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NewsWorthy - Dr Richard Worth

30 March 2007 - No. 103

MPs under siege as anti-smacking vote nears

So read the heading to an article in the one of the major daily newspapers on Wednesday.

The heading accurately described an intense campaign by supporters and opponents of the Bill which the Government now plans to take over as a Government measure. That step has two purposes – it will stifle assent from a number of Government MPs who do not support the legislation and it will also enable the Government to fast track this hugely unpopular legislation.

At one point yesterday MPs were receiving up to 200 emails an hour. The typical for and against emails which were personalised to the MP read:

For - This Bill is another step forward in New Zealand's long-run commitment to basic human rights and ensuring New Zealand maintains a positive human rights culture.

It is time for parents to learn non-violent, positive, parenting techniques. Positive parenting is effective and supports the optimal development of children.

Removing section 59 will simply acknowledge that children have a right to, and deserve, protection from assault.

Against - The repeal of Section 59 does nothing to protect a single New Zealand child from criminal abuse. It is a red herring inspired by social engineers who have run out of ideas in confronting some of the main causes of child abuse: poverty, poor education, poor health outcomes, substance abuse, and intergenerational welfare.

There is no public mandate for the legislation. It is dividing New Zealanders, and in particular, their faith in the parliamentary process. I urge you not to support this Bill, and instead to concentrate your efforts on reducing serious harm against New Zealand's most vulnerable children.

National has taken a clear position on the legislation. It opposes the Bill on the basis that to remove the defence of corrective smacking will criminalise parents and those who cross the threshold of parental violence will take no notice of the legislation.

It’s all about a failure by the Government to recognise the futility of legislating morality.

The tax law in most jurisdictions is fiendishly complex. Not more so than in New Zealand. The Income Tax Act 2004 runs to three volumes of material with an unusual indexing system serving to highlight the complicated structure of the statute.

1 April 2007 sees the start of the new regime relating to the taxation of off-shore equities. For those who felt relieved that Australian equities would not be caught by the change the relief is slight indeed.

The changes are implemented in part by section EX33C of the Taxation (Savings Investment & Miscellaneous Provisions) Act 2006. There is a saving in respect of shares in indexes approved under the ASX Market Rules.

Two of the indices are the Australian All Ords Index and the S&P/ASX 200 Index. The problem is that the shares in those indices change and in the course of a tax year companies are added and dropped. The movements are vividly illustrated for the All Ordinaries Index at

To take an example Babcock & Brown Power has been added and Village Life Ltd has been deleted.

A feast for the accountants no doubt and the introduction of unnecessary uncertainty.

Invitation to hear our vision for New Zealand’s education system
On Monday 2 April at the University of Auckland’s Education Faculty, John Key will outline his vision for New Zealand’s education system and the kinds of policy proposals National intends to pursue in this area. The meeting is open to the public. Details as follows:

Date: Monday, 2 April
Time: 12.10pm
Venue: University of Auckland, Epsom Campus - Lecture Theatre J2

Political Quote of the Week
"The reasonable man adapts himself to the world; the unreasonable one persists in trying to adapt the world to himself. Therefore all progress depends on the unreasonable man". George Bernard Shaw


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