Prebble’s The Letter
By Richard Prebble
Parliament is in recess, so our lifestyles and property have been safe. On Tuesday it resumes with an attack on liberty: a trade union law – making it harder to sack, and forcing successful tendererers to take the previous contractor’s workforce – ACT will post the new law and an analysis once the Bill is presented. Labour uses December to dump its most unpopular measures – it knows the public is pre-occupied with Xmas. We expect legislation giving foreshore and seabed to Maori, and other shockers.
TO RISE, OR NOT TO RISE
The action is with Reserve Bank Governor Bollard examining interest rates on December 4. Those who say inflation is below 3% and an interest rate increase will push up the dollar are ignoring some scary facts. Overall inflation is only below 3% because the falling US dollar is lowering import prices. Internal prices, like houses, are rising rapidly. The Kiwi is not appreciating, it is the US dollar that is falling. If the Greenback stops falling, we will discover we have serious inflation, requiring harsh measures. Jawboning by the Governor doesn’t work. Not lifting interest rates – and few think he will adjust – means the Reserve Bank’s credibility is undermined. The real issue is whether the OECD’s smallest currency is viable. The Kiwi’s average volatility is 20% a year. Manufacturers work on a margin of 6%. Adopting the Aussie won’t do it because, if the Kiwi disappears, the Auss
THE POKIE STEAL
Among secret policy proposals Labour is thinking of adopting is Trevor Mallard’s idea to steal $277 million that charitable trusts get from pokie machines. Pokies annually produce $770 million profit. A third is tax, the owner gets a third, and a third ($270 million last year) goes to charity. The plan is to take the charities’ $270 million, and the Govt distribute it. Clark complains the money goes to men’s things, like sport, and not enough to the arts. Labour loves the power that controlling the $270 million would give. Ministers believe, if they are swift, clubs won’t have time to organise. Once Labour has the money, they think sports won’t complain for fear of funding cuts.
OUT BY CHRISTMAS
Beehive spin is that the Speaker has discretion over whether to eject Donna Awatere Huata. Not so, say ACT’s lawyers. The Electoral Integrity Act is clear: if an MP changes Parliament’s proportionality, a party leader can trigger the Act. The leader (this time, Acting Leader Ken Shirley) writes to the MP asking why the Act shouldn’t be applied ( http://www.act.org.nz/huata). Huata has until December 17 to reply.
Richard Prebble must accept the reply, or put a motion for her expulsion under the Act to ACT’s caucus. This requires a 75% majority. If passed, the Speaker must act. If he’s overseas, likely at Xmas, the letter goes to the Governor-General, who can’t refer anything to the Privileges Committee – nor can the Speaker; there’s no discretion.
The Speaker, having ruled Huata an independent, has cut ACT’s funding – which pays for staff, research, equipment, etc. It has been cut $115,176 a year, and comes into effect on February 1, as some spending is already committed (see http://www.act.org.nz/fundingcut). Richard Prebble has received a $1,000 salary cut, effective November 11. He said ‘A $3 a day pay cut is a small price for no longer being responsible for that woman.’
The Ombudsman says Labour ignores the Official Information Act and routinely declines requests. Clark hides secrets – if you had her secrets, so would you. The latest is Trevor Mallard’s demand that Deborah Coddington pay $855 before the Education Ministry tells how it spends public money. So much for transparency.
ACT’s Southern Conference was held in Queenstown – an ACT town – no government depts, no corporates, just owner-operators in the global economy. Speakers included John Lee, who has built a high altitude car-testing trade at his high country farm. Carmakers are queuing to use it. DOC won’t allow this $20 million industry to become a $100 million one, as it wants to lock away our high country farms. John Beattie, the owner of the successful Hamner Springs rehabilitation centre, closed down by Labour, pointed out the health system will collapse by 2020 when the baby boomers start to need hospital care. Skyline Enterprises chair Barry Thomas outlined the holiday legislation’s impact on tourism and industries working statutory holidays. NBR news editor Deborah Hill Cone spoke about the media’s Left bias. She knows only six reporters who vote Centre-right, and said the Left has captured m
Readers have voted enthusiastically in our polls: Just 2% want Huata to stay – we sent the result to Speaker Hunt – and most Letter readers support John Mitchell. This week: Should the Reserve Bank raise interest rates? We will send the result, and your comments, to Governor Bollard before he decides. http://www.act.org.nz/vote