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Robson On Politics


28 May 2008


Making Progress with the 2008 Budget

Readers are entitled to know how the leadership of the Progressive Party sees the achievements and shortcomings of the budget. Therefore, in this issue I have set out the key passages of Jim Anderton’s speech to Parliament to show what we applaud and what we see still has to be done. 

Jim Anderton summed up our views on the 9th Labour-Progressive budget  as follows:

The Positives

The budget puts significantly more in the pockets of most families.

The budget delivers better health care and builds stronger economy.

The budget cuts taxes, not spending at a time when the economy is slowing.

I remember when the going got tough for National, they cut superannuation, they cut benefits, they cut services; But this government has built them all.


Tax Cuts


This budget carefully provides for better incomes across all of New Zealand. It doesn’t herd the biggest tax cuts towards those who need them least.

Because it is fair, it is caring and a caring New Zealand is what the Progressives are here to support.

When it comes to assessing whether the budget is good for New Zealand – it is about caring for people.

There are far too many New Zealanders who have been left behind for far too long.

Reducing Poverty

This government has done a lot to reduce poverty.

In the last three or four years more children have been lifted out of poverty than at any time since the depression.

Income related rents, cheaper doctors visits and much more have helped low income households too.

Nothing has done more to lift more families out of work than creating a thousand jobs a week, every week, for the last eight years.

But who is left behind?

But we also need to hear more about the people still left behind.

There are thousands of families struggling with petrol and with rising food prices.

There are thousands who are struggling to make ends meet.

There are thousands who just aren’t making ends meet at all.

Isn’t it time we started caring about them this week?

Isn’t it time we started testing more policies against the standard of the way a caring country takes care of its most vulnerable?

It takes some strength to speak out for people and care for them. In all the talk about tax rates, and climate change, and the other important stuff, how much of that strength have we heard?

Dolphins and People

This week I’m going to announce a decision about dolphins.


It’s an important issue - and I get an awful lot of letters about it.


People organise marches at parliament. They send me postcards and fill my mailbag, they paint dolphins on walls and they run campaigns.


Good for the dolphins. But how many people do that for humans? How many care about people who are struggling?

Imagine if you get sick so you can’t get work and can’t get ACC. How would you make ends meet? I don’t hear many people in this House building political pressure to make sure we take care of those people. I don’t read many editorials about it.

The editorials and the press releases of the opposition have been filled with calls for tax cuts.

And this budget delivered on tax cuts. It went as far as you can go.

Next budget, I hope we hear a lot more about people below the average wage. There are far too many of them!

If you want to care for people, you have to strengthen the economy.

Research and Innovation

And I am very pleased that this budget makes a commitment to an historic initiative to strengthen our economy by strengthening research and innovation in our pastoral and food sectors.

New Zealand Fast Forward is a land mark investment in science and innovation. The $700 million it invests is the largest single injection into science and research in New Zealand’s history. With matching contributions from the private sector, it will grow to be worth two billion over the ten to fifteen years the fund will operate.

It is the best shot we have at achieving a step-change in our economic performance.





Week after week  the NZ Herald columnist Fran O’Sullivan has written as though she is a paid publicist for the National Party. She has made no secret that she wants John Key to implement the interrupted Roger Douglas/Ruth Richardson agenda. But even this shameless National Party partisan couldn’t pretend that Mr. Key has a credible response to the Labour-Progressive budget. She wrote  this about him in the NZH on 24 May :


His critique of the Budget lacked a killer punch. He floundered in subsequent television interviews and was caught hopping when asked for National’s alternative. His bottom lip curling just that little bit too much , and the open shoulder shrug too much in evidence when he seemed to realize his answers lacked conviction.


Whew! Who needs enemies?

Progressive Party Campaign 2008

More and more members and supporters are getting in behind the Progressive Party Vote Campaign for 2008. I am now starting to meet almost daily with members to help organise their branch and individual campaigns for the Party vote.

On July 5 you are invited to an evening with Jim Anderton and myself to launch the Progressive Party Vote Campaign in Auckland:


Saturday JULY 5  7.00 P.M.  Chaska  Restaurant 380 Manukau Road Auckland with Jim and Matt.


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