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ACT’s Free Press July 30

Free Press

ACT’s regular bulletin

Two Weeks to Conference

ACT’s Annual Conference is taking place in two weeks’ time on Sunday 12 August in Auckland. Following the members’ survey late last year and the regional forums earlier this year, it is the final chapter in the process of consulting members before relaunching the party proper in 2019. The Party President will be presenting the results of this consultation so far and options for the Party’s future. If you haven’t already registered to have your say please do so here.

A Major Victory

Last week may be ACT’s most successful week. What happened? Every party in parliament now supports a version ACT’s Partnership School Policy. We must pay tribute to former leader John Banks, who introduced the policy, and former ACT President Catherine Isaac who worked assiduously on the policy for seven years. Everybody who has helped keep ACT afloat should be proud that we have changed the lives of thousands of kids with a policy that is core to ACT’s values of freedom, choice and responsibility.

Government Backdown

The Government parties campaigned saying the schools would be gone, that they had no place in the education system. Now, all of the Partnership Schools will continue in some form. Here is David Seymour pointing out their backdown on Breakfast TV. Free Press notices cabinet papers saying the advisory board will be kept in place for an initial period of one year, even though they don’t intend to invite more applications. What gives? They appear to be preparing for more charter special character school applications.

National Come Around

To paraphrase Rachel Hunter, it didn’t happen overnight, but... National now says they will reintroduce charter schools if re-elected. The Nats also say charter schools II will have a focus on technology and be given more money to establish and expand. These are silly policies. There were already successful STEM applications last year so that’s not new, and every dollar they attract should be attached to a student. Funding students not schools is the essential feature school choice.

What Should Happen Next?

Of course the next Government should reinstate the Partnership School legislation, but it should go further. Existing State and Integrated Schools that want the freedom and flexibility of the Partnership School model (Free Press knows many) should be able to apply for conversion to Partnership Schools status. That is how you get a critical mass of charter schools.

A Real Worry

National’s perennial problem is a lack of ideas. Their current political problem is a shortage of coalition options. That they started their annual conference by cannibalising their only ally’s flagship policy shows how much trouble they are in. It also shows how much a change, not only in Government but in direction, will depend on ACT.

Capital Gains Tax on the Way

David Seymour ambushed Finance Minister Grant Robertson in question time last week while Robertson was waxing on about productivity. Did he think a capital gains tax would help with productivity? You can watch him duck and dive here, or take our word for it, a capital gains tax is coming.

Ministerial Vanity and Economic Vandalism

Our reserve bank legislation is world class. One person sets monetary policy and if they don’t control inflation they can lose their job. Why would you appoint a committee of cronies to control the money supply then give them a dual mandate of fighting inflation and unemployment? Here is David Seymour in the House saying it’s not innocent, it’s all about manipulating the money supply for political gain.

Just for Laughs (or is it?)

So much talk of cannabis law reform. Here is Seymour in the House again, pointing out that with all the poor decisions being made, perhaps we should drug test MPs? After all, Magna Carta says lawmakers should obey the law, so if it’s good enough for beneficiaries and people in dangerous workplaces, why not MPs?

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Terror in NZ: Mosques Attacked in Christchurch

• There have been two attacks at the Masjid Al Noor Mosque next to Hagley Park, and at the Linwood Masjid Mosque in the suburb of Linwood, Christchurch
• Police commissioner says 50 confirmed dead in Christchurch terrorist attacks. One man charged with murder appeared in court on Saturday, two more apprehended - working to understand their involvement
• PM Jacinda Ardern has described it as a "terrorist attack" by those holding extremist views. She says NZ's gun laws will change.
• The national security threat level has been increased from low to high.
• Commissioner Bush said there were explosive devices attached to one vehicle that were stopped by police and these have been made safe by Defence Force personnel.

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