ACT. Interesting Politicians, Lousy Cooks.

Love them or hate them, the ACT party are in government and are clearly having an impact of the lives of New Zealander’s.

Recently Roger Douglas (one time Labour Party Minister of Finance) said that ”

He’s entitled” . Entitled to take a holiday in England at the tax payers expense. What really rubs me the wrong way is that at the same time he is part of  National led Govt that has cut funding to adult education, has provided an insulting 1.9% increase to funding of early childhood education (still leaving it short of what is needed by many millions), to name but two.

Surely a government should be doing all it can to minimize the impact this recession is having on the workers of this country? To me that means not taking a hatchet to the number of public servants. It means buying some of the struggling businesses that employ so many  people. It means investing in New Zealand, not letting MP’s gallivant around the world (Spouses in tow) at the tax payers expense.

And while I’m on the topic of the ACT party I have been thinking about their tax policy. If you read through it you will see that they talk about a flat tax rate, saying that it will lead to a fairer ta system. If I may digress for a moment. At the last election their candidates up and down the country talked about the tax take as a cake. They talked about how the cake is only so big and that their plan is to grow that cake so that when it is divied up, more can be spent in each section.

My problem with their analogy is that if you follow their recipe (flat taxes = everyone paying the same rate) you will get a horrible cake. For this blog, each ingredient represents the taxes paid by people on different income levels.

If you have ever made a cake you will know that you add different amounts of each ingredient. You would add (for example) 2 cups of flour, and perhaps a teaspoon of baking powder. However, if you were to use the amounts as dictated by a flat tax you would wind up with much more baking powder than you need. Your cake would taste awful.Not only that, it would not cook because there would be too much liquid (because you would add more that the cup of milk that a real recipe calls for).

If we are all paying the same rates of tax, we are all adding the same amounts to the tax take. Personally I would prefer to see everyone pay according to their ability to pay. This means that those on higher incomes can spare that little bit more in tax. It means those on lower incomes can keep in their pockets a bit more of their hard earned wages. It is also worth pointing out that those in the lower socio-economic demographics are more likely to spend their incomes on New Zealand made products, are more likely to take holidays in New Zealand.  Any good economist will tell you that for an economy to grow and for people to keep their jobs (especially in a recession) you need people to spend money in New Zealand, not gallivant off overseas and spend money in another country. That does nothing for our economy except take money out of it.

To me, each according to their ability to pay is a much fairer way of doing things. Isn’t one of the things that makes New Zealand great the fact that we love to be fair on each other, to take care of each other? Or am I mistaken?

Say it your way competition

This competition was officially opened on the 17th February 2009.

Student loans, student debt and user pays are responsible for much of the inequality in New Zealand. Many New Zealanders have been unable to partake fully in society because of their student loan payments. Many New Zealanders have been unable to get together a deposit for a house because of student loans and user pays.

This is your opportunity to express your dissatisfaction with user pays and student loans. With loans at $10 Billion and rising there has never been a more crucial time than now to call for an end to the madness that is student loans and user pays.

Make a short film, write a short story, a poem, design a poster, write an essay, or something else. The choice is yours.

Just fill out the form below and send it in along with your entry form.

First prize: $150 Voucher of your choosing

Second Prize: $50 Voucher of your choosing

Third Prize: A copy of Kitchen Caucus, a collection of recipes including some from the MPs of the Labour/Alliance coalition of 1999 – 2002.

Entering the Competition

You can enter the competition by uploading your entry here or you can download the entry form here and enter by posting your entry to: PO Box 69026, Glendene, Auckland 0645, New Zealand

Better than a pointless tax cut for the rich

School funding crisis could be fixed by freeze on millionaire tax cuts The Alliance Party says school funding issues are putting public education at risk. Alliance education spokesperson Richard Mitchell says Prime Minister John Key could use his charitable impulses to good use and freeze the upcoming tax cuts to those on high incomes like himself. The fact that schools continue to struggle to pay their support staff should come as no surprise to the government, says Mr Mitchell. He says the priorities of a decent education system for all children outweighed the need for promoting lifestyles of the rich and famous. “School operational grants have been under funded for too long now. You only have to open your ears to the number of principals calling out for extra assistance as proof of this.” He says school principals have long been echoing the Alliance’s call for an increase in the operational grants. “It is high time the Minister of Education listened.” Mr Mitchell says that support staff should be paid centrally, not out of operational grants, as support staff can’t compete with the many funding demands of schools to get the recognition they deserve. “The fact that parents are finding it more difficult to make so-called donations to schools only further highlights the needs for schools to be properly funded by the State.” Excessive school costs should not be permitted, he says. “The increasing cost of living should be a clear sign that an immediate review of school funding is required to ensure all New Zealand children, not just the children of the well off, have access to top quality public education.” Mr Mitchell says if New Zealand is to have a free education system, funded by the collective citizens of New Zealand through taxation and not individual parents, then the Government must be prepared to invest the necessary funds, which will mean reducing tax cuts to those on high salaries like John Key. “I hold no faith that National Party is prepared to make this necessary commitment as they seem to have little interest in improving the lot of ordinary New Zealanders.”

