INDEPENDENT NEWS

Mapp Report: 2010 – The Year of Growth

Published: Fri 22 Jan 2010 04:37 PM
22 January 2010
2010 – the Year of Growth
Most people are back at work after a good summer break, ready for 2010.
I spent some of the time during the holiday at Great Barrier Island relaxing on the Hauraki Gulf, fishing, swimming and hiking. I also managed to fit in some flying and scuba-diving.
This week and last, I have been back in the office and in full operation.
National’s election campaign slogan was “Ambitious for New Zealand” and that remains the case. Although 2009 was a year of recession, 2010 will be a year of growth.
This year, the Government will be unveiling policies that will unlock New Zealand’s economic potential. There are six main areas that have been identified for improvement.
• The tax system will be focused on encouraging people to work hard, save, and invest in business.
The Tax Working Group report can be found at: http://www.victoria.ac.nz/sacl/cagtr/twg/Report.aspx
• Government activity will be focused on improvements in frontline services rather than backroom bureaucracy.
• Education will ensure that all New Zealanders have the skills they need to perform in productive, well-paid jobs.
• Infrastructure will be upgraded to ensure that people are able to do their jobs as efficiently as possible.
• Cumbersome regulation and red tape will be removed so that businesses are able to expand and take on new workers.
• Strong connections will be forged between business and science. We have always been a nation of ideas. The challenge now will be to put those ideas to work.
CRACKING DOWN ON CRIME
This week we announced the three strikes policy which was part of our coalition agreement with ACT and United Future.
This law is part of a range of initiatives to reduce crime. The new sentencing regime will target the small number of repeat violent offenders who show continued disregard for the law and contempt for society.
Once convicted of three serious offences a judge will now be required to impose the maximum sentence for the third, without parole.
This will apply to 36 of the most serious offences including murder, manslaughter, rape, sexual violation and aggravated robbery.
The first offence will bring a conventional sentence and warning. The second offence will, in most cases, bring a jail sentence with no parole and a further warning. On conviction for a third offence, the offender will receive the maximum sentence in jail for that crime, also with no parole.
The only exception will be where a court decides a sentence would be manifestly unjust. If the court believes it would be unjust not to allow for parole, then it can make an order for the availability of parole.
The three strikes will only apply to serious-crime offenders aged 18 and over. It will not be retrospective – it will only apply to offences committed after the law comes into force.
During our first year in Government we introduced a number of measures designed to protect law-abiding Kiwis and reduce crime.
All New Zealanders have the right to feel safe in their homes and in their communities. In 1999, 92% of New Zealanders voted for tougher sentences. The National-led Government is determined to make communities safer, reduce the number of crime victims, and make life tougher for violent criminals. This new law is yet another step towards that goal.
OUT AND ABOUT
On Monday I attended the wreath laying by Prince William in honour of our fallen at the National War Memorial in Wellington. Afterwards Denese and I went to the opening of the new Supreme Court building.
The architecture of the building is certainly bold especially with the new Court contained within an orb, modelled on a Kauri Cone. The building makes a statement and I believe New Zealand, can do with more buildings with such a strong design focus.
Prince William carried out his duties on behalf of the Queen with dignity and respect. He sets a fine example for young people and his visit was appreciated by many people, with big attendances at the various events.
ENDS

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