Act Party

Act on the PPTA and Charter Schools and union blacklists

The ACT party ‘Free Press’ newsletter came out yesterday and provided this commentary on the PPTA and their attitude towards charter schools.

Seriously Unethical Behaviour

The Post Primary Teachers’ Association are plumbing new depths.  First they blacklisted a trainee teacher who worked at a Partnership School from doing training placements at schools where their members teach. The PPTA knows very well that training placements are essential to teacher registration, and their biggest criticism of Partnership Schools is that they can employ non-registered teachers. (As a side note, this condition only applies if the Partnership School provides suitable justification for doing so, e.g. no registered teachers have the skills they seek).

The Teacher Come Forward

The teacher was initially unwilling to speak publicly.  His story is worth reading: ‘Mr Kahukiwa started teaching te reo Maori and music at Te Kura Hourua O Whangarei Terenga Paraoa in Whangarei at the start of the year. He sought out the school after meeting some of its students at the 70th anniversary of the Battle of Cassino in Italy last May, where he was with the Royal New Zealand Navy. “All of us in the military, when we met those kids, we knew there was something special going on,” he said. “I just thought, oh well, whatever a charter school is it works for these kids, I want to be part of it.”  Read more »

Two Politicians, two very different parties but a common belief in a ‘ Fair go ‘

After the story of the Student teacher hit the headlines I approached three politicians for comment and their responses are below. Two of them have a common belief in a ‘fair go’ for the Student teacher which is heartening to see.

Labour Party’s Spokesperson for Education, Chris Hipkins

Chris Hipkins

Chris Hipkins,Labour Party’s spokesperson for Education.

I don’t comment on specific employment matters.

On the general issue, I would expect all trainee teachers to be given full support to complete their qualifications. They should not be discriminated against based on gender, race, sexuality, past employment, or future employment prospects.

– Chris Hipkins

Read more »

Face of the day

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Sean Plunket criticised Eleanor Catton as a ‘traitor’ for her comments over the NZ government and ‘tall poppy syndrome’. Photo / Herald file

Today’s face of the day, Sean Plunkett, needs to be careful in future that he doesn’t call anyone an “ungrateful hua” online. Under the new Harmful Digital Communications Bill, Sean could be silenced if someone like Eleanor Catton complains that he caused her harm by saying something mean about her. As long as he sticks to insulting people via the Radio he should be fine. The trick is not to put your criticism in writing. Dead Tree Media is safe but put it on the internet and you are going to immediately be in dangerous territory where Freedom of Speech is under constant threat thanks to every political party except the Act Party.

A talkback host’s comments describing award-winning New Zealand author Eleanor Catton as an “ungrateful hua” and a “traitor” were not in breach of broadcasting standards.

– A newspaper

Hooton on Act

Matthew Hooton in the NBR explores what Act must do to climb back into relevance.

John Key’s government has become as addicted to interventionism as Muldoon’s, as bad as Helen Clark’s and should be kicked out. But a Labour-Green nightmare is unthinkable.

The most likely alternative to the current near-monopoly National regime is a coalition with NZ First but, for the intrinsically linked sins of interventionism and venality, that would be even worse. It’s therefore vital Act re-emerges as a serious small player rather than a one-seat National plaything.

Act’s rump is very aware of just how dreadful the government it supports has become but also its lack of leverage. Epsom MP David Seymour is forced to vote for corporate welfare and poll-driven electoral bribes that are anathema to his values but he knows he has no choice while he remains its sole MP and his party’s poll ratings below 5%.

This is no criticism of Mr Seymour: after one disaster following another, Act has ended up quite by accident with a leader well suited to relaunching the party. At just 32, Mr Seymour is the first genuinely Gen X party leader on the right, and second only to Greens’ Metiria Turei across the wider spectrum.

He has been a believer in free-market economics and social liberalism all his life and has never flirted with other parties.

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Total and utter horseshit from ACT

So yesterday Audrey Young breathlessly reported something that actually wasn’t true and set off a media frenzy that was sparked by an outright lie in the ACT email newsletter.

Former Act leader Don Brash made an approach to Act president John Thompson recently to ask whether National’s Pakuranga MP Maurice Williamson could join the party, Act leader David Seymour has revealed.

Mr Seymour said the board had unanimously rejected any such notion.

Mr Seymour also said he believed the approach by Dr Brash would have been authorized by Mr Williamson.

Mr Williamson was forced to resign as minister in May last year when Herald Investigations editor Jared Savage revealed Mr Williamson had contacted a high ranking police officer about domestic charges against a wealthy businessman with close ties to him.

