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News Worthy - 3 November 2006

News Worthy
3 November 2006 - No. 91

The Proceeds of Crime

The value of assets the Government is confiscating under the Proceeds of Crime Act is dropping despite the number of cases increasing.

Figures show that despite the number of cases doubling to 41 since 2002/03, the total value seized is one third of what it was, dropping from $3.6 million to $1 million. At the same time, the average value of each seizure has dropped from $183,313 to $24,687.

In June last year, the Labour Government introduced the Criminal Proceeds and Instruments Bill to replace the Proceeds of Crime Act. It was to introduce a civil forfeiture regime that forced criminals to prove all their property was not the proceeds of crime once a court decided it probably was.

The then Justice Minister said at the time that the retrospective legislation would 'have an immediate impact' and would recover an estimated $14 million a year.

The Bill has been abandoned. It should not have been.

The shambles of Auckland transport

Despite ever increasing funding for roads and public transport for Auckland, gridlock and congestion (with its associated annual cost estimated at $1 billion) continue.

Forward progress is hindered by the administrative structures in place.

Just look at this

Current Transport Governance in Auckland

An inconvenient truth

Climate change policy is about risk management. Just as we require buildings to be strengthened against earthquake risk, and we take out earthquake insurance, so too do we need to take measures against the risk of climate change. Most scientists consider that continuing high emissions of carbon dioxide and methane present a risk of destabilising the global climate, possibly leading to irreversible consequences.

How big is this risk? Many years of scientific work, summarised by the National Academies of Science of all the main countries, including the United States, and by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, confirms the risk is serious, although uncertainty remains about the rate and timing of global climate change and its regional effects. These uncertainties are not an excuse for doing nothing.

The Government has talked much about climate change, but its policies have all failed. The methane emissions tax, the carbon tax and the negotiated greenhouse agreements have all been abandoned.

There are three broad climate policy priorities for New Zealand.

1. A new, global treaty: the highest priority is to negotiate a truly global treaty on climate change, to take effect when the Kyoto Protocol expires in 2012. The treaty we need must include commitments from all major emitting countries, and New Zealand's commitments should be aligned with those of our trading partners, especially Australia.

2. New Technologies - to stabilise atmospheric concentrations of greenhouse gases at a safe level, emission reductions of 50% or more are widely expected to be required by 2050. To achieve this, major new technologies will be needed in transport, power generation and agriculture. For the most part, these technologies will be developed overseas and New Zealand will be a technology taker. However, our expertise in agricultural research means we should make a focused effort to develop technologies of global usefulness for reducing farming emissions.

3. Tradable Emissions Permits

National has just released a discussion paper A Bluegreen Vision For New Zealand and I am hosting a public meeting with Tim Groser MP, on the proposals in the paper. The meeting will be led by our Environment Spokesperson Hon Dr Nick Smith and the details are:

Date: Monday 27 November 2006
Time: 7.00pm
Venue: Parnell Community Centre - Jubilee Building - 545 Parnell Road
- Parnell

A Bluegreen Vision For New Zealand is available on the National Party website:

Political Quote of the Week
"Son, always tell the truth. Then you'll never have to remember what you said the last time." - Sam Rayburn - Speaker USA HOR 1911-1913

Richard Worth

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