ACT

Minor parties

It is the time of the electoral cycle when the smallest of Parliament’s parties start to have existential crises. These are real crises for Act and United Future, given they look into the abyss of extinction every three years.

There is precious little oxygen in the rarefied atmosphere inhabited by Government support parties. If evidence was needed it came this week when Dunne tried to remind people of his existence by issuing a press statement setting out the three policy themes he would be focusing on in the lead-up to the 2017 election. The themes were: an economy that provides fairness, choice and opportunity; establishing core environmental bottom lines; and embracing and celebrating a modern, multi-cultural New ZZZZZzzzzzzzzzz.

It was effectively a campaign launch. It fell with the impact of a feather.

It is a tricky time for the leaders of the two parties. Act and United Future are dependent on either wooing 5 per cent of voters to get into Parliament or on keeping a grip on an electorate seat.

Neither has come close to the 5 per cent mark for some time and nor are they likely to. In both cases, the electorate seat deal is the only option.

Both Dunne and Seymour are all but guaranteed to be back in the next parliament, and their existential crisis is but a media mirage. It is clear that neither is likely to get 5% for United Future or ACT. So, the only risky thing is that their sugar daddy, National, is going to drop support.  Read more »

Taxing taxes

John Key

ACT remind us that National are slowly edging backwards on a fairly solid election promise.

No New Taxes?
National campaigned on no new taxes and will soon have introduced three. It begs the question, why vote for a National party that introduces new taxes like a Labour Government on heat?

Tourist Tax
The tourism industry is furious about the $25 arrival fee applied to visitors. It was sold as a user charge but the Government has never shown how it covers cost created by the user. That’s a tax. Read more »

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ACT are greener than the Greens

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David has a reason to gloat.   Read more »

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ACT: Chris Hipkins’ Charter Schools Abolition Bill “irritating”

Strong Demand

Opposition to Partnership Schools runs against demand from educators and families. Twenty-six different groups applied for an advertised two contracts in the latest application round.  In addition, existing schools have filled rapidly and in some cases have had to construct waiting lists.

Maori Backing the Policy

Perhaps due to the poor outcomes in other school types, and the early success of Kura Hourua, the Iwi Leaders’ Forum declared an official position supporting the policy in 2015.  Labour, despite hoping to win Maori seats in 2017, have not acknowledged this.

Registered Teachers Not a Panacea

Opponents haven’t traded in the facts when it comes to Partnership Schools.  One example is that they say Partnership Schools employ ‘unqualified teachers.’  The law allows Partnership Schools to nominate a percentage of positions to be filled by staff not registered with EDUCANZ if they have the ‘skills, qualifications and experience’ to help kids.  Several Partnership Schools have used this freedom to hire outstanding individuals.

Read more »

Crown Law appealing soft Three Strikes decisions

Crown Law is lodging an appeal in two cases where judges refused to send criminals to prison for the rest of their lives under the three-strikes law.

The law, which was an ACT Party initiative to deal with repeat violent offending, states if a murder is committed on a second or third strike, the punishment is automatically life without parole.

But a judge can give a minimum non-parole period instead if they feel a lifetime in prison would be extremely unfair or manifestly unjust.

Life without parole has never been imposed in New Zealand – and ACT says the appeals should determine whether judges have been too lenient in interpreting the three-strikes law.

One of the two sentences being appealed is that of Justin Turner, who could be serving life in prison with no prospect of parole for the 2014 murder of Auckland man Maqbool Hussain.

The judge decided to sentence him to life with a 15 year minimum non-parole period, in part because Turner had shown remorse.

A life for a life isn’t that unreasonable when we’re talking Three Strikes. Clearly the crim is hard of understanding and by then it is the public that needs the benefit of the doubt.  Read more »

ACT critical of National’s “Green-washing”

Legislation to establish the sanctuary was introduced to Parliament on Tuesday.

