Judges get it right on third strike

“Victims of sexual and violent crime have won a victory following the 12 year sentence handed to a repeat sex offender under ACT’s three strikes law,” says ACT Leader David Seymour.

“After two other second-strike cases were exempted from the legislation under the ‘manifestly unjust’ provision, it’s pleasing to see a judge make full use of the law, targeting one of the most heinous crimes possible.”

The offender was convicted for two indecent assaults on elderly women, which both took place during parole for an earlier ‘first strike’ offence.

“This exemplifies the importance of the no-parole condition for second and third strikes. If he ever commits the crime again, he will be guaranteed a 20-year sentence without parole.

“Three strikes removes serial offenders from society and firm penalties discourage potential offenders. This sends a message.”

Reference: http://www.stuff.co.nz/national/crime/67561820/Man-jailed-for-sexually-assaulting-elderly-Hawkes-Bay-women

National looks after everyone but taxpayers

“National is parading its indexation of welfare payments while refusing to do the same with tax brackets,” says ACT Leader David Seymour.

“Benefits were adjusted for inflation today. What about the workers? Tax brackets should be adjusted too.

“This fiscal year, a person on the average income will pay another $378 in tax as inflation pushes them into higher brackets, even if they have no increase in real spending power. They have already paid an extra $649 since 2010.

“The average household has already paid an extra $1036 since 2010, and will pay $431 more this year.

Taxpayers are today being asked to fund:

· Government grants for first home buyers of up to $20,000;
· A two-week extension to paid parental leave;
· NZ Superannuation increases, heralded as growing at twice the rate of inflation since 2008.

“If the government wants to fund this by increasing taxes, it should do so openly and honestly, not through stealth taxation."

Another burden off students’ backs

Four years after ACT’s private members bill to free students from compulsory unionism became law, students may be relieved of another burden, according to David Cunliffe.

In a statement today, Mr Cunliffe speculated that NZUSA may collapse, a possibility welcomed by ACT Leader David Seymour.

“The decline of student unionism proves what we’ve always suspected: students never wanted to join unions and now it seems the unions themselves don’t want to join NZUSA,” said Mr Seymour.

“Thanks to ACT’s Voluntary Student Membership (VSM) bill, tertiary students are no longer forced to fund breeding grounds for aspiring socialist politicians.

“Even students think university politics is tedious. Most want to get on with gaining their qualifications.

“The union has typically lobbied as though students never graduate. They consistently argue for subsidies and price controls that will lower the quality of education while whacking taxpaying graduates. This is likely because many student politicians themselves never graduate.

“If Labour really wants support on campus, they could campaign on making unions repay the countless millions of dollars in union fees compulsorily taken from students before ACT passed VSM.”


Mr Seymour's position was also reported in the National Business Review:

Both Mr Cunliffe and [NZUSA President] Mr McCourt agree the Voluntary Student Membership Bill passed in 2011 (put forward by ACT), has had a major negative impact on student unions across the country.

Mr Cunliffe says the act left student organisations with no minimum funding and although many are well set up, they are underfunded by their universities.

Mr McCourt says the act's aim was always to destroy the national student voice and shows that ACT doesn’t like the fact NZUSA speaks up for student issues.But ACT leader David Seymour says Mr McCourt is incredibly arrogant to assume the only people speaking for students were NZUSA, which made it compulsory for people to join.

“The fact that people were forced to join the student unions undermines their credibility.”

Mr Seymour even went as far as describing the collapse of NZUSA as “the impending liberation of another layer of burden off the backs of New Zealand’s hardworking and oppressed students by tedious and tiresome student politicians.”

Mr Seymour says the fact that student unions are struggling so much answers the question about their effectiveness.

“As it turns out, students do not regard student unions as good value and very few voluntarily choose to join if they have a choice about the cost.”

Time to end stealth tax increases

ACT Leader David Seymour has today called for an end to the stealth increase of tax rates through bracket creep.

