INDEPENDENT NEWS

robson-on-politics 28 November

Published: Fri 28 Nov 2003 08:26 PM
robson-on-politics 28 November
Cannabis debate Wed 3 Dec, 7.30pm
Wellington's turn next week as Jim Anderton tells Nandor Tanczos why he is so very wrong, at the Johnsonville Community Centre. See you there. I say modestly I did well in the crowded Otahuhu Town Hall last night. Nandor asked twice for a vote, and twice I won by a 2-1 margin. Of course it's not a vote in a hall that counts but it's doing the right thing for our children. The Progressive message on cannabis is the right one.
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Four weeks leave back from select committee
Both the Holidays Bill - now with four weeks leave from 1 April 2007 - and my own members' bill have been reported back from Select Committee. That has been a great triumph for the Progressives. Thirteen months since the ballot. Over 10,000 postcards of support. Enormous pressure on Labour MPs from progressive, labour and Labour movements.
Just 1,220 sleeps until four weeks leave happens as Labour proposes. I will keep encouraging people to put pressure on Labour MPs for my amendment of an earlier date of 1 April 2005 - 730 sleeps sooner for families.
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The case of Mr. Ahmed Zaoui
Anyone answering a serious accusation expects to know: what the allegations are; and that those in judgement will be fair-minded and deliberate with an open mind.
Now imagine the concern caused to Ahmed Zaoui, and fair-minded New Zealanders who expect natural justice for all, when they read Gordon Campbell's Listener article on Inspector-General Laurie Greig. He is judging whether Mr Zaoui is a threat to national security. Although Mr Zaoui will not be given a single detail of what he is supposed to have done, Mr Greig is quite content that the evidence of the SIS which condemns him will largely be based on hearsay. Secondly, he cheerfully admits that he doesn't think much of refugees coming to New Zealand and that if the decision was his alone "it would be 'outski' on the next plane."
Hopefully my Labour colleagues will take note of my last open letter where I suggest that to end the embarrassment of this case, Mr Zaoui should be released from detention so that he can properly mount his defence case with his lawyers. He should be provided with a meaningful summary of the SIS allegations. Then a sensible law change. My open letters are at www.progressive.org.nz See also www.freezaoui.org.nz
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The benefit of the rule of law
Mr Zaoui's case is important not just for him. The rule of law cannot apply selectively. The law either protects everyone or it protects no-one. So if we are to sleep safe at night, so too must he have the protection of the law.
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AA+ from Standard, abuse from Timbermen
The National Bank reports that every region expanded in the September quarter. International ratings agency S gave the progressive coalition government an AA+ for performance. But the Timber Industry Association launched something akin to a party political broadcast in which it irrationally accused us of being "anti-business".
Because the Progressives are pro jobs and because we believe that having one of the lowest unemployment rates in the world still isn't good enough, we are of course pro business development and that is what our four years in government actually show.
We're in a government that is very interested in listening to creative ideas and new solutions to add value and create more jobs. The sawmillers, like all parts of the diverse forestry sector, will be invited to meet with Progressive leader Jim Anderton in Wellington to touch base to ensure they remained committed to accelerating the industry's development towards high valued-added products and markets. We're serious about adding value.
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So much I could write about: opening the 300-strong Tongan Development Fono in Mangere this morning; my regular slot on Radio 531PI on the select committee inquiry on Tonga, and telling the Press Gallery the Sri Lankan would be better than Don McKinnon as Commonwealth Secretary-General, and more.
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