The National-ACT Agreement

November 16th, 2008 at 12:24 pm by David Farrar

has put the coalition agreement online (staff are working long hours!).

  • goal of closing the income gap with Australia by 2025
  • require a sustained lift in New Zealand’s productivity growth rate to 3% a year or more
  • agreed on the establishment of a high quality advisory group to investigate the reasons for the recent decline in New Zealand’s productivity performance
  • Rodney to be Minister of Local Government, Minister for Regulatory Reform and Associate Minister of Commerce and a member of the Cabinet Expenditure Control Committee

Very pleased to see Rodney get Local Government – he will be a champion for ratepayers.

  • Heather to be Minister of Consumer Affairs, Associate Minister of Defence and Associate Minister of Education

Also good to see Heather get more than Consumer Affairs. I hope she can keep her role in Territorials despite being Associate Minister – the Forces will appreciate a Minister who is one of them! Education will also be a key area for change, if we are to close the gap with Australia.

  • National agrees to introduce the Three Strikes Bill
  • National agrees to a review by a special select committee of Parliament of the current Emissions Trading Scheme legislation and any amendments or alternatives to it, including carbon taxes, in the light of current economic circumstances and steps now being undertaken by similar nations

Having it reviewed by select committee is sensible as that gives a voice to all parties. And the ETS legislation was so complex it needed another look by select committee anyway.

  • National further agrees to pass forthwith an amendment to the ETS legislation delaying its implementation, repealing the thermal generation ban and making any other necessary interim adjustments until the select committee review is completed
  • Establishing a series of Task Forces that include private sector representatives and private sector chairs to undertake fundamental reviews of all base government spending in identified sectors, and to report findings progressively to the cabinet control expenditure committee and relevant ministers.

This should have been happening for the last nine years. The status quo is not an adequate reason to keep funding something. Public funds should be spent on areas where they actually achieve good outcomes.

  • Support, within six months, the referral of ACT’s Taxpayer Rights Bill to the Finance and Expenditure Committee of Parliament as a government measure with the aim of passing into law a cap on the growth of core Crown expenses.
  • National and ACT note that United Future favours reducing and aligning personal, trust and company taxes at a maximum rate of 30%. They agree that such a tax structure is a desirable medium-term goal.

Who would have thought – United Future gets to se the tax policy for the nation :-)

  • National and ACT agree that the government will establish a task force to carry forward work on the Regulatory Responsibility Bill considered by the Commerce Committee of Parliament in 2008.
  • National and ACT agree that the National-led government will explore the concept of a New Zealand Productivity Commission associated with the Productivity Commission in Australia in order to support the goals of higher productivity growth and improvements in the quality of regulation.

I can’t stress how important this might be. However to be truly successful, it would need bipartisan support. It is in all of our interest to improve productivity – even if not always popular with every lobby group. National should try and work with Goff and King to get their support for such a Commission.

  • The National-led government will establish a high quality advisory group to recommend short-term amendments to the RMA, including but not confined to those which National has put forward, as a basis for select committee consideration early in 2009.
  • National and ACT have agree to set up an inter-party working group, which shall be resourced as necessary to consider and report on policy options relating to the funding and regulation of schools that will increase parental choice and school autonomy.
  • National has identified the initiatives on National’s “My key commitments to you” and “National’s Post-Election Action Plan” publications as priorities for them. ACT agrees to support the legislation required to give effect to these policies. These publications are attached as Appendix 2.

This means National can implement its key manifesto items.

  • ACT agrees that it will support the government on procedural motions in the House and in select committees unless ACT has previously advised that such support is not forthcoming. National agrees that it will operate a no surprises policy with ACT on procedural motions it intends to put before the House or a select committee. If National fails to give ACT 48-hours notice of intended procedural motions, ACT shall not be bound by its obligations under this heading.

And means ACT will generally support National on procedural motions, so long as they are given enough notice to decide. There will inevitably be urgency to deal with the 2008 legislation that has an election mandate. I do hope in future urgency is not used too often – or if it is, only to increase sitting hours, but not to rush laws through more than one stage.

Rodney has delivered a good agreement for his supporters, and he also did well in taking ACT from two MPs in 2005 to five MPs in 2008. That gave him the increased clout he needs.