The Dissolution of the Progressives

This sums up my opinion quite nicely:

Alliance Party Media Release: Jim Anderton announces de-facto wind-up of Progressive Party

For Immediate Release- November 19th, 2008

Canterbury Alliance Regional Chair, Quentin Findlay, said that Progressive Party Leader, Jim Anderton’s decision to be in a coalition with Labour in opposition, amounted to the de-facto ‘winding up’ of Jim Anderton’s Progressive Party.

“Jim Anderton has signalled that there really isn’t a difference between the two parties. In essence, Mr Anderton has announced the dissolution of the Progressive Party in all but name.”

Mr Findlay said it was one thing to work with the Labour Party over areas of common interest, but quite another to tie yourself completely to them.

“What this announcement demonstrates is that there are no real differences in terms of philosophy and/or policy between Labour and Jim Anderton. What he should simply do is join the Labour Party to achieve his aims.”

Mr Findlay said that Mr Anderton’s decision must come as a shock to those members of the Progressive Party who thought that while they might want to liaise with Labour, still wanted an independent line from their party.

“I would have thought that the Progressive Party would be developing new policies and direction while in opposition, therefore, building the Progressive Party into a viable political vehicle for the future after its leader had retired from politics”

Mr Findlay noted that those people who had left the Alliance with Mr Anderton were more than welcome to return and contribute to the building of an independent left party.

“Independent members of the Progressive Party agree with Alliance members on many of the more substantial policy areas. The difference is that the Alliance believes in ‘cooperation without compromise’ in terms of developing an independent left party,“ Mr Findlay says.


Quentin Findlay

Mobile: 021 326 443


The most recent issue of the Wellington Diocese Catholic newspaper, Wel-com, contains an interesting column written by Archbishop, John Dew. In it he discusses the up coming election and how people should look at the “total package” of a party before voting. In particular he talks about one Michael Fitzsimons who wrote in the October issue of the Tui Moto (Independent Catholic Magazine).

In this column Archbishop Dew asks “What is the vision of society that inspires our choice of leaders to govern the country for the next three years? Is it a vision that brings us just one small step closer to living according to the values of the Kingdom of God?”

Archbishop Dew wrote that the answer Michael offers looks like this;

“A manifesto that engages and benefits the whole community”

“Quality public education that empowers everyone to succeed”

“A health system for all, not just the privileged”

“A tax system that pays for it all”

“A resolve to act decisively on climate change”

“A commitment to restorative justice wherever possible”

“A determination to address entrenchment deprivation”

This is quite a list and one that should be considered when deciding who to vote for. So let us take a look at each of these points and compare them to the policies and platform that I am campaigning for through the Alliance.

1. “A manifesto that engages and benefits the whole community”

The Alliance actually has a manifesto that outlines all our policies. Few parties do these days. In it you can see how we have designed our policies to benefit everyone, not just those who fund our campaign but all of New Zealand.

“Quality public education that empowers everyone to succeed”

Only the Alliance is committed to a fully funded public education system that does not rely on donations from parents. We see schools fees as an extra financial burden on the parents of New Zealand. Parents should not have to worry about their chosen school needing extra funding. Parents should not get visits from debt collectors for not having paid their school fees.

The Alliance is committed to funding an education system with a maximum class size is 20. We see this as an important step in creating an education system where everyone (including the teachers) is empowered to succeed.

“A health system for all, not just the privileged”

The Alliance is dedicated to providing all New Zealanders with a healthcare system that is not only adequately funded and resourced but also free for all New Zealanders. We recognise that there are still people who struggle to find the money to pay for a visit to the doctor and/or pay the prescription costs, regardless of the fact that these cost have reduced in recent years. They may have reduced, but they are still a barrier to some. Only a free and resourced healthcare system can provide access for all New Zealanders.

