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Robson-on-politics, 17 June 2006


17th June 2006

Labour principles

I read that a Labour MP was threatening to quit and force taxpayers to pay for a by-election because she was upset a potential bird-flu incubator project in her electorate had not been successful in winning taxpayer-funding in a recent competitive bidding tender process.

Another Labour MP, reportedly involved in some dodgy real estate dealing, was also considering quitting but he awaits a couple of reports first - one from no less than authority than the Almighty.

Both cases, the media informed us the citizens, were matters of MPs grappling with their Labour principles and so far both remain, well, Labour MPs.

The story was a useful reminder about principles and priorities, dependability and strength of character.

Policy Conference Sponsored by the Progressives

And to show that we still have those policy ideas firing on how to be a better country still, the party executive, at a recent meeting, decided to hold a policy conference in Wellington, on the evening of Friday September 15 and Saturday September 16.

Conference speakers will be from both within and outside the party and there will be an emphasis on constructive, solution-driven presentations. The programme is aiming to be stimulating, but not too busy. Members of the public will be able to register and attend the full policy conference.

Saturday’s sessions are to be given over to a series of presentations on a key progressive message: that sustainable, economic development goes hand in hand with social progress.

I invite you to be at this Key Issues conference in Wellington. Please put these dates in your diary and make plans to be in Wellington for this very progressive event. We will be sending more information to members over the next two weeks.

Self-challenging is progressive

Although the Labour-Progressive government secured an historic third term when it won the elections last September, the Left lost its six-year majority in Parliament.

Progressive members in Auckland, Christchurch and other parts of the country where we contested seats last year have strongly expressed the view that Progressive members want to do our bit to contribute to regaining that majority in the 2008 General Election.

One of the greatest contributions we can make is to contribute to the development of practical policies that reflect what the majority of New Zealanders want for their families, communities and country.

The Left has delivered a great deal since 1999, but we've got to deliver a lot more to win back the minds and hearts of a majority of Kiwis in 2008.


Evidenced-based policy to protect young people

Thanks to the Progressive Party in Parliament, investment has been committed to a series of empirical research projects into so-called "party pills," or BZP-based and TFMPP-based pills.

A first report was received this week. Conducted by Massey University's Centre for Social and Health Outcomes Research and Evaluation, New Zealanders and their representatives in Parliament now have quantified data on how many people, how much of our population, have tried or use party pills.

With that evidence, and the further information that will be forthcoming from further the other studies, Parliament will be able to make evidence-based, and therefore more informed, policy decisions when it comes to regulating these mind-altering substances used by many young people.


The Nancy Wake story continues – read the facts that the newspapers (and the Nats) won’t tell you

Nancy Wake’s wartime service was recognised by the British government at the end of the war, when she was presented with the George medal. New Zealand was, at that time, a part of the British system of honours. Because Miss Wake was honoured by this system, New Zealand could not follow suit, even if we had wanted to, because that would have entailed what is known as ‘double medalling’, which is not permitted.

It should be noted in that connection that the same constraint applied to Australia, of which Miss Wake is a citizen by choice and naturalisation, and they too have never decorated Miss Wake for her war service. She has subsequently been given a Companion of the Order of Australia, a civilian order. The Honours Secretariat (which is a public service group within the Department of the Prime Minister and Cabinet which deals with such matters) understands this was for services other than her wartime service.

In 1949 the monarch (then George VI) in whose name all decorations are given, ruled that no further awards should be made for wartime service. That has effectively blocked any recognition of Miss Wake’s wartime service by the New Zealand government since that time – as well as a number of other significant New Zealand wartime heroes. For the complete statement, go to:


Progressive principles

Progressive is committed to a full-employment economy where the democratically-elected and accountable-to-the-people government is responsible to ensure all citizens, no matter their inheritance or background, have access to quality education and health services.


Progressives uphold the rule of domestic and international law against the arbitrary use of power.


Progressive-minded people are committed to institutions that are transparent and responsive to their communities.


We support all social advances toward making our society increasingly democratic and our economy increasingly flexible, dynamic and prosperous.


Progressives also based their policy on experience and articulate policies based on evidence. Progressives ought to always try harder at ensuring our prejudices don't get in the way of getting good things done for people.



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