“Each year, inflation pushes a larger proportion of New Zealanders’ incomes into higher tax brackets, regardless of whether they’ve had an increase in real earnings,” said Mr Seymour.

“Tax brackets should be adjusted for inflation.

“Even with low inflation this stealth tax of ‘bracket creep’ means that the average household is $1036 worse off since the tax changes of October 2010. An individual taxpayer on the average income is $648 worse off.

Mr Seymour’s focus on bracket creep comes after the Minister of Finance stated low inflation ‘makes it more challenging for the Government because higher inflation pushes up the tax base and enables us to collect more tax in a growing economy’.

“If the government wants to increase taxes, it should do so openly. This is a basic principle of transparency, and honesty in taxation.

“I propose tying tax brackets to the Consumer Price Index, meaning tax brackets would rise with inflation, stopping stealth tax increases and ensuring government revenue collection is open and transparent.

“The best time to act is now – current low inflation means a switch to inflation adjusted tax brackets would have relatively little effect on government forecasts.”

Time to cap rate rises in Northland and beyond

Massive rate increases will not happen anywhere under ACT, said Northland candidate Robin Grieve today.

Grieve was responding to the announcement by the Whangarei District Council that ratepayers could face increases of over 9% for one year and further ongoing increases of 2% above inflation, as reported in the Northern Advocate

"These increases are outrageous. The power to levy rates is an extraordinary power we give to councils and it must not be abused," said Mr Grieve.

"The best way to protect ratepayers from rate abuse by councils is to fetter council powers. ACT campaigned at the last election on limiting the ability of councils to increase rates by more than the rate of inflation. As an MP, I would will introduce a private members bill to do that.

"This will place the same expansionary limits on council that all individuals and businesses live with.

"The Whangarei District Council has suggested the rate increase as one option, with reduced services another. The best option, which is to improve efficiency, was not considered by the Council.

"Efficient local governance will only be achieved by limiting the powers of councils to continually levy us with higher and higher rates."

Peters' promise to upgrade rail everywhere except Northland

An upgrade of the Northern rail link was conspiciously missing from Winston Peters' 2014 election promises, ACT Northland candidate Robin Grieve has revealed today. 

"In a speech last year announcing New Zealand First's transport policy, Mr Peters promised rail upgrades to regions and cities all over the country, but nothing for Northland," said Mr Grieve.

"He totally forgot us. The Napier to Gisborne line was to be reopened, the Auckland suburban rail line to be electrified, Wellington to be extended to Levin and Wairarapa, and Canterbury upgraded. 

"Northland was truly forgotten by him and New Zealand First. Now he wants our vote, we in Northland are suddenly important to him. Presumably the people of Napier to Gisborne are not important anymore. 

"The rail link will come at the expense of the Puhoi to Wellsford motorway. It would be a poor substitute to a modern motorway which will cut travel time to Auckland, reduce the cost of goods transported in to our region and increase the value of goods we sell. 

"It is vital that the motorway go ahead and that the MP that represents our region has a genuine interest in us, instead of being someone who has forgotten us for thirty years and then makes promises he can't meet."

Winston Peters' original speech can be read here: http://nzfirst.org.nz/speech/new-zealand-firsts-transport-policy

Winston Peters powerless, allegations ludicrous

Winston Peters would be powerless as Northland MP
"Winston Peters is either lying or dreaming when he makes promises of rail upgrades and extensions," ACT Northland candidate Robin Grieve said today. 

Mr Peters is reported in the Northern Advocate as saying that the Northland MP he would have the numbers to deliver his promises. 

"If elected, Mr Peters' ability to deliver policy won't change. He will be able to do no more for Northland as its MP than he can do now as NZ First Leader. The only beneficiary will be his party, which will receive an extra list MP – from the other end of the country. National would still have the numbers to govern with ACT and its other support partners. 

"Even if Mr Peters did have the power, his policies would not come without cost. Last year he called the Roads of National Significance programme 'bloated and expensive' and 'massively extravagant' – a programme that includes the planned Puhoi-Wellsford motorway extension that Northland needs so desperately. He promised to transfer $300 million away from this programme to fund his rail bribe."

