The proposal to pass amending legislation under urgency to amend the Psychoactive Substances Act 2013 a law that was passed less than nine months ago proves the Government’s policy around recreational drugs is in disarray said John Banks, ACT MP for Epsom.
“I was the sole MP to oppose this flawed legislation. Now there is a stampede of MPs opposing it, said Mr Banks.
“I opposed it because I deeply believe that there is no need to use animals to establish whether these recreational drugs are toxic or cause cancer or genetic mutation.
“Using evidence from animal testing on beagle puppies or any other animal to establish the safety of non-therapeutic ‘fun drugs’ is morally objectionable.
“This concern remains.
“I am interested in seeing an amendment to this law that outlaws the use of evidence, gained from animal testing, to establish the safety of recreational drugs.
“I am advised that animal testing evidence is not needed and is not necessary to be reasonably certain about safety.
“Any residual safety issues for recreational drugs should be handled by informed consumer consent and public health warnings and any public health consequences funded by excise taxes.
“I believe using any drug recreationally is, in most cases bad for health and unwise.
“However if New Zealanders want to use these new recreational drugs they should assume more of the responsibility for this behaviour without the use of animal testing by those who seek to sell these products,” said Mr Banks.
TV3’s revelation that Shane Taurima, TVNZ’s former manager of the Maori and Pacific Programmes unit, hosted a Labour Party meeting last year on the broadcaster’s property and involving other TVNZ staff, shows another good reason why TVNZ should be sold, said ACT MP John Banks.
“This issue is not Mr Taurima’s politics. It is the fact that he and some of his staff wrongly used taxpayer’s property to further his political objectives” said Mr Banks.
“The easiest fix is for the taxpayer to get out of the television business. TVNZ should be sold.
“There is no reason for the State to be in the risky television business. We should sell now because TVNZ will soon be worthless as a result of technology changes.
“In private media if a journalist pursues a political agenda using company resources that is solely a matter for the management, shareholders and advertisers.
“If TVNZ were in private ownership no one would care about Mr Taurima’s Labour Party activities on the premises” said Mr Banks.
ACT Leader John Banks welcomed today’s announcement of an independent taskforce to tackle red tape in education.
“This taskforce is provided for in ACT’s Confidence and Supply Agreement with National. I am grateful to Hekia Parata for her support for a taskforce that can actually make a difference.” Mr Banks said.
“School leaders have said to me that they spend too much time on compliance. If they could spend less time on red tape they can spend more time on their students. ACT is keen to help.
“The Chair, Murray Jack leads an outstanding group of New Zealanders. They are some of our best thinkers on regulation, governance, and education.
“As Member of Parliament for Epsom, I am pleased that Tim O’Connor the Headmaster of Auckland Grammar has agreed to serve.
“This team has the potential to make life easier for other educational leaders and that is good for students.
“I am committed to seeing five out of five of our students succeeding. This taskforce can help achieve that objective.” Mr Banks said.
ACT Leader John Banks panned today’s announcement that the Government will spend $359 million over four years by adding four new titles for educators.
“The collective bargaining system in the education sector prevents good teachers being paid more than non performing teachers” Mr Banks said.
“That is what the Ministry of Education and the unions have together created. All this announcement does, is do the end run around that.
“Teachers pay is worked out like the pay for the workers in a Soviet car factory.
“The announcement today treats the symptoms of that problem created not the cause.
“It is more Ministry of Education bureaucracy that adds to the complexity and inflexibility of the factory production pay system.
“If a principal is a chief executive of their school why not simply give them the flexibility to determine the salaries with their teachers? That is what every other chief executive does.
We won’t develop real educational leadership unless school leaders are empowered to make these decisions not the bureaucracy in Wellington” Mr Banks said.
Recommendations by the Human Rights Commission for a cross-party accord, a national housing plan and guidelines for rent control measures in the aftermath of a disaster have been rejected by ACT Leader John Banks.
“Christchurch people tell me that they are impatient with slow moving bureaucracy. They want less of it not more, he said.
“While this 184 page report cites the Productivity Commission report on housing affordability, it misses the central lesion of that report: land use controls by local government are driving up the prices of homes by rationing the land.
“I actually think the Productivity Commission pulled its punches. The Resource Management Act is failing New Zealand as planning law.
“The Human Rights Commission completely misses the point that the RMA is making homes unaffordable; the RMA is destroying jobs and economic growth. It does not adequately recognise or protect property rights.
“If we want more and better homes we need to be a wealthier country where people can get ahead under their own steam. The RMA is stopping that.
“The do-gooder Human Rights Commission report suggests that more government planning would solve the problem that current planning creates.
“I think the Human Rights Commission’s rights based analysis of the housing affordability issue is unhelpful. We can’t make a rule that makes housing affordable.
