil Rennie

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