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Heather Roy's Diary – April 18, 2008

Heather Roy's Diary – April 18, 2008
Death of the Diary - NEVER!

AThe Electoral Finance Act is confusing and has made an MP's job of communicating with the public extremely frustrating.

In order to try to comply with Labour's law, designed to get back at the Brethren for distributing pamphlets at the last election, ACT's MPs have sent our publications to the Chief Electoral Officer for a steer on whether or not we comply with the law - with five children to raise, I'm not all that keen on the prospect of going to prison.

I was staggered to find that this weekly email newsletter - 'Heather Roy's Diary' - is now considered an election advertisement. I've been writing the Diary since 2002 and, as regular readers know, it is about topical issues I've been dealing with during the week. It is emailed to people who have subscribed - many of them members and supporters.

Most interestingly, the Diary isn't considered a propaganda spreadsheet by the authorities in non-election years - in those years I'm doing my work as an MP by communicating with constituents.

Since the decision was made public, I've been inundated with correspondence assuring me that the law is an ass and expressing genuine concern that I can no longer send the Diary out. Fear not: I can still spend every Thursday night writing, but the Diary must now be authorised by the Party's financial agent complete with his home address. This shambles is not his fault, and any complaints about the Diary's contents should be directed to me - either by return email or via my website www.roy.org.nz.

It should be noted that the two Parties that were most vocal and adamant about financial agent's home addresses being published - Labour and the Greens - are the ones who are now breaking the law by using Party office addresses. This hypocritical and cowardly action highlights further the Nanny State at its worst.

Now that this newsletter is officially an election advertisement, however, I can come right out and say it: PARTY VOTE ACT for a long overdue change of direction for New Zealand.

Fisher and Paykel - the Latest Victims of Red Tape

For decades Fisher and Paykel has been an icon amongst New Zealand manufacturers but, yesterday, it was announced that its Dunedin dishwasher plant will close with the loss of 430 jobs - this Kiwi icon has decided to move a large part of its manufacturing off-shore.

The decision has brought forth denunciations of Fisher and Paykel's patriotism, and few are listening to the company's reasons for going - which include the cost of complying with Government red tape, the high New Zealand dollar and high interest rates.

Two other companies also announced yesterday that they would lay off staff: ANZ-National Bank will move 500 processing jobs from New Zealand to Bangalore in India; and Dunedin knitwear company Tamahine will close and leave 50 staff jobless.

The fact is that red tape is strangling New Zealand and it's only a matter of time before other companies either close altogether or vote with their feet - need we remind the Government of the estimated 800 people who move to Australia each week?

Lest We Forget

This morning I spent some time selling poppies as a member of the RSA in preparation for ANZAC Day next Friday. I was on a Wellington street corner where the foot traffic is high and, like last year, noted people's obvious enthusiasm for remembering those who fought for and died for our freedom.

While selling poppies I met an old friend from South Canterbury who reminded me of the exploits of a couple of old soldiers who had been friends and neighbours of mine. Both have since died of natural causes aged in their eighties - but, at one time, they had not anticipated making to it to the age of 30.

Both had been prisoners of war, and one was fortunate to share the bunk of his Stalag hut with a Cockney infantryman whose declared occupation before the war had been that of a thief. The skills of this burglar became highly useful to survival as a POW, as rations were at starvation level - often fewer than 600 calories a day.

They volunteered for all the working parties they could, as there were ample opportunities to pilfer, and cut out the window surround of their quarters so the entire window could be pulled out in a flash and replaced just as quickly. Then it was off for a night-time mission to acquire food. After the war my neighbour was the most honest of men - but I don't know what happened to the Cockney soldier.

Another neighbour Alf Rawlings, a polite retired primary school teacher, wrote a book about his time as a POW titled 'Diary of Life in a Stalag: a New Zealand Soldier's Wartime Story'. It is a great read if you can track down a copy and describes, as well as the horrors of war and the daily struggle of prisoner of war camps, the great camaraderie that develops among men in their struggle for life against a common enemy.


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