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News Worthy

By Richard Worth

Political correctness – round 3
May 2003 - The New Zealand Herald carries reports of an incident the previous September in which a woman, whose daughter had been murdered, had to wait a whole day to be informed while Police attempted to find an iwi liaison officer to break the news.

Police should have proceeded to inform the woman of the tragedy at 8.00 am. They finally got around to it at 4.00 pm, having spent the day searching for an iwi liaison officer. The victim was born to a Maori father and non-Maori mother. The victim (and obviously the mother) identified as non-Maori. Yet the Police let political correctness stand in the way of performing their basic duty of informing relatives in a timely manner.

July 2001 - It is reported four kaumatua spent five nights in Bangkok in order to perform hikitapu ceremonies at the latest MFAT and New Zealand Trade and Enterprise offices. The cost of the trip was $8196 in travel and $60 each a day for meals. The Kaumatua were there to perform ceremonies to free the land and buildings of negative spiritual influences.

March 2003 - Radio advertisement by the Inland Revenue Department ‘promoting’ the DPB: “you always knew that having children would be rewarding…how much you receive depends on how many children you have… and with two children in your care you could earn even more and still receive family assistance…”

August 2003 - Government forced to drop clause in the Care Of Children Bill that provided for the lesbian partners of women who had conceived using assisted reproduction technology to be deemed "the father of the child".

The excesses of the Resource Management Act
I have had a recent battle with the Auckland City Council relating to the advertising sign outside my office which simply says “Richard Worth MP Epsom Electorate Office”. In the result the Council has approved the sign.

A second extreme example came to me yesterday. The Council wrote to a household saying that there had been complaints from neighbours about branches of a tree overhanging a footpath. The owners said they were happy to remove the offending branches.

To that the Council said that the owners must first secure a resource consent. So what is happening is that the Council is requiring a resource consent to be secured to do something the Council has ordered to be done.

The Resource Management Act has problems at two levels – the statutory level of complexity but also the way it is administered.

Misdirected campaign on speeding
Some interesting research has been done on the anti-speeding campaign by Dr Alan Wilkinson. The impact of the study is that a huge number of New Zealanders are being fined and targeted, average speeds have dropped but injury accidents have trended sharply upwards.

When the new Highway Patrol and rigid enforcement of sped limits was introduced at the end of 2000 he calculates that up to 2003 an additional 50 deaths and 11,000 injuries had occurred.

Minimum standards for new apartments
Most of us are very much aware that the burgeoning growth in small low cost apartments will have significant future consequences in creating slums. One of my published policies for Epsom is “Action to prevent substandard apartment housing in the electorate”.

On 9 September 2004 the Council issued a press release saying that it was seeking changes to the building code for more adequate minimum standards for apartments in the city and the new Council seems poised to continue that plan.

Political Quote of the Week
"A government that robs Peter to pay Paul can always depend on the support of Paul." George Bernard Shaw.

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