Act Party

Illiteracy and crime: Fat Tony explains

Fat Tony AKA Mike Williams

Mike Williams the CEO of the Howard League for Penal Reform presented the below power point at the Act Party conference on the weekend. In my write up about his presentation, I was vague on some statistics so I am grateful to now be able to share with you all exactly what he showed us all. These are the facts about the link between illiteracy and criminality, the keys to reducing reoffending and some real life success stories.

In support of the kind of work that the Howard League does Act has released a new “carrot policy” to encourage criminals to upskill. Act call it “rewarding self-improvement.”  The policy would not apply to the worst violent or sexual offenders. Prisoners would be able to earn a reduction of their sentence by successfully completing literacy, numeracy and driver licencing courses.

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What Mike Williams and David Seymour have in common

Mike Williams the CEO of the Howard League for Penal Reform spoke at The Act Party conference yesterday. As an ex-president of the Labour party and also their past campaign manager of four elections, I didn’t expect him to share any common ground with a party like Act. After all one of Act’s flagship policies was the three strikes legislation which is all about the stick and deterrence.

Mike Williams or Fat Tony as Cam has always affectionately called him, made a strong case for the power of volunteering where the cost to the taxpayer is zero. More to the point he illustrated examples where the cost of removing barriers was insignificant compared to the savings to the taxpayer when an offender was removed from both the justice system and the benefits system.

The barriers he mentioned were:

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UPDATED: Crime and Justice: National, Act and NZ First policies under the microscope

As this is election year Whaleoil wants to look at the key policies of all the parties one by one. Recently we asked three questions about Immigration and the Refugee quota. Five parties responded and we used the remaining parties’ policy information on their websites to fill in the blanks.

This time we will compare the Crime and Justice policies of three potential coalition partners, National, Act and New Zealand First.

National Party

Track record:

  • Around 60,000 fewer crimes are being committed a year compared to five years ago.
  • Lowest crime rate since 1978.
  • Passed new laws against cyber bullying and is doing more to help support victims of crime.

Summary of key points:

National’s crime focus is on family violence.

They have announced sweeping changes to the system to better support victims and keep them safe.

This includes making it easier to get a protection order, maximising the opportunities of Police safety orders, and making property orders more effective.

They are taking action earlier to change perpetrator behaviour such as connecting perpetrators with the help they need to stop the abuse. They are also creating new offences for prosecuting violence.

We’re rolling out a new approach to better identify risk and recognise the patterns of family violence.

We need to do better to combat family violence. Our overhaul of our family violence laws is a critical, foundational step so that a new approach can be built.

National is working hard to play our part in breaking the cycle of violence within families and across generations.


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The Act Party on Immigration and New Zealand’s Refugee quota

I contacted National, Labour, Act, The Maori Party, NZ First, the Greens, the Opportunities Party, the Conservatives and United Future to ask them all three questions. The second party to respond to my questions was The Act Party. Below are my questions and their answers in full and un-edited.

Question:

The perception of many of our readers is that left-of-centre political parties prefer immigrants from low socio-economic countries who are highly dependent on the state and poorly educated because immigrants like that will naturally vote for the left-of-centre parties who allowed them in. Which immigrants get priority under Act’s policy and why?

Answer:

ACT has not released our immigration policy for the 2017 election. However, we believe in general that immigration is a good thing. The perception that immigrants sponge off the taxpayer is not true: A recent New Zealand Initiative report showed that immigrants contribute, on average, a net $2600 per year to government coffers, compared to the New Zealand-born average of $170.

Skilled immigrants ready to fill job vacancies would get priority, as would people who want to invest or start a business here. International students should also be prioritised as they generate revenue allowing universities to provide a better service to New Zealand students, and reduce the burden on taxpayers. Our big cities need an increase in construction activity to meet demand for new houses (and infrastructure), so there should be an allowance for those who are coming to work or invest in the construction sector (once red tape is removed from the planning and building system). Immigrant labour was critical to the Christchurch rebuild.

We would continue to welcome family reunification with the caveat that immigrants should not be eligible for superannuation after only 10 years living in the country, we will announce an extension to this period later in the year.

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How is Act’s flagship policy doing?

After being sent the Act Press release about the fifth Partnership schools’ application round I asked David Seymour’s office a few questions about their flagship policy and they responded on behalf of David in his capacity as Under-Secretary to the Minister of Education.

More students deserve opportunities beyond those offered by the state school system. That’s why for Round 5, we welcome two types of applications. Applications can have a STEM (science, technology, engineering, mathematics) focus, or a priority learner focus.