Allegations against ACT candidate are ludicrous
Allegations against ACT by independent Northland candidate Bruce Rogan were addressed as ludicrous by Robin Grieve today.

"It is disturbing that Mr Rogan has provided no corroborating evidence supporting the ludicrous allegation that ACT has been saying the people of Mangawhai cannot vote in the by-election," said Mr Grieve.

"We hope that this isn't an orchestrated attempt to attack ACT. Perhaps it is simply a miscommunication around the voting rights of Mr Peters, who is not able to vote for himself unless he changes his place of residence from St Mary's Bay, Auckland, to Northland.

"Mr Rogan has already effectively endorsed Mr Peters. He is prepared to sacrifice the future of Mangawhai by supporting a candidate who opposes the Puhoi to Wellsford motorway. 

"Mangawhai will boom and their rates issues will be resolved when that motorway is complete – unless, of course, Mr Peters wins the Northland by election."

Too important to stay home

Stopping Winston Peters is too important for Northland voters to stay home, says ACT Northland candidate Robin Grieve.
"If Northland voters care about roads, getting tough on burglary and stock rustling, opening up mineral exploration and reforming the RMA, they must use their vote to say so," said Mr Grieve.

"At the Northland Field Days more than half of voters said they wouldn't vote. I doubt that only 19 per cent are undecided or not voting.

"For comparison, the vote in the Christchurch East by-election fell 48 per cent from the previous general election.

"Northland cannot afford such a turnout. Centre right voters come must out in numbers to defeat this political opportunist.

"Peters has been rejected in Hunua and Tauranga, and he's now bringing the the most opportunistic campaign in New Zealand history to Northland.

"The morning after the election, Northland needs long term interests attended to. This is something only National and ACT are able to actually do."

Grey Power: This is about your grandchildren

ACT Leader David Seymour is disappointed to read of Grey Power’s opposition to addressing the sustainability of NZ Super.

"In a press release, Grey Power president Terry King claimed that my call for a referendum process akin to the flag committee was ‘a cheap publicity stunt at the expense of retired people’," said Mr Seymour.

“Supporting a referendum on age isn’t about changing the system for current retirees. It’s about signposting a clear plan to ensure the system is sustainable as the population ages and people retire in the decades to come.

“While adjustment of the system is probably inevitable, it is important to have this discussion now so that we can avoid a sharp shock in future, and give younger generations the time to make plans around changes in legislation.

“This issue has long been a political football. It is too hot an issue for politicians to handle. My idea is to take it away from politicians of any particular party – including ACT.

“A referendum could help break the logjam of pension politics and allow the country to finally deal with a serious problem.

“I have a simple message for Grey Power: this is not about current retirees. This is about your grandchildren, and the New Zealand we leave behind for them.”

Attached is a longer newsletter from Mr Seymour on this subject.

Newsletter - Grey Power.pdf35.9 KB

A simple question for Mr Peters: Where do you live?

"Winston Peters has set a new record, being economical with the truth only hours into his campaign," claims Northland ACT candidate Robin Grieve.
Mr Peters is announcing he will stand in his home electorate. The electoral law is very clear about what makes a candidate's electorate a place of residence:
72 Rules for determining place of residence within New Zealand
(1) Subject to the provisions of this section, the place where a person resides within New Zealand at any material time or during any material period shall be determined for the purposes of this Act by reference to the facts of the case.
(2) For the purposes of this Act, a person can reside in one place only.
(3) A person resides at the place where that person chooses to make his or her home by reason of family or personal relations, or for other domestic or personal reasons.
"How will Mr Peters get out of this?" asks Grieve.
"Clause 1 tells us we must look at the facts, so:
"Will he deny clause 2 and tell the people of Northland that he can be in two places at once?
"Will he deny clause 3 and deny he makes his home in St Mary's Bay?
"Or will he apologise for having mislead the public within hours of his announcement?"