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robson-on-politics Fri 7 Nov

robson-on-politics Fri 7 Nov

First anniversary of my four weeks leave Bill I remind the Labour Party Conference delegates this weekend that we have been working hard for those workers on the bottom rung of the holidays ladder. I hope we receive solid support from them. Today is one year to the day that my Four Weeks Leave Bill was introduced to the House. But it is nearly thirty years since workers achieved such a ground breaking and thoroughly deserved act of recognition for the key part they play in our economic and social development. Over the dark years of the 1980s and 1990s workers saw the disappearance of the forty hour week, lost the sanctity of a break on the weekends and suffered set backs in conditions. These workers, at the bottom rung, have paid in full for those economic reforms. Four weeks leave is one of the best pro-family policies there is. It allows families to look after children over school holidays, saving child care costs and giving them precious time with growing children.


Security in retirement

Good to see the coalition encouraging public sector employees to save for retirement with an employer-supported retirement savings scheme. That is another progressive step to enhance peoples' financial security in retirement. It is important that the government, as an employer, sets a good example. Progressives are also committed to the government providing everyone over 65 with government-funded universal superannuation. The government should save now to ensure this policy can be afforded into the future. This contrasts with Don Brash who has indicated he would like to raise the age of eligibility for New Zealand superannuation. National would also destroy the coalition government's new Superannuation Fund which is the coalition's way of saving now to help pay for future pensions. See:

Axis of evil, anyone?

Don Brash is talking with all of the right-wing parties. What could they possibly talk about? Well National ,Act and United need to agree on what publicly owned assets to sell. Then there is the scale of the tax cuts for rich New Zealanders (they'll have to contact most of those at their oversea addresses of course.) Next on the agenda is how to get back into the warm nuclear embrace of George Bush without any voters noticing. Richard Prebble will undoubtedly have some good ideas on that score when he returns from his US State Department-funded trip. When Winston Peters delivers his well-promoted "state of the nation" speech next Wednesday it will be interesting to see how New Zealand First's own discussions with the National Party leader are faring. But the axis of evil has prompted one robson-on-politics reader to write that "the spectre of the right-wing alliance selling my Kiwibank has motivated me and my family to re-double our efforts for the Progressives." See:

The Politics of Hate

Politicians who preach hatred against immigrants should take heed the next time that the Speaker reads the opening prayer of Parliament for which they have declared support. Rhetoric and invective turn into trouble on the road as shown by a recent incident: A member of the Sikh community in Auckland was recently driving with his wife on the southern motorway in Auckland when a car with two young men pulled alongside. They mocked his turban, made threatening gestures to him and his wife and swerved towards his car. They followed him off the motorway as he quickly took the next exit. At the stoplight they came alongside, wound down their windows and yelled racial insults. The passenger door opened and one of the youths brandished an axe at the very frightened Sikh driver and his wife. They were too much in shock to take down the details of the number plate. See Matt's article in the Herald:

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