-Act Press release

The below questions and answers are reproduced in full and unedited.

Question:

The Partnership school policy was always promoted as providing improvement for “priority learners” and there is clear evidence of the need to do this for Maori, Pasifika and low-income families. At the moment there are only 10 Charter Schools currently operating so there is clearly still a long way to go before the issue of priority learners can be adequately addressed. Given there is still a long way to go why has there been an expansion to “STEM” and why do you think there is a need for it?

Answer:

The focus on STEM is an expansion of the policy rather than a replacement of focusing on priority learners.  Priority learners continue to remain a focus of the policy.  While New Zealand has a highly respected education system, international indicators show that New Zealand students’ performance in science and mathematics has room for improvement.  As with all Partnership Schools, enrolment at STEM schools will be open to all students, including priority learners.

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Winston reminds ACT they aren’t true to party principles

New Zealand First is calling on the MP, David Seymour, to ‘walk the talk’ when it comes to tobacco excise taxes given he voted with the government to increase them.

“Mr Seymour has been caught blowing his puppy whistle again,” says the New Zealand First Leader and Member of Parliament for Northland, Rt Hon Winston Peters.

“While Mr Seymour rails against the tobacco excise tax in public, designed to curry favour with the working man and women in the street, he voted with this National government to increase them. Read more »

Guest Post- “I might vote ACT but I can’t risk a wasted vote.”

Guest Post: Act Party Leader David Seymour.

“I might vote ACT but I can’t risk a wasted vote.” If I had a dollar for every time someone has written that on WhaleOil then I wouldn’t need to fundraise for ACT ever again. Of course, your vote is your own and of course you can cast it however you want for any reason you like – anything else would not be democracy. If you don’t want to vote for ACT because you don’t agree with ACT, that’s ok.

This is a post for people who are interested in giving their party vote for ACT but worry that doing so could hand a majority to the Labour/Green/NZ First schmozzle. That’s a fear I can appreciate, but won’t be a concern in 2017 for reasons I’ll put to you below.Wasted vote syndrome is a particular challenge for ACT because our potential voters tend to think a lot. Sometimes I wish we had the 95,000-odd Conservative voters who really did merrily waste their vote last election or the stunned New Zealand First voters who took to talkback furious to discover they hadn’t just elected Winston after the election before. On balance, I’d still rather be leading ACT.So: will a vote for ACT be wasted?

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Is David Seymour a friend of Israel?

After the National Party shafted Israel at the UN a number of us here on Whaleoil expressed our disgust. Some of us asked what other political parties we could give one or both of our votes to in order to show both our support for Israel and our condemnation of what the National Party has done. I decided to contact the leaders of Act, New Zealand First and the Maori Party as well as the Labour Party. I didn’t bother with the Green Party as their anti-Israel stance was made abundantly clear earlier this year. The Conservative Party currently lacks a leader so I had no one to contact.

screenshot-whaleoil

The first leader to respond to my request for comment was Labour leader, Andrew Little. The second leader to respond was Act Leader, David Seymour whose response was delayed by poor internet coverage. I am very impressed considering that most politicians are on holiday and unavailable to media yet both leaders took the time out to reply.Until yesterday the New Zealand mainstream media hadn’t even bothered to cover the story.Whaleoil is the only media outlet so far to ask the leaders if they and their parties are friends of Israel.

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Are you voting for the party that best represents your views?

I consider myself an Act supporter but was shocked by the results of the political quiz I took that revealed that the majority of policy positions that I support are not Act policies. In fact, Act was not even included in the 4 party possibilities given to me and NZ First came in second place. According to the quiz I side with the National Party on most political issues with NZ First a close second. Unless the quiz is seriously flawed and didn’t include all the New Zealand political parties, Act is either not as conservative as I thought it was or I am more liberal than I thought I was.

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David Seymour calls Labours bill against Charter Schools “Ground Hog day”

Last week the Labour Party brought yet another bill to the House to try to undermine New Zealand Charter schools (Partnership Schools .) Act Party leader David Seymour called the bill ” Ground Hog day,” referring to a film of that name where a man finds himself caught in a time loop and forced to relive the same day over and over again. Poor David had to defend Partnership schools from yet another attack bill from the Labour Party who appear to be forced to do the biddings of their Union masters over and over and over again. As with previous attempts, Labour’s attack was neutralised. Act, National, United Future and the Maori Party voted against it and it was defeated 63-57.

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