Key has also done well. He has secured support for National’s key manifesto items, and many of his own supporters will welcome the concessions to ACT. Yet nothing there to really scare away the centrist voters – at this stage – that will depend on how certain items are implemented. Issues around the ETS should not be allowed to drift for too long.

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61 Responses to “The National-ACT Agreement”

  1. Ross Miller (1,664 comments) says:

    Balanced and with consessions on both sides. Go2it and best wishes for success.

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  2. James (1,338 comments) says:

    Hmmmm….has promise…..but stay strong Act and don’t get swept up into supporting lefty leaning bullshit to retain power.

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  3. Southern Raider (1,588 comments) says:

    Disappointed as it looks like Peachey will have no active role in education. He is the only person in the Govt with actual working knowledge of the issues and changes that need to be made. I don’t think the Tolley/Roy combination will have the fire power to deliver what we need.

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  4. Ross Miller (1,664 comments) says:

    and David … to pick up on your comment re Heather Roy and the territorials. Not sure it is possible, either in practice or constitutionally. A serving soldier answerable to her military superiors and responsible to herself? David Thompson was a serving TF Brigadier when he entered Parliament but resigned shortly after and well before he became Minister of Defence.

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  5. David Farrar (1,856 comments) says:

    Ross – if she was Minister I think it would be a no go. As Associate Minister she is not officially in the chain of command, so maybe she can do both.

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  6. goodgod (1,363 comments) says:

    Excellent news re: Heather Roy.

    Excellent news re: ETS

    Now lets see what concessions the Maori party get.

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  7. Vinick (214 comments) says:

    “Disappointed as it looks like Peachey will have no active role in education”

    Peachey could be given the 2nd Associate Education slot. I’m not too disappointed – Heather Roy has already shown herself to be very strong in Education and Tertiary Education. She is known as a strong supporter of school vouchers, which would be a great step forward. Hopefully we will see a pilot programme in South Auckland. Kids there are in the most need.

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  8. philu (13,393 comments) says:

    heh..!

    http://whoar.co.nz/2008/hideactthe-far-right-continue-to-have-to-swallow-dead-rats/

    phil(whoar.co.nz)

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  9. Right of way is Way of Right (1,129 comments) says:

    Phil, is the reason you keep posting here because no-one will go your YOUR blog?

    Can anyone advise a likely date for the State opening of Parliament?

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  10. Turpin (342 comments) says:

    Yeah it does look like ACT are pushed sideways.
    really needed 5-7% of the party vote or 10 MP’s.
    its not relative until we see what Maori and UF get.

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  11. baxter (893 comments) says:

    Our Socialist Kapiti Coast Council is currently in a panic stricken headlong dash to create the first special ward for Maori in the country. Cost is not a consideration. The council has decided that the issue will be decided by them and that although the legislation allows for a local referendum they will not take that option. I am therefore delighted that Rodney is the new Minister of Local Goverment and hope he places a moratorium on the creation of aparthied wards.

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  12. Vinick (214 comments) says:

    Maori wards don’t concern me so much as the power of general competence, given to local councils by the Alliance Cabinet Minister Sandra Lee. The earlier that can be repealed the better.

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  13. Madeleine (230 comments) says:

    The Maori Party look set to get a constitutional review looking at the Maori Seats and the horrific affront to due process aka Foreshore and Seabed Act 2004.

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  14. mickysavage (786 comments) says:

    So they have decided to “agreed on the establishment of a high quality advisory group to investigate the reasons for the recent decline in New Zealand’s productivity performance”.

    I volunteer to go onto it! I can give them the reason now and the solution. The reason is full employment and the solution is to destroy a hundred thousand jobs or so. If you do this then the jobs that disappear tend to be the least productive and the jobs that are left tend to be more productive. Hey presto the measure of productivity goes up.

    Of course you have to put up with misery and communities falling apart as families are ripped apart by poverty. I guess if you live in a mansion on St Stephens Ave then you are a bit removed from those sorts of experiences.

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  15. Vinick (214 comments) says:

    Looks as though Heather Roy (sorry, the Hon Heather Roy) will be answering a lot of questions in the House. Not only is she Minister of Consumer Affairs and Associate Education, with McCully overseas (as Foreign Affairs) half the time, Heather will be taking up the slack on Defence.

