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National Party Informer #27

The Informer - Sunday 26 November 2000 - #27

E for education

Jenny Shipley's keynote address marking a year since the election focused on education as an area National to take bold steps in its next term. New Zealand's future success lies in education, Jenny said in a speech delivered on the North Shore on Friday.
"We must be as open to alternatives in the delivery of education as we are about the knowledge and skills being delivered. A one-model-fits-all approach will deliver only muddled mediocrity, " she said.
"Many parents and people in the education sector and industry wanted National to go a lot further than we did in our last term. They are desperate to see New Zealand kids as good as the best in the world. The time is right for an ambitious response to that call." Among the pointers she made were plans for proper assessment of schools and students, a promise to look at student loans in a totally new way and a rethink of the role of teachers.

Savings slashed

A further sign that New Zealand families are in for a tough Christmas emerged last week.

The latest WestpacTrust Household Savings Indicator showed that New Zealand households had $3.4 billion knocked off their net worth in the year to September. In the September quarter alone households lost $700,000 off their net worth. As Bill English pointed out, "Most people feel they're worse off than they used to be and the reason is simple - they are."

All talk at summit

A month or so on from the Government's Auckland business summit, what has happened? Not much at all. The hot air and rhetoric of the big day out has faded fast. But The Informer has learnt it could have been worse. When the Department of Prime Minister and Cabinet got hold of the programme, advisers were shocked to find it was wall-to-wall ministers, planning to spend nearly the whole day lecturing the guests. An adviser rushed upstairs to tell Heather Simpson that surely the idea was to look like the Government was listening to business. Heather obliged and changed the programme. But so much for her political nous in letting such a programme go in the first place.

Fatigue in hospitals

Reform fatigue for the country's health system is set to worsen over the coming months as health professionals, new managers and elected members of health boards impose the restructuring.
On hearing submissions to the select committee, every MP got the very clear message that the health system had had enough of structural change. The Government, however, is not listening. National's message remains the same: resources and energy should go into improving our health services.
Restructuring is a waste of time and money - and it's diverting time an attention away from real, front-line health needs.

Students trapped

National's youngest MP Simon Power - who's allegedly still paying off his student loan - made some very strong points in the debate over the Government's controversial Property (Relationships) Bill last week.
Concerned that the three-year time frame may catch many young people in a trap, he reminded the House that students living together for practical reasons while they're studying may be deemed to be in a de facto relationship when there's not even any intention of long-term commitment by either party.
"When the couple, or the flatmates, decide to go their separate ways they may end up having to divvy up not only the furniture but their individual savings accumulated in the relationship period and maybe even their student loan debt!"

National on the road

A year on from the election, it's a good time to take stock of just where New Zealand is heading. That's what National will be doing over the next couple of weeks. We're getting out of Wellington to see how New Zealanders are faring and talk to people about their views and concerns. In the first part of the National On the Road programme, Jenny Shipley and a team of MPs will this week visit Wanganui, Oamaru and Timaru. Next week, the itinerary includes Whangarei, Hawkes Bay, Tauranga, and Hamilton. There will be a lot of opportunities for local people to meet and talk with the travelling National MPs.

For more information about the visits please send us an email at

Quote of the week

"The mind boggles. You end up like North Korea. I just don't think there is a very big constituency for New Zealand opting out of the world."

- Helen Clark's charitable view of her friends the Greens on international trade liberalisation.

A weekly newsletter from National's Parliamentary Team The Informer will be emailed every Sunday. To subscribe or give suggestions email

Or phone (04) 471-9210

The views expressed in The Informer are not necessarily those held by the National Party


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