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News Worthy - 10 December 2004

News Worthy - 10 December 2004

Civil Union

Parliament has been consumed this week with the passage under urgency of the Civil Union Bill. For me there have been two stand-out points:

- The need to revise Parliamentary process. Approximately five hours were spent on voting on amendments which I put up in support of a compromise and more inclusive proposal. All the amendments were linked.

One would have thought they could have been voted on as one amendment with huge savings of time and cost.

- So-called "conscience" votes have to a great extent lost their integrity. Conscience votes traditionally are permitted on issues such as abortion, prostitution, the age-limit for alcohol sales.

The Civil Union Bill was supposed to be a conscience vote and it was for National. But in the case of Labour and the Greens it was more a directed vote.

On the Government side, the Prime Minister had made clear how she wanted her MPs to vote and only those constituency MPs with substantial majorities were prepared to stand against her.

Rural crime in New Zealand A survey on crime in rural New Zealand, released by Federated Farmers, has found 82% of respondents would take action to defend their property against crime irrespective of police action; 56% had reported at least one on-farm crime incident to Police over the last five years; and 38% had had their security breached by theft or confrontation but they had not informed the Police.

There is real misunderstanding of the rights of a property owner facing a dangerous intruder. The current legal position is primarily set out in Section 48 of the Crimes Act. The section provides:

Everyone is justified in using, in the defence of himself or another, such force as, in the circumstances as he believes, it is reasonable to use.

My personal view is that the law is adequate in the way it is expressed. What is wrong is that the Police are not exercising their discretion in some cases in an appropriate way - they are choosing to prosecute where a commonsense decision would be to not do that.

Let's face it - it is a huge ordeal to face criminal charges even if acquittal is the result.

So there will be circumstances for example where it is perfectly justified to kill an intruder.

National Superannuation National's position on Superannuation is clear. Under a National Government, all those currently receiving New Zealand Super will continue to receive it on the same basis as currently - 65% of the average wage for a married couple, at age 65, without surcharge or means test.

All those within a decade or two of retirement - in other words, those with rapidly diminishing scope to change their financial position at retirement - should similarly be assured of being eligible for New Zealand Super on current terms.

Political Quote of the Week "The vast majority of our imports come from outside the country", George W Bush

10 December 2004 No. 17 Upcoming Events

10 & 13 December Japanese celebrations for Emperor's Birthday on 23 December. 16 December Bahrain National Day 25 December Christmas Day 26 December Boxing Day 1 January 2005 New Year's Day 26 January 2005 Australia Day 6 February 2005 Waitangi Day 25-28 March Easter 25 April 2005 ANZAC Day 4-6 June 2005 Queen's Birthday weekend

Richard Worth

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