ACT's The Letter - 22 November 2004

Published: Mon 22 Nov 2004 01:52 PM
The Letter
22 November 2004
On Saturday Barfoot and Thompson's West Auckland auctioneer sold every property she auctioned. Since the Reserve Bank started increasing interest rates many properties have been failing to meet the reserve.
Successful auctions could indicate more realistic seller expectations but more likely it's a sign the property market is headed upwards again. It is not hard to find the reason, immigration. More people are arriving in Auckland than leaving. Immigration has more impact on Auckland than interest rates.
The Reserve Bank governor may regret indicating that interest rate rises are over for the year. This has been interpreted as meaning no more rises. The mortgage wars between the banks have taken away the effect of the last rise. However, it was uncertainty about where interest rates were going that halted the property boom. Rising property prices have a wealth effect. Property owners feel richer. This together with the high dollar indicates a strong Christmas for retailers.
ACT MPs' morale has been lifted by Donna's expulsion from parliament and the election of Kenneth Wang. ACT's chances of making the crucial 5% threshold have improved. Kenneth is NZ's first Chinese male MP. According to a Herald pre-election DigiPoll ACT had 38.5% support among Chinese voters. The Letter understands that approximately 3% of NZ voters are Chinese. A similar vote next election would return ACT to parliament.
Kenneth personifies ACT's voting base. He founded his own small business and knows what it is like to have to pay wages each week, He has experienced weeks where after paying the wages there is nothing for him.
Very few MPs have ever paid the wages of another Kiwi from their own money. Small businesses are ACT's core constituency. Kenneth boosts ACT in other ways, not least money. NZ MPs are outrageously funded. The Leader's fund increases by $120,000. Kenneth is entitled to a secretary and office in Wellington, an electorate agent, to fly around the country, free telephone calls and a $30,000 electorate allowance. The party is asking its lawyers whether it is possible to recover the money Donna spent in the last year.
The Green Party, who had huge expectations last election, were devastated when their expectations were not met and ACT received more votes. Rod Donald, who is materialistic even for a Green MP, had set his sights on having one of the desirable aisle seats in the house. One effect of the number of MPs being increased to 120 is that the seats are squashed together and you need a body like Twiggy to reach the internal ones.
The internal cross bench seats have a poor line of sight to the Speaker and your neighbours are New Zealand First. After the last election Donald tried to get the Speaker to allocate the gangway seats to the Greens. He was told ACT had first choice in seating. After Donna was declared independent, Donald immediately petitioned the Speaker for and received ACT's seating.
The Greens got to speak ahead of ACT in debates. As no Green MP is an orator the gallery exits leaving ACT to speak to an empty parliament. Donald has been issuing press statements at every stage supporting Donna. The Speaker, who does not approve of Donald's hypocrisy, made a point of saying when he gazetted Mrs Huata's departure that he was restoring to ACT its seating and precedence. It will give pleasure to every ACT MP to see Donald having to squeeze in his growing frame in order to reach the internal seats.
Our media are too politically correct to ask, "Why have so many Maori leaders shown such conspicuous greed?" No one doubts Donna's talent. Her five-minute reading programme to enable parents to teach their children to read is brilliant. Sadly the money was spent on tickets, travel and accommodation to see the Mercedes fashion show in Sydney.
John Tamihere, who also has ability, thought the Waipareira Trust should sell assets in order to give him gross $315,000. No trust in NZ has ever given a retiring director that much money. We know of no example in the private sector of a firm paying a golden handshake to a CEO who was not retiring. Both MPs have openly lived a life style that is beyond an MP's salary.
Donna explained her cars (Mercedes and Audi), private schools, and fashion by claiming that the orchard was doing well. We do not know how Tamihere explained his clothes, life style block and new 4WD drive car. We now know that both MPs received their money from trusts that got the money from the taxpayer. Maori MPs have frequently commented that they drive better cars than the ACT MPs.
In this banter, the ACT MPs always say, "it is because we pay for our own cars". Never was a truer word spoken in jest. Clearly the Maori MPs believe their constituents expect it.
The Letter recently attended the Destiny church and saw the "S" class Mercedes waiting at the church door for the pastor. The concept that public office is an honour and involves some element of sacrifice is one of the values we got from Britain. It will be a shame if this government in its opposition to everything British adopts the notion that those in power have the right to plunder. ACT has at great cost sorted out its party. Will Labour do the same?
Prime TV turned up last week to get archive pictures of the ACT caucus. The cameraman mentioned he had been turned away from NZ First. Why? Winston was sun burnt.
Last week's question was should the tax thresholds be adjusted for inflation and 72% said yes. This week "Do you support a free trade agreement with China?" We will send the answer to trade minister Sutton.

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