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ACT's The Letter - 5 December 2005

ACT's The Letter - 5 December 2005

The Haps

Parliament meets after a one week recess for the final session of the year. Helen Clark and Winston Peters make a rare visit to New Zealand and may even answer some parliamentary questions about their unusual coalition. The economy continues to slow.

Full Circle

Peters has failed to establish his extravagant claims of over-spending and is now relying on an interpretation of what is allowed as voluntary contributions. Peters started his parliamentary career by winning the "ticks and crosses" case where Labour voters, who had ticked their ballots instead of crossing out names, had their votes disallowed. Peters knows the significance of losing Tauranga. No third party in government coalition has ever beaten the 5% threshold in the next election. NZ First is already at 4.5% in the polls. It seems court cases will be the start and the end of an extraordinary career.

Second Chance

We expect National, with their remarkable tactician Gerry Brownlee, will continue to devote most of their attacks on NZ First. The NZ First caucus, which was strongly opposed to Winston's decision to join Labour, has reacted to National's attacks by becoming pro government. It is interesting that 24% of Letter readers think Peter's should be given a fair go as Foreign Minister. It was just dumb for Brownlee to oppose Ron Mark's non voting membership of a select committee where he has been an effective critic of Labour's policies.

Master of Standing Orders

Gerry Brownlee's idea of being an effective opposition is to raise points of order. So far in the 7 sitting days parliament has met since the election, (we are not counting the day devoted to obituaries), he has raised 29 points of order, an average of four a day. On one day he raised nine. Not one has been upheld. We think that he has done well for someone who has clearly never read Speakers Rulings. He reminds us of an English rugby forward who thinks that the game is won by arguing with the referee.

Alternative Strategy

Rodney has been urging National to stop its feud with all the third parties. With their support National could put forward a series of inquiries at the select committees.

Lame duck Deputy Leader

Michael Cullen by letting it be known that this is his last term has triggered off a vicious battle to succeed him. Goff's remarks regarding Peters were aimed at the backbench who are opposed to Winston's appointment. Jim Sutton and Dover Samuels are convinced that the pressure for them to retire is so they cannot vote in any leadership contest. Clark has been too smart to declare her support for any candidate. On Labour's front bench there is no obvious Prime Ministerial talent. They would be smarter to skip to the backbench and elect Shane Jones.

The Economy

Car sales, often an indicator of consumer confidence have slowed dramatically. Car sales usually fall during an election but this year they have not picked up. We think the realisation that interest rates are continuing to rise is going to make households reluctant to take on credit card debt. (Not reduce it but stop the rise).The high dollar is punishing exporters. Most forward foreign exchange cover has expired.

Immigration

The government will go close to meeting their unofficial target of around 40 thousand new immigrants but the migration of Kiwis to Australia continues. It is this migration and the fall in foreign students that is punishing the Auckland apartment market.

Not on strike

Chris Trotter's claim is just fanciful that the nation's business men are so disappointed at Labour's re-election that they're putting away the cheque books. The fact is the slow down is going to be harder than it would have been if our "independent" Reserve Bank had acted in the six months before the election and Labour exercised some restraint over public spending.

More Maidens out of (10)

*Mark Blumsky, list, National (3) Local body speech, "we need to find some innovative way of protecting Wellington from disruptive and abusive vagrants."

*Chris Tremain, Napier, National (6). A remarkable bi-lingual speech. Taught Don Brash how to advocate, "We must move on" without offending Maori.

*Sue Moroney, list, Labour (2). Yet another trade union organiser. Nurses Union. Is not a nurse. She lists her qualifications as "Certificate in Labour & Trade Union Studies, University of Waikato". Wants a return to national awards!

*Kate Wilkinson, list, National (5). Solicitor from Christchurch. Very conservative. "We have laws for a lawless minority often…at a huge cost and disadvantage to our lawful majority."

*Nicky Wagner, list, National (0). Truly awful delivery and content. "I would like to congratulate everyone…" Why people who cannot speak and have nothing to say want to be MPs is one of life's mysteries.

*Te Ururoa Flavell, Waiariki, Maori, (7) brilliantly delivered. "The State has set, and controls the process by which iwi representatives are selected to settle claims…not been debated…in this House…I do not think my Pakeha friends would ever be expected to tolerate such treatment."

For 70 years Labour's Maori MPs have been the representatives in parliament for Maori. In the last three weeks the Maori Party MPs have taken over the role and are recognised as the real voice. A very significant shift in the nation's politics.

Our Poll

The OECD has put out a critical report on the economy basically saying that government spending is reckless and as a result the economy will hit the wall. Michael Cullen says they are wrong. Whose right? We will send your answer to the Reserve Bank and the Treasury. Vote at www.theletter.biz/vote http://www.theletter.biz/vote

ENDS

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