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Free Press: ACT’s regular bulletin

Free Press

ACT’s regular bulletin

RMA Schemozzle Continues
The Resource Management Legislation has hit the wall, with the Māori Party severely overplaying their hand. They are continuing to wag the dog even after securing major concessions that make the reforms tepid at best and separatist at worst. Rural New Zealand is in revolt, if our email inbox is anything to go by.

ACT’s Position
Always willing to help, ACT has drafted four amendments to be moved in the Committee stage. These would respectively: remove the Iwi Participation Clauses, ban Rural Urban Boundaries, introduce private property rights into the Act (no, they haven’t been there for the past 26 years) and ban the powers of Ministerial diktat proposed in section 360D. Watch this space.

Coming to Palmerston North
ACT is holding its Lower North Island Regional Conference in Palmerston North this Saturday. David Seymour’s keynote speech will address the Boomer vs. Millenial debate that has erupted since Bill English promised to raise the age of entitlement to NZ Super by 2037. Register here.

Private Members’ Bills Show What’s at Stake
The Private Members' ballot is an opportunity for different parties to show what they’re about. National put in bills about lost luggage as a strategy to clog up the ballot – politics before policy. Labour entered no fewer than four anti-Partnership School bills – say no more. ACT has a principled bill on a major issue of civil liberties – assisted dying. New Zealand First and the Greens are in a different ball park, however.

Free Rugby (and Cricket, and Netball, and Pétanque)
New Zealand First has a bill that would require almost all sport to be provided live and free on TV. We already know that free-to-air channels don’t produce enough revenue to fund sports, that’s why the rights were sold to pay-TV. The taxpayer and/or the NZRU/NZ Cricket/NZ Netball/et al will end up footing the bill. As if we needed further demonstration, this bill shows that New Zealand First will happily run up a bill against the taxpayer and treat private organisations with contempt.

Free Student Loan Repayments
Having already taken interest off student loans, the Greens now want to absolve borrowers from student loan repayments while they save for a house. Wrong on so many levels. It will increase the amount of tax that goes to subsidizing student loans. The biggest beneficiaries will be those with the biggest loans, those who probably went to better schools to get into longer more expensive and more highly subsidized tertiary courses. Worst of all it won’t even help those it is supposed to help. The targets of the scheme will find it harder to get mortgages due to the liability they still carry in the form of a student loan. That’s the Greens, with so little regard for economics and fairness they propose to spend taxpayer money making rich kids better off, but hardly.

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Gordon Campbell: On The Budget

It may seem like Oliver to be so bold as to ask the Finance Minister for more gruel – but what the Dickens, Steven Joyce… is this Budget really as good as it gets?

Supposedly, the public was going to receive significant rewards – an election year lolly scramble no less – for the eight years of belt tightening that they’ve endured, and for the rundown of essential public services.

Well, what Budget 2017 delivered instead in Education and in Health were allocations barely sufficient to maintain the current levels of service delivery More>>

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Auditor-General Stands Down For Investigation: Gordon Campbell On (Not) Taking Responsibility

So Martin Matthews, our current Auditor-General wishes he could have detected “earlier” the fraud that occurred on his watch at the Ministry of Transport. Hmmm. But he could have detected it earlier, surely? That’s the point. More>>

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NGOs Pleased: Govt To Halt Collection Of Client Data

Brenda Pilott, the chair of ComVoices and national manager of Social Service Providers Aotearoa, congratulates the government on its decision to call a halt to the collection of individual client data until the concerns of not-for-profit service providers have been worked through. More>>

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Gosh: Blasphemy Law Repeal Struck Down

Chris Hipkins, the MP who tabled a Supplementary Order Paper to add our Blasphemy Law to the Statutes Repeal Bill, said this was a "sad day for freedom of speech, tolerance, and leadership". More>>

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Gordon Campbell: On The Navy’s Dealings With Fat Leonard, And Twin Peaks

At an official level, our “she’ll be right” attitude routinely spills over into a keen resentment of anyone who suggests the outcomes may be less than satisfactory… The Navy has now gone one step beyond. It won’t even ask itself whether it did a good job. More>>

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NZDF: Fifth Rotation Of Troops Heads To Iraq

The fifth rotation of New Zealand Defence Force troops left today for a six-month mission training Iraqi soldiers. More>>

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Gordon Campbell: On The Demonising Of Iran

Will New Zealand still be willing to pursue its recent trade overtures to Iran, now that US President Donald Trump has used his speech in Riyadh to single out Iran as the main source of terrorism and instability in the Middle East? More>>

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