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  16. The Silent Majority (85 comments) says:

    Rodney is a genius!! There is hope for this country yet!

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  17. Redbaiter (13,197 comments) says:

    So we’re stuck with the undemocratic and racist Maori seats??? Heavy price to pay and for what benefit exactly??

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  18. Adolf Fiinkensein (2,798 comments) says:

    Redbaiter, sometimes you really beat the band. It is a small price to pay for the smiling assassination of Labour.

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  19. gee90 (92 comments) says:

    APEC 1, ACT 0.

    Very little commitment to policy there (as opposed to talking about possible policy, sometime later). There will never be a more favourable time to make decisions – including unpopular ones. There is public goodwill towards the new PM, and Key has political capital. Better to hammer out some agreements now than six months down the track, when the honeymoon is over.

    There’s no reward on offer for being the fastest-formed government. In 2011, who will care about that?

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  20. Sushi Goblin (419 comments) says:

    What about the EFA?

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  21. Sushi Goblin (419 comments) says:

    Ah good – it is mentioned in the appendix of the agreement to repeal the EFA, replace with the original elections act, and add greater transparency on donations.

    Looks like a good agreement.

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  22. Redbaiter (13,197 comments) says:

    “It is a small price to pay for the smiling assassination of Labour.”

    Sorry Adolf, I do not consider the entrenchment of the Maori seats a small price. NZ is falling into the bottomless chasm of institutionalised racism, like South Africa and Rhodesia. Ask all those NZers living in Queensland what was their main reason for leaving. You’re sure as hell not going to bring any of them home sucking up to racists like Turia and the rest. The Maori party is a disgusting and divisive blot on democracy, and needs to be seen as such, not given legitimacy by the likes of the PC lamers that hold power in National right now. Labour could have been kept in check without the inclusion of the Maori Party.

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  23. Docdaneeka (4 comments) says:

    I like the look of almost everything I see, except this ‘parental choice…school autonomy’ nonsense in education. The current damaging competition between state schools is just a waste of taxpayer money which benefits no-one.

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  24. Chthoniid (2,029 comments) says:

    I volunteer to go onto it! I can give them the reason now and the solution. The reason is full employment and the solution is to destroy a hundred thousand jobs or so.

    The problem is that Australia has followed a similar trend towards full employment and has not suffered a like collapse in productivity growth.

    Likewise, there is no specific reason why full employment would cause a falloff in innovation and investment- hence cause total productivity growth to decline.

    I recall that Margaret Wilson in fact, suggested that productivity would rise after the ERA because by making it harder to shed staff, firms would increase investment in capital (in theory, lifting total productivity and wages).

    The harsh reality is that this has not come about.

    There are a number of credible explanations of why this has occurred, but to suggest that employment levels are the main and principal mechanism reveals a deeply self-serving, credulous and intellectually bankrupt line of thinking.

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  25. Adolf Fiinkensein (2,798 comments) says:

    Redbaiter, you only get worse. Have you been to lunch with David Garrett today? FFS, who the hell except you is talking about entrenchment? Politics is the art of compromise and I’ll take the existence of Maori seats for another few years any day, in return for building a permanent socialist proof bastion against Labour and the Greens.

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  26. Redbaiter (13,197 comments) says:

    “FFS, who the hell except you is talking about entrenchment? ‘

    C’mon. You trying to tell me it wasn’t key to the agreement?? Pull the other one, its got bells on it. ..and if the agreement with Maori was only entered into to counter ACT’s influence, its doubly cynical.

    “Have you been to lunch with David Garrett today?”

    Nope, I just got back from a particularly arduous journey and I’m knackered and I don’t want to go anywhere with anyone. Nevertheless, I reckon he’d be good company.

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  27. James (1,338 comments) says:

    Adolf….the impression that you are morphing into a moist neo lefty grows by the day….

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  28. BlairM (2,288 comments) says:

    Yes, the moistness is palpable, towel off will you?

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  29. Graeme Edgeler (3,267 comments) says:

    staff are working long hours!

    It shows.

    Is this a “National lead” government, a “National led” government, or a “National-led” government?