“The housing affordability crisis is an issue of supply and demand. That’s basic economics.
“It will not be fixed by more planning, more rules, rent controls, changing tenure in residential tenancies or political party accords” Mr Banks said.
The High Court Decision
As I have said, anybody who knows me would not believe that I would knowingly file a false electoral return.
My focus and energy must be on serving the people of the Epsom electorate and working through the legal process to clear my name.
I will not be saying anything more about the case as the matter is before the Court.
The ACT Party
As leader of the ACT Party it is my duty to consider the best interests of my Party as we move into election year.
I am simply not able to dedicate all my energy and ability on returning ACT to Parliament in bigger numbers next year while fighting to clear my name.
I have therefore concluded that the interests of the ACT Party are best served by indicating today that I will not be seeking my Party’s nomination as the candidate for Epsom in 2014.
This allows ACT to select a new candidate to put before the people of Epsom for the next election. That candidate will have the maximum opportunity to apply their energy and ability on earning the confidence of the people of Epsom.
I will continue to serve as ACT Party Leader until our Annual Conference in early March where I will stand down.
This allows the ACT Party to look to a new Leader to take it into the election campaign next year. That Leader can focus on building a great team to put in front of New Zealanders and earn Party votes for ACT.
As I have said, until the election, I will continue to serve the Epsom electorate as the local MP to the best of my ability.
This announcement today does not affect the commitments made between National and ACT in our confidence and supply agreement.
The next election will be close.
Like last time, ACT and Epsom can make the difference.
I believe in a country where everybody has the freedom to achieve.
Whether New Zealand can be a more open, prosperous, and enterprising nation, with our focus firmly on the future, will depend in part on ACT succeeding.
I believe the decisions announced today help move us towards that success.
“I welcome Minister of Education Hon Hekia Parata’s announcement of the second application round for Partnership Schools | Kura Hourua to open day one, term one, in 2015” ACT Leader John Banks said today.
“Partnership Schools are here to stay. They will be a permanent part of our education system.
“I don’t believe any future Government will abandon New Zealand’s world leading model, Mr Banks said.
“What Partnership Schools do is give educators greater flexibility in return of greater accountability for getting better results for some of New Zealand’s most vulnerable students.
“What is not to like in that?
“These learners deserve to be a productive part of New Zealand’s future. I want them to know that we value them and their potential.
“They deserve the opportunity of a world class education. Partnership Schools help make that opportunity real for more of our young.
“I want parents to know that Partnership Schools offer them a greater choice to find the school best suited to the needs of their child.
“I am also confident that just as the first five partnership schools are attracting interest from dedicated, committed educators, the next five will too.
“To the PPTA and NZEI unions I say get over it and get on board if you really value education and talented educators,” Mr Banks said.
“National’s plan to subsidise the sale of state houses to first home buyers in provincial areas will do nothing to tackle the housing affordability crisis which is occurring in our biggest cities, ACT Leader John Banks said today.
Housing Minister Nick Smith today unveiled a plan which would see around 400 state houses located in provincial areas sold to first home buyers. The buyers could receive a direct subsidy of up to $20,000 to purchase the homes.
“Vacant state houses should be sold outright, with no subsidy, Mr Banks said.
“It is a very poor use of tax payers’ money to subsidise first home buyers in areas where the housing affordability crisis is the least pronounced.
“People struggling to buy a modest home in Auckland or Christchurch will feel aggrieved that those in much more affordable areas are being given a hand out by the Government.
“In addition, a plan that only focuses on the state house sector fails to tackle the issue of rising house prices in our biggest cities.
“The majority of people live in owner occupied housing or private rentals. That is the sector of the market that needs to be tackled.
“ACT’s Freedom to Build policy would significantly increase the supply of land in areas like Auckland, so developers can start responding to the high demand and build more houses.
“A core part of this policy is to significantly reform the RMA so that people can more easily subdivide their land and build on it.
“We should not be giving tax payer subsidies for people to buy their first homes in relatively affordable areas. We should be removing the current restrictions that are stopping enough new homes be being built”, Mr Banks said.
“国家党出售公房给首次购房者并给予补贴的政策对解决大城市住房负担危机起不到任何作用。” 行动党领袖 John Banks 今天说。
房屋部长 Nick Smith 今天宣布推出一项新计划， 该计划预期将分布在各省级区域的400套公房出售给首次购房者。 购房者将得到最多 $20,000 的直接购房补贴。
“闲置的公房应该没有补贴而直接出售。” Banks 先生说。
行动党的“开放建设限制 （Freedom to Build)”政策将显著增加奥克兰等地的土地供应，开发商将响应高住房需求，建设更多房屋。
我们不应让纳税人给那些房价相对较低地区的首套购房者补贴。 我们应该做的是移除现有的限制足够新房兴建的政策。” Banks 先生说。