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Free Press - 29/08/2016

Muldoon Lives!
On the weekend New Zealand First challenged the Prime Minister to dictate which branches Westpac could and couldn’t close, because Westpac is the Government’s banker.  The taxpayer would effectively be subsidising Westpac to keep some branches open for political reasons.

Let’s not set back taxpayers’ rights by 327 years

Michael Woodhouse’s move to bypass parliamentary approval of tax changes via Orders of Council would take taxpayers’ rights back 327 years, says ACT Leader David Seymour. The move was first noticed by the Taxpayers’ Union last week.

“The Bill of Rights 1689, a mainstay of New Zealand law, is clear: no taxes should be levied without the authority of Parliament," says Mr Seymour. "So why is Michael Woodhouse breaking 327 years of precedent? And why didn’t he propose the change earlier, when it could have been debated in the Taxation Bill’s first reading?

Free Press - 22/08/2016

David vs. Jacinda
In this week’s Sunday Star Times column, David Seymour argues that student loan interest write-offs have been bad policy and Jacinda as usual attacks the messenger.  Read the full column here.

Only ACT supports a serious conversation with millennials

National’s defence of the failed interest-free student loan scheme leaves only ACT prepared to discuss the policy.

“Today’s New Zealand Initiative report confirms what ACT has believed all along," says ACT Leader David Seymour.  "The 2005 decision to remove all interest from student loans was a cynical bribe that has not made access more equal or millennials better off.

Government is in dreamland over P-licence safety

The Government is in dreamland if it thinks the outdated P-licencing system is safer than GPS-tracked, consumer-rated rideshare services, says ACT Leader David Seymour.

“Simon Bridges’ confession that P-licenced drivers are operating with drink driving or dangerous driving convictions contradicts his defence of P-licencing as an assurance of safety.

“Meanwhile, he’s threatening to ban services which ensure safety through real-time GPS tracking and two-way evaluation. The Government’s attitude toward taxi safety has been leapfrogged by technology.

Free Press - 15/08/2016

Growing Shoots
The number one determinant of educational success is school leadership and teacher quality, and New Zealand has one of the most unequal education systems in the world.  Thankfully this Government, with ACT’s pressure and support is opening up new ways of getting good educators in front of children.

Fourth Partnership Schools application round opens

David Seymour, Parliamentary Under-Secretary to the Minister of Education has welcomed the opening of the fourth round of applications to establish Partnership Schools | Kura Hourua (Partnership Schools).

This round, announced last month, will see successful applicants opening their school(s) in 2018.

Tracey Martin spreads misinformation

Tracey Martin is spreading misinformation about teacher qualification at Partnership Schools, says ACT Leader David Seymour.

“Tracey Martin has said that Partnership Schools can ‘put untrained and unqualified individuals into classrooms’,” says Mr Seymour.

“That is simply untrue.  Any Partnership School teachers that are not registered with the Education Council must have an exemption provided by the school showing their alternative qualifications, skills, and experience and demonstrating how these assets will lift achievement.

ACT applauds Teach First expansion

ACT Leader David Seymour has applauded the Government’s decision to push on with the Teach First policy.

“We need a wider range of pathways to ensure that talented individuals are put in front of Kiwi students. Teach First fulfils this need,” says Mr Seymour.

“We know that teacher quality is one of the most important determinants to ensure student success, so targeting top graduates is a no-brainer.

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