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  30. dime (9,470 comments) says:

    im pretty dam happy with this!!

    helen must be stoked hehe

    i like the softly softly approach.. make real changes that make people lives better.. people have been brainwashed by labour, will take some time to undo that.

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  31. side show bob (3,660 comments) says:

    I like the ETS bit, good news on this front. I bet this poxy little bill will soon melt under the spotlight, unless those that think they know better can see a way to make some money out of it.

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  32. side show bob (3,660 comments) says:

    Dime, didn’t Dear Loser say she hoped the wonderful policies of the left where not going to go up in flames, wheres the petrol?

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  33. Ross Elliot (83 comments) says:

    Has nobody worked out that the staggering costs imposed upon the NZ economy by the ETS–even an amended version–will nullify any gains made through deregulation and downsizing government?

    The ETS needs to go. The most important task is to convince Key and his courtiers that climate issues are a watermelon strategy designed to enslave and impoverish.

    That said, Rodney could not have got two better portfolios. I’ll be egging him on to inflict maximum damage.

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  34. Adolf Fiinkensein (2,798 comments) says:

    So Red, James and Blair. Off to form a new party of extremists are you? Policies pure as driven snow? Bravely shouting into the dark night of eternal irrelevancy and opposition? Now you’ll need a name for it. Let’s see.

    Social Credit? naaaaah

    League of Rights? maaaaaybeeeee

    Laisez Faire? Jeeez, can’t have that bloody Froggy talk around here, mate!

    By George, I’ve got it!

    The CRAP Party

    Confiused Radical Asinine Puritans

    Your patron saint will be St Simeon Stylities who too, spent all his life living up the pole. You will enjoy his life story.

    Don’t call us, we’ll call you.

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  35. Redbaiter (13,197 comments) says:

    OK Adolf. If you can, describe the down side of not entering into an agreement with the racist Maori Party.

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  36. Adolf Fiinkensein (2,798 comments) says:

    Being hog tied and tail wagged by ACT. Pretty straight up, really. Add to that being out of office possibly in 2011.

    Anything else you’d like?

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  37. Redbaiter (13,197 comments) says:

    “Being hog tied and tail wagged by ACT. Pretty straight up, really.”

    OK fine. Sort of cuts through all the bullshit about “inclusiveness” don’t it? The cheek of some people, trying to sway National to live by their own founding principles.

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  38. dad4justice (7,791 comments) says:

    Good “founding principles” before the insidious pc crap became apparent in kiwi politics. Right is right.

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  39. radvad (666 comments) says:

    Very disappointed. I thought the agreement should have specifically mentioned that Phil had to get a job.

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  40. reid (15,970 comments) says:

    Re: the ETS – it will be interesting to monitor the support for National amongst middle-class mothers as the dabate goes through. It will also be a very good first test of National vs Liarbore message-management. I almost guarantee that all the lefty journos will be full of mock horror.

    I’d love to see the Nats attack the central issue – AGW itself. That won’t happen of course but would be great. Personally I’d get David Bellamy over here. Remember him? As soon as he denied AGW, the BBC removed him from all its programs – that’s why we haven’t seen him for about 10 years. You couldn’t get a greener person than him, yet he’s an unbeliever.

    Regardless of how the debate turns out, the left will use this as a major plank in 2011 to reinforce lefty stereotypes of your average business-friendly conservative voter. The Nats have I hope already started planning how to counter that.

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  41. Madeleine (230 comments) says:

    David are you aware you have an ad for KiwiBank on your blog? Ugh!

    I was happy to live with the Maori Party deal, was starting to think that maybe The Standard were right, National had taken a step to the Right, but the United Future’s deal… so centrist and income splitting is superfluous in the face of a reduction of the top tax tier to 30% … maybe Key realised that.

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  42. Innocent bystander (163 comments) says:

    ACT supporters should be well pleased with this. I have mixed feelings about Rodney as Minister of Local Government. There is no doubt that local government needs a pretty good kick in the bum and that Rodney is a good person to deliver it. Local government should stick to its knitting and deliver on its core functions well before they do anything else but that is not what tends to happen. Councils do not have the same accountibility or scrutiny of expenditure as central government does, they get captured far to easily by either business interests or by local nut jobs and councillers and staff often lack competance and are quick to fund any old hair brained scheme with rate payers money….I’m still waiting for a large jet to make use of Invercargill’s (world class) runway extension and I think we should make Tim Shadbolt spend the rest of his days, confined to a small shack at the end of the runway until such time as one does make use of it. Councils also spend far too much money creating flash corporate images and marketing themselves…its never quite clear who the intended audience is or what the benefit of this activity is.