The Kermadec Ocean Sanctuary will cover 620,000 square kilometres containing the world’s longest chain of submerged volcanoes and the second deepest ocean trench, which is around 10km deep.

No fishing or mining will be allowed in the sanctuary.

ACT leader David Seymour says the project is undermined by Prime Minister John Key’s statement that people could still catch fish elsewhere — such as migrating species like tuna.

“The Prime Minister has acknowledged what was explained in the Cabinet paper for this legislation — fish can swim,” he said.
“Operators can still take the same amount of fish, they just have to wait for the stocks to migrate outside of the sanctuary area.”

The Bill would result in a logistical challenge for fishers, with no new limits put on the number of fish taken, he said. Read more »

ACT’s Three Strikes for burglary a necessity, not a luxury

Otahuhu woman Vicky Pearson has been burgled about eight times in the past three years.

“I’ve had the whole top layer of bricks from my wee knee-high fence taken [and] I’ve had all my clothes pegs taken.

“My garage was broken into and my expensive lawnmower stolen. They also pinched a duvet, most likely to protect their vehicle from the mess from the lawnmower.

The guttering was stolen.

“In addition the house itself was also broken into twice; once to take my laptop, and the second time to clean out jewellery and iPods.

“The side door was dead-bolted, but they just smashed the whole door out of its frame.

“They tried to take the TV but I suspect I disturbed them – when I arrived home and went to check the letterbox I found my TV on the front lawn. It is now superglued to my TV cabinet …

“My home is a buffet.” Read more »

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ACT school (the unchartered kind)

[ACT,] …the free-market political party launched its “School of Practical Politics” to upskill prospective candidates for the 2017 election.

“Our investment in people I am sure will give the voters in 2017 the confidence that a vote for ACT will not be wasted,” [Party president] Mr Thompson said.

“We have many more talented individuals that can provide a solid ACT platform of brilliance in the 2017 elected parliament.”

The “school” makes up one part of the ACT Party’s five-pronged strategy, which also includes employing a full-time party manager, increasing fundraising efforts and upping research into wider voter intentions.

“We need this year to do plenty of quality research to ensure that we know our prospective audience and then tailor the message for maximum exposure to that audience.

“This also requires a fundraising push.”

The party hopes to raise at least another $100,000 in contributions.

Mr Thompson said the party had made great strides in winning back people “who have strayed away from us” and encouraged delegates not to be disheartened by its lack of movement in the polls.

Part of what hurts smaller parties is that they have to stand people in every electorate to drive for the party vote.  After all, it’s the party vote that counts most, especially if you have a nice bit of overhang.  The downside of this is the shallow talent pool. Read more »

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ACT: Three Strikes is working, but in a perverse way

From Free Press

Three Strikes

ACT’s three strikes legislation has been a success already.  Statistics show strike warnings are deterring offenders from reoffending.  Even opponents are having to admit that the policy is working to reduce violent crime.

The Two Strike Provision

A lesser known aspect of the three strikes legislation is that an offender convicted of a grievous murder should be sentenced to life without parole on the second strike.  It was an answer to the common criticism of three strikes: why on earth do you wait for three?

Three Strike Outs

So far three second strikers have been convicted of a grievous murder requiring life without parole under the law.  In all three cases the sentencing judge has refused to give life without parole.

Say, What? Read more »

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Tesla S P90D – one of the least gay electric cars

Tesla4.1

I’ve had to write this for Cam because you know what he thinks about green vehicles.  Perhaps when they bring out an electric truck that will get his deer back home he’ll…. oh, who am I kidding?

ACT are having this fun fundraiser at their annual conference where you get to ride in a Tesla for about 15 minutes.  It’s been privately imported and is privately owned, and I believe it’s the only one in New Zealand right now that you can get a ride in so, if you’re a car nut (or better, an ACT-leaning car nut), this is quite the chance to see some seriously up-to-date Toy in action.

Here are some of the details:  Read more »