Saturday, 15 March 2008

Douglas urges change to halt Aussie exodus

The return of Sir Roger Douglas to the ACT Party was confirmed today, with the announcement the former Labour Party Finance Minister will stand as both a List and an electorate candidate this election.

Party leader Rodney Hide welcomed Sir Roger back to the fold, and says he wants to see him high on the party list. (Just don't bring back those stuffy old conservatives into the fold as well... I think ACT have managed to palm off Stephen Franks onto the National Party?...)

Douglas told ACT's national conference that "New Zealand is now Australia's poor cousin". He's alarmed at the growing number of New Zealanders leaving for Australia, and the increasing disparity in incomes between the two countries. It was revealed more than 400,000 Kiwis have left the country since Helen Clark came to power.

Meanwhile, Michael Cullen has managed to halve the growth in labour productivity, with a massive increase in state bureaucrats and red-tape. He dubbed the current Labour-led Government the "Growthbusters", saying New Zealand's growth had been sacrificed time and again at the "altar of political self-interest".

Douglas encouraged the party he helped found to return to its roots, especially as National moves closer to the centre with Labour. He was given a standing ovation at the end of his address this afternoon.

The party is aiming to increase its vote to 6-8% this election. ACT wants to cap government spending and force politicians to live within their means. The party also wants to cap top tax rates at 20% for both workers and businesses.

ACT's education policy will see all children offered a scholarship, to spend at the school of their choice... whether that's a state school, independent, integrated, or kura kaupapa.

It's the sort of system that has been running very successfully for years in the likes of Sweden, Denmark and Holland. (Currently the NZ Government spends around $8,000 a year for each state high school student, and $5,500 for primary school students).

Rodney Hide warned the conference that a change in Government this year isn't enough if people want a turnaround in the country's fortunes. He said ACT was the only party "with the guts to adopt bold new policies to ensure real change".

* Stuff: Douglas back for ACT
* ACT Party: ACT to bring our children home

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  1. Heine Says:

    Yep, Franksy is pushing to be the Wellington Central candidate where he'll be up against Heather.