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Publisher raises eyebrows with left wing candidacy

Alliance Party media release FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE Tuesday 28 October 2008

Fashion publisher raises eyebrows with left wing candidacy

Jack Yan says he has gained some interesting reactions as he campaigns as a candidate for the Alliance Party in the 2008 general election.

The Wellington-based publisher, designer and businessman says he was previously approached by a "party of the right" to stand as a candidate, but chose to run for the Alliance.

"Some people are surprised that I am actively supporting a party of the political left, but I am very comfortable with the Alliance's humanist values and plan for a stable and secure society."

Mr Yan is number ten on the Alliance Party list, and first became involved after being invited to present a keynote address to the 2007 Alliance Party conference on political branding. Since then he has designed a new logo for the Alliance party which has been named in the media as one of the two best political party logos in New Zealand, along with the Maori Party logo.

He says in recent weeks he has been taking the campaign to some "new areas" for the Alliance, including the creative, fashion and design industries, and the New Zealand Chinese community.

Mr Yan says the key for New Zealand is in strengthening our economy and our education system and in narrowing the gap between rich and poor.

"The bigger the gap, the bigger our social problems. I have been very consistent in saying that."

He says that New Zealand has been failed by "technocratic free-market ideas" since 1984.

"New Zealand is not in the top half of the OECD, which is what Labour promised in 1999; our education system discourages students through its high fees; and the gap has been widening so much in New Zealand that the number of food banks has increased ïfty-fold."

He says the Alliance's policies would create the kind of social stability which could underpin a social and economic revival.

"We have to get the principles and values right, and then the benefits will flow through from that."

Mr Yan says a high level of New Zealand ownership in both public and private enterprise is important, and he holds up Kiwibank as a successful enterprise and brand that has had a positive effect for New Zealand.

"The electorate seems to sense that Kiwibank and domestic ownership of a bank is superior to Australian ownership of a bank. New Zealanders are sick of seeing $3·23 billion in proïts head across the Tasman Sea via foreign bank ownership every year. Only the Alliance has been firm on the creation and continued support of Kiwibank, as well as various other institutions. I like that consistency."

Mr Yan describes himself as a globalist but rejects what he describes as the dogmatic ideology of a "technocracy" in politics and economics.

"We need to develop new skills and new competences. We need to encourage them, because neither Labour nor National has put its weight behind small- to medium-sized enterprises — they have only encouraged the acquisition of the large ones by more foreign players, such as when Fairfax bought TradeMe."

Mr Yan says he considers his economic and social approach to be humanist.

"A humanist might not have pursued a free-trade deal for both moral (Red China's record) and economic (domestic jobs) reasons. A humanist looks at actions and consequences, not a blind following of the mantra pursued by everyone from Robert McNamara through to Roger Douglas and Ruth Richardson."

He says it is ironic that a party of the left like the Alliance has been a staunch critic of free trade deals with China, while parties of the right who make a lot of noise about their interest in individual liberty seem to have forgotten their principles on this issue.

Mr Yan says that the deregulated free market approach is naive, and comes at the cost of New Zealand jobs and our chances of keeping proïts here to be used to develop more new enterprises.

"The weakness of the system has been adequately illustrated by the collapse in global finance markets in recent times. This system undermines the trust and moral values that must underpin our trading relationships and economic relationships."

Mr Yan says the choice New Zealand has to make is whether the party that will lead this nation will look disheartedly at individuals, or compassionately at them.


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