Party Vote ACT to ensure a National govt delivers
Weekly commentary by Dr Muriel Newman MP
Party Vote ACT to ensure a National-led government delivers on its promises
This week Newman Online looks at the countdown to Election Day and why a Party Vote for ACT is a vote to keep a National-led government on track.
Until now, the election race has been too close to call with the polls swinging wildly. However, yesterday's release of the Treasury forecasts - that Labour tried to hide - setting out the expected student loan debt blowout, has strengthened the mood for change.
With a National win now looking increasingly likely, people are beginning to consider more carefully what happens next. Unfortunately for voters who want to see a change in direction, having National winning the most votes on election night may not be enough. Unless ACT is back in Parliament, Labour could still be the one to form a new government. It would simply be untenable for National MPs to change offices with Labour MPs and then fail to change the direction that New Zealand is headed.
The problem for National is that New Zealand First and United Future have both reserved all their options. They have only promised to hold discussions first with the party that gets the most votes. That does not stop them conducting a Dutch auction to secure their own election promises. With Helen Clark desperate to win power at any price, she may once again become our Prime Minister.
ACT remains the only party that has said it will only support a National-led government. That is why having ACT in Parliament is so important. ACT believes it will have a key role to play in ensuring that National keeps its election promises. Ensuring that tax cuts are introduced and abolishing the Maori seats are bottom line issues for ACT.
While National's tax-cut plan is a good first step - and we will support their tax cuts in the 2006 budget - we will be insisting that National goes further. In fact, we will be pushing for two priority changes: firstly that National removes the 39 cent income tax surcharge that Labour introduced, and secondly that National reduces New Zealand's company tax rate below that of Australia to give Kiwi small businesses a competitive advantage. We will be pushing for these changes by 1 July 2006.
National has failed to disclose just how fragile their tax-cut promises are. Their public courting of United Future places tax cuts in jeopardy, and seeking New Zealand First's support will create even greater problems for National, given that party's massive spending promises and commitments to special interest groups.
Only ACT can guarantee the implementation of National's tax cut policy. Only ACT will continue to campaign for lower, flatter taxes in the long term, as the best way to lift our standard of living and to improve our national prosperity.
ACT's second bottom line is the abolition of the Maori seats. Without ACT in Parliament, National will not have the support it needs to deliver on this promise because neither United Future nor New Zealand First have made any firm commitments to abolish the Maori seats.
ACT has campaigned on this issue since first entering Parliament in 1996. We believe that New Zealanders should all be equal under the law, with additional help or support being provided by the government based on need, not race.
Abolishing the Maori seats will need a great deal of political courage. It is easy for National to make such promises, but without ACT in Parliament, there is no other party prepared to provide the support that they will need.
Abolishing the Maori seats will be a true test of the strength of a new National government, especially in light of the threats of revolution being made as recently as yesterday by Maori activists.
Intimidation has been regularly used by activists over the years not only to gain greater advantage for Maori, but also to silence those who question the fundamental legitimacy of a lucrative taxpayer funded compensation industry based on Maori being the original settlers, when evidence shows that others were here before.
The reality is that in many walks of life the demands of activists are now over-riding the rights of mainstream New Zealanders. With unveiled threats woven into these demands this is no longer a country that we can feel proud of. The sooner the problem of separate representation - that is at the heart of this issue - is sorted out, the sooner we can put the racial divide behind us.
However, because abolishing the Maori seats is a constitutional issue, ACT would insist that a binding referendum be held once the legislation has been passed by Parliament. That would allow every New Zealander to participate in this important change. It would also ensure that history records this change as being one that has a proper mandate from New Zealanders. ACT would require that such a referendum be held as a priority by 31 March 2006.
The National Party has talked tough this election and their promises have won them significant support. But it will not be easy to turn these promises into action. That's where ACT comes in. Everyone knows ACT MPs are principled, experienced, and tough. ACT will not allow National to compromise on their critical promises. Nor will we allow them to falter.
In spite of the Prime Minister asking Labour voters in Epsom to support the National candidate so that National doesn't have a coalition partner - our polling shows that Rodney Hide is ahead. That means that on Election Day every ACT vote will count.
Epsom voters realise that their National candidate is so high on National's list that he will be returned to Parliament.
A vote for Rodney Hide will deliver an experienced team of ACT MPs committed to supporting a National-led government - at no cost at all to National's support!
If you want to ensure a National-led government stays on track and is able to deliver on its critical promise to change the direction of New Zealand, then your Party Vote to ACT will ensure that we will be there to play that key support role.