Mr Seymour said taking someone into the party because they were having problems with their own party was the worst possible reason for getting a new MP.

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Act shows the spine over RMA that John Key should

ACT and David Seymour are showing a spine and entering robust debate over the things that John key is afraid to touch.

David Seymour has a lash at RMA reform and John Key’s squeamishness.

The Prime Minister’s backdown on the RMA is disappointing but not surprising, says ACT leader David Seymour.

“If we’re serious about councils allowing the next generation to build homes, we need to get some guts. We cannot have an act of parliament preoccupied with telling councils that building houses is inappropriate.”

In his Budget speech Mr Seymour pointed out, “The words inappropriate subdivision appear 156 times in the Resource Management Act, three of them in the principles sections.”    Read more »

David Seymour is allowed out with training wheels on

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via Zimbio

ACT leader David Seymour has been sworn in as New Zealand’s first parliamentary under-secretary since 2005, with Prime Minister John Key signalling a ministerial post lies ahead.

He now holds the roles of parliamentary under-secretary to the minister of education and to the minister for regulatory reform.

He will also serve on the finance and expenditure select committee.

The under-secretary position means Seymour will not be subject to questions in the House. It appears he will not be subject to the Official Information Act also.

That’s the critical part.  In previous terms Banks and Dunne have been put under a huge amount of pressure as they were seen as the Achilles heels of the Teflon National Party coalition.  There is no reason to suspect Labour will not put a brutal amount of pressure on the inexperienced Seymour, and this solves that problem.   Read more »

John Roughan: Nature, business and the RMA

Let me ask this. Is the protection of New Zealand’s natural environment more important than its economic development? Or are they equally important?

I know, too easy.

So try this. Must they be given equal consideration under the law that governs almost everything New Zealand industry can do?

I had assumed so, too. The vast majority of us, I suspect, have supposed the Resource Management Act, for all its drawn-out procedures, allowed economic benefits to be weighed against environmental costs.

Not so. That became evident last year when the Government tried to write economic considerations into the act. An outcry erupted from non-government organisations. It came not just from the extremes of Greenpeace but from reasonable voices such as Gary Taylor’s Environmental Defence Society and the Fish and Game Council.

The “father” of the RMA, Sir Geoffrey Palmer, weighed in with a warning that to give equal standing to economic development would upset nearly 25 years of case law under the act.

By implication, and sometimes admission, they told us environmental arguments could not compete with economic gains if they were given equal consideration.

I’m not sure that’s true.   There is a balance to everything.   The problem is that the balance is currently way too far towards preservation at all costs.   As with most things in life, positions on the extreme ends carry a high opportunity cost.   Read more »

Whyte quits ACT leadership [UPDATED]

“Today I announce that I have tendered, and the Board has accepted, my resignation as Leader of ACT New Zealand,” Dr Whyte said in a statement.

“Clearly I make this announcement with regret, however the election result is clear, and I must now turn to my career and my family.

“I stood to lead ACT because I believe in the party’s ideas.  I will continue to advance these ideas both inside and outside the Party.  I do not rule out returning to a substantial role with ACT in the future.”

I’m sorry for Jamie, but I’m glad that apart from the idiots that voted for the Conservative Party, at least ACT party voters knew the pain of splitting their vote and watching a left Government sail down the middle.

ACT has been on life support for some time.  If it wants to live for the next election, it must start campaigning now.  Whyte resigning is not the right move.

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The Ohariu and Epsom rorts are paying off nicely

Tova O’Brien has the dirty details

The ACT Party’s David Seymour can look forward to a string of Parliamentary perks and funding worth more than $500,000.

That’s because Prime Minister John Key has signed deals with ACT and United Future, giving them plum jobs which come with plum benefits.

Mr Seymour’s been given the role of undersecretary for education. It means he gets a bit more say in two portfolios, and a lot more cash.

More importantly, he also gets no say in parliament, can’t be questions on any portfolios, and isn’t subject to Official Information Act requests.   Talk about being put into the parliamentary creche…

Because ACT failed to get its actual leader Jamie Whyte into Parliament, Mr Seymour gets Parliament’s perks – including $100,000 plus party, member and other funding.

Add that to Mr Seymour’s allowance just for being an MP, and his undersecretary salary – which is nearly $30,000 more than your average back bencher – and he’s pulling $585,028 a year plus extra staff.

It’s all thanks to Mr Key doing a deal and gifting Mr Seymour Epsom – and the MP admits he couldn’t have won the seat without the Prime Minister’s support.

Nope.  It’s a rort.  Strategic voting under MMP is one thing, but this is quite the welcome package for the 31 year old newbie.  Read more »