    There are also too many councils…I’m not talking about regional councils because I think they need to stay and besides no one has looked at whether unitary authorities do a better or worse job. Some of the smaller TLA’s need to amalgamate or look at how they can jointly provide services and give ratepayers more bang for their buck. On the downside ACT has an agenda of selling council assets which they may try and slip through despite National assurances of no (central government) asset sales. Something to watch.

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  43. Stuart Mackey (337 comments) says:

    David Farrar wrote
    “Also good to see Heather get more than Consumer Affairs. I hope she can keep her role in Territorials despite being Associate Minister – the Forces will appreciate a Minister who is one of them!”

    I suspect that the forces will appreciate someone who can actually do something for them, that she is TF will not matter next to results, and time will tell on that given Nationals history with defence, which is not crash hot.

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  44. mudmum (31 comments) says:

    I believe the case of bringing the Maori Party onboard is a master stroke. By 2014, they won’t need to worry about entrenching the Maori Seats. Maori themselves will be able to ee that, having a party of their own, working with government and representing tgheir interetst, will be far better fo, and more inclusive for, Maori in general. Only a few die-hard Labour voters will then be bleating about it. JK doesn’t have to worry, just keep doing it right!

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  45. getstaffed (9,189 comments) says:

    I impressed with all this. Pretty much what we needed, expected and voted for. The concern I have, which has been mentioned above, is the way the leftie media presents this agreement.

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  46. mickysavage (786 comments) says:

    Leftie media? Getstaffed, pulleease …

    If there was a leftie media the campaign would have been about the economy, unemployment, poverty and global warming.

    According to the media the campaign was about how awful Mike Williams was in making sure that Key was not involved in the H fee, about how the American election invoked a feeling for change in NZ (even though Obama was described as a Socialist and McCain and Palin were … well I am not sure but their selection process needs looking at), and how there was a “feeling for change”.

    New Zealand blew it. Those who changed their votes may as well have been deciding on a new pair of shoes such was their intellectual engagement.

    For the right your biggest problem is that John Key’s Government ought to be Labour lite according to its promises. Deals with the Maori Party, preserving of the Maori seats, acknowledgment of Global Warming and enhancement of the Social Welfare system. How does that make you feel?

    Key is H3 and National is Labour lite. Roll on 2011.

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  47. stephen (4,063 comments) says:

    “The concern I have, which has been mentioned above, is the way the leftie media presents this agreement.”

    Well either a masterstroke, a brainwave or a brilliant move – take your pick.

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  48. labrator (1,750 comments) says:

    Those who changed their votes may as well have been deciding on a new pair of shoes such was their intellectual engagement.

    Great analysis. Labour = Good.

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  49. Adolf Fiinkensein (2,798 comments) says:

    mickeysavage, yes roll on 2011, by which time social welfare will be seen as a privilege rather than a right, an anti corruption commission will have settled in the public mind once and for all the appalling corruption that was the Clark/Williams led Labour Party, the gutting of the disastrous Emmissions Trading Scam, the neutering of the RMA and, last but not least, the repeal of the Electoral Finance Act and the elimination of secret political donations.

    While you and your acolytes pontificate, New Zealanders will keep their jobs and businesses will continue to employ people.

    What’s left of Labour will shit itself.

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  50. dave strings (608 comments) says:

    redvad

    Good on yer m8!

    Haven’t laughed this much in a week and almost a day :-) :-)

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  51. dave strings (608 comments) says:

    mickeysavage

    Re:>
    If there was a leftie media the campaign would have been about the economy, unemployment, poverty and global warming.
    >

    I think my age must be getting to me! I don’t remember seeing anything about Labour’s position on any of those during the campaign. I saw a lot of posters saying trust me – but none that said ‘trust me to . . . . . .” so I made up my own mind on that. I saw a lot of TV advertising about who to trust, and who a particular woman didn’t trust, but to do what was again somewhat left to the imagination. I saw three debates, in which a woman raved about how good she had been and a man raved about how good he would be – that left me thinking better a great future than a past with qualifications on its greatness. I heard a teacher talk about how the rainy day he had warned us all about had finally arrived, but when he went to the cupboard it turned out he hadn’t bought and stored any umbrellas and the roof was leaking.

