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The Right Talk: Getting The Priorities Right

The Right Talk

From the Office of Bill English - 1st November

Getting the priorities right

After a certain period of time, most Governments begin to look tired, arrogant and out of touch. Labour's time is coming sooner than many thought.

Over recent weeks National has been uncovering stories of highly questionable spending by the Government and their departments. Things like credit card spending by bureaucrats, staff payouts, a $75,000 grant for the Warehouse, and paying for kaumatua to escort endangered frogs around the country are just a few examples.

New Zealanders have fairly simple expectations of what they want from a Government. They want quality health and education services that ordinary people can afford, and they want to feel safe and to know that the police can deal with crime and criminals. They don't appreciate having taxpayers money wasted on the politically correct nonsense projects the Labour Government have got down to an art form.

The Week In Politics...

National continues to front foot all the major issues

*National MP David Carter has convinced other political parties to hold a select committee inquiry into the serious allegations over the scampi fishing industry. David Carter, who chairs the Primary Production committee, says the issue is hugely important to New Zealand's multi-billion dollar fishing industry.

*Bill English achieved much for Chinese-New Zealand relations after leading a delegation of businesspeople and scientists to China last week. The highlight of the trip was a meeting with top Chinese leader Mr Wei Jianxing, ranked number six in the Chinese political hierarchy, at the People's Hall in Beijing. The meeting featured on Chinese television, viewed by 200 million viewers and in China Today newspapers.

*The success of the trip though caused a typical spoilsport response from the PM - National understands that Helen Clark personally rang Foreign Affairs officials to stop the New Zealand Embassy hosting Bill English.

This is despite the fact Bill was leading a 14-strong delegation promoting New Zealand, at the invitation of the Chinese Government.

National's message to Helen Clark is: Get a life. There must be more important things for her to do with her time, like sorting out the industrial disputes at Auckland hospitals.

*National MP Lynda Scott is questioning priorities in the health sector after figures released by National show that the Auckland District Health Board paid out $3 million in redundancies over the last 18 months, but can't settle the radiographers strike at a cost of $300,000.

*Bill English is off to Australia on November 10, with a delegation of National MPs on a meeting-packed trip aimed at helping warm the relationship with Australia. While Bill is meeting with PM John Howard, other members of the delegation will be meeting with Australia's Finance, Foreign Affairs, Trade, Defence, Agriculture, Health and Employment Ministers.

*Observers in Australia have noticed New Zealand's muted political response to the Bali bombings - particularly that no NZ Minister has visited Bali, if even to support Australian efforts there.

*And on a related note, Australian High Commission staff in Wellington are now banned from Helen Clark's weekly press conferences.

*Political correctness knows no limits under Labour - The Department of Internal Affairs has advised staff at Parliament that if they run a Melbourne Cup sweepstake the total pool can't be more than $50, which means a maximum of $24 for a first place win.

It seems that anything fun is now banned in Helengrad!

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