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Pardon, Miss Clark! Who Missed An Opportunity?

Monday 31 January 2005, 10.00 pm
Press Release: The Aotearoa New Zealand Equal Values Party

Pardon, Miss Clark! Who missed an opportunity?

Helen Clark appears to have had a 'senior moment' as demonstrated by her recent glaring lapse of memory, Equal Values Party spokeswoman Adele Hughes said today.

Mrs Hughes was responding to Labour leader Helen Clark's media comment that she did not feel the need to reply to National leader Don Brash's Orewa speech on welfare in her forthcoming statement to the nation. "He missed an opportunity," said Miss Clark, who stated that intense policy work was being done on how to help people save for a home, private superannuation and their children's tertiary education.

"How very convenient of Miss Clark to encourage the nation to forget that she has wasted a five year opportunity to get to grips with these issues. Or has she actually had a very long senior moment?" said Mrs Hughes. "It is only now, when public and student shrieks are reaching gale force that Miss Clark is realising that Labour has failed to recognise the signs of the times and the mood of the nation."

"Miss Clark need not be so intense in her search for election year patch-ups as she and her policy team scour the internet for new policy ideas that just might fix the problems. The answers have always been right under their noses," said Mrs Hughes.

"They need not trouble themselves. Labour is welcome to take a leaf out of Equal Values policy, and swap student debt for wealth creation. Wipe student debt, introduce free tertiary education and a universal student living allowance. Invest in the future of our youth instead. Ensure continuous wealth creation for students and all employees by putting in place mandatory 3% workplace superannuation savings, to be matched by a mandatory 3% contribution by employers. Maintain the status-quo for employers by reducing the corporate tax rate to 30%. Allow access to superannuation savings at 35 years (start a business, buy a house, have a spend-up!) and again at 65 years of age. Top up 'locked' superannuation savings accounts of parents who stay at home to raise their children with a small incentive bonus each year," she said.

"Scrap the 'Working for Families' package and introduce a simplified child benefit. Allow capitalisation of the child benefit to assist with home deposits for those on low incomes. Increase benefits to a living wage and introduce time restrictions on benefits. That way we can eliminate poverty and ensure that we all benefit from the societal improvements associated with an absence of poverty. At the same time we can ensure that our youth don't miss out on the opportunity for a decent life when they take up the burden of supporting the baby-boomer generation."

"It really doesn't take a rocket scientist to work it out. These common-sense measures could have been put in place long ago. Labour really missed their opportunity to make a difference," said Mrs Hughes.


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