    So please, tell me where the economy, unemployment, poverty and global warming were raised by Labour as major issues to be debated and voted on! Or was that wrapped up in the dozens of pages of useless evidence the Labour Party President carried over the Tasman to show us all?

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  52. mickysavage (786 comments) says:

    Adolf

    The day that the nats open up their books and let us all know about how they are funded and who they are funded by is the day that we can have this debate.

    Climate change is a really really big elephant in the room. I believe that we can not ignore it. The ETA is an attempt at doing something, not ideal but better than nothing. ACT want us to ignore it and it appears that National want to do the same. The RMA is as weak as it should be and it should be strengthened.

    The EFA debate goes along the following line, some of us do not want extremist religious groups taking over, the right do not want any restriction whatsoever on the spending of money on political advertisements. I am all for free speech, I do not however support the ability of some to engage in expensive speech and drown out others.

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  53. Hagues (711 comments) says:

    mickysavage “ETA (ETS?) is an attempt at doing something, not ideal but better than nothing.”

    Incorrect, the ETS will actually have no impact on fixing an imaginary problem but will cost the NZ economy billions. Doing nothing will have the same impact on the environment but is free. Doing nothing is ideal.

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  54. Lee (627 comments) says:

    mickey,

    your side lost. Get over it.

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  55. Inventory2 (10,111 comments) says:

    mickysavage said “Leftie media? Getstaffed, pulleease …

    If there was a leftie media the campaign would have been about the economy, unemployment, poverty and global warming.”

    It was the PM herself who dictated what the election would be fought on – trust. Fran Mold and Duncan Garner were complicit in her campaign to denigrate Key – which, of course, backfired in rather spectacular style.

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  56. OECD rank 22 kiwi (2,811 comments) says:

    They forgot to put the bit in where the 39c tax rate is completely scrapped on 1 April 2009.

    Michael Cullen introduced it during his first year in office. The least a National/ACT Government can do is scrap it during their first year. Anything less makes John Key look as wet as Katherine Rich. Eighteen months down the track with the economy still stuffed I’d like to see how much political capital John Key has left with that kind of wetness.

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  57. natural party of govt (461 comments) says:

    “To enable ACT to make a substantive contribution to the government’s programme, it will have adequate access to funding, in a bulk form or for specific projects, to enable it to commission contract research or other consultancy assistance. The terms of such funding will be a matter for the Leadership Council to decide.”

    Oink, oink. Lots of new right snouts in the taxpayer funded trough there.

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  58. clintheine (1,563 comments) says:

    Adolf, you have indeed got a lot more leftie lately. The Nats I knew back in the day were salivating at an ACT/Nat Govt and here you are excited about a new era of centrist Govt. Ouch. Having ACT on board is excellent, we have stood for and argued the exact same thing from the start – Nationals founding principles – the only thing is the Nats (bless them) have forgotten them in the clamour to become Government :)

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  59. OECD rank 22 kiwi (2,811 comments) says:

    Plenty of Committees for Roger Douglas to directly contribute to. His most important role will be personally advising John Key on the correct course of action to take to fix New Zealand’s broken economy.

    Is John Key the new “David Lange II”?

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  60. dave strings (608 comments) says:

    OECD rank 22 kiwi

    Would that be David Lange III, or was there a Lange II I missed?

    MickySavage

    Go take a nice warm shower and have a good feed. The world has changed around you and it’s the other fella’s turn to sort things out (again) so that your lot can find a way to sell us our own money in return for votes!

    Happy daze!

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  61. rwest (1 comment) says:

    Complex the ETS may be, not entirely adequate would also be appropriate, but I can’t hold out much hope for NZ’s small businesses and residents, let alone it’s environment if this “coaltition” continues to charge in the same way it has.
    http://www.voxy.co.nz/politics/delay-emissions-trading-scheme/219/5847

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