“A tax system that pays for it all”

Of the minor parties, the Alliance is the only party who costs out its programme. We can honestly say we know where the money will come from. The Alliance has always followed the idea that people should only pay “according to their ability to pay”. To us this means removing GST, making the first $10 000 tax-free and introducing a tax system where those earning less than the national average of $41 000 pay significantly less income tax. The tax burden is shifted to where it has to belong, on those earning significantly more than the average. Please check our tax tables. As one of my fellow Alliance members put it “If you can afford to misplace 50 000 Tranzrail shares, you can afford to pay a bit more to help run our schools and hospitals”.  We think that is a reasonable expectation.

“A resolve to act decisively on climate change”

Climate change is one the greatest threats to our natural environment. New Zealand should be a world leader in finding solutions for climate change. We aim for carbon neutrality by 2030. The fight against climate change cannot be successful without international solidarity. The Alliance is committed to acting on climate change. Check our policy document here.

“A commitment to restorative justice wherever possible”

When in government the Alliance led the call for restorative justice processes in our criminal justice system. Due to our presence in Government, New Zealand now has the concept of restorative justice included in the relevant statutes. However, the needs of victims of criminal activity are still a major issue. The Alliance continues to be committed to the ideas and principles of a restorative justice system and will continue to fight to have them implemented.

“A determination to address entrenchment deprivation”

I believe this means being determined to removed from the New Zealand economic system those elements that keep people living in poverty. I think it means actively working towards eliminating poverty. Alliance candidate (and author of our budget) Jim Flynn has stated numerous times that the Alliance programme can eliminate poverty. Our programme will set in place a system where those who need assistance can actually get worthwhile assistance in a meaningful time frame. Those who need healthcare get healthcare and are not referred on to a private provider. Students who are struggling will get the assistance they need sooner rather than later. People will be able to afford to buy sufficient, quality, locally produced food for their families.

So as you can see, when you compare our platform against the criteria laid out by Michael Fitzsimons we actually stack up quite nicely. Please consider the Alliance when voting.

The Week That Was

A brief account of what I’ve been up to his week.

Thought I would quickly run down the weeks events here in the lower North Island, at least my events for the last few days anyway. I’ll work backwards just because I can.

Lastnight I attended an NZEI meeting in Carterton with Amy. I spoke as the education spokesperson. I think it went well for us given that nearly everyone in the small (40ish) crowd had at one time or another, worked with her father (he’s a primary teacher). THe ACT guy talked at length about the need to invest more in education but not once did he say “Voucher”. I think he was pandering to the crowd. The National candidate (current sitting MP John Hayes) continued in his apparent continual bad mood. There seems to be a lot of petty sniping in the Wairarapa which appears missing in Wellington Central. I helped the Green Candidate with his policy as he didn’t know the answer for a question, so I told him what their position was.

Wednesday morning started in Wellington where I drove around the hutt valley putting up the last of my signs. Finally the are all up, Yay!

I started Tuesday by getting stuck in Wellington traffic and arriving late for my short radio interview with the alternative station “radio active”. they were good. The host had recieved a pamphlet and commented on our policies. he gave me a good opportunity to put our case.

Then I was photographed by John. He is following the Wellington Central campaign with a view to having a photographic exhibition in March of next year. There will also be a book. He shows up at all the meetings and has taken photos of nearly everyone.

The afternoon of Tuesday was spent putting the signs in Wellington back up. I found a few in the trees. One sight looked like a bomb had hit it. All the signs were knocked down, billboards vandalised.I put our sign up. It was a lone sign in a sea of carnage.

Tuesday night was the meeting at St Anne at Ward. It went well. I spoke, answered a few questions. Al the independed arrived again and this time he spoke very well. He still said he was a drug addict and that he had been in jail for aggravated robbery. This time though he was far more efficent in his delivery. Thankfully he spoke after me as there is no way I could have followed him. He had the crowd laughing. Poor David Somerset, the Prog, he had to follow him. David did, though start and finish with poems. His finishing poem was about the United Future party and was quite good but I would not have siad such things in a church.   I did get the chance to talk about public funding of private schools so I got stuck in there, briefly.

Don Franks gave an excellent speech on why Jesus (we were in a church) would like the Worker’s Party.

Everyone else was much of a muchness. The chairperson was feeling sorry for us candidates in the back row so he asked the Kiwi party candidate about their housing policy, a question she couldn’t answer but Stephen Franks answered for her.  The only other point worth mentioning is that some sod from the Labour party asked the Kiwi party candidate a totally inappropriate question. The whole crowd turned on him and put him in his place which was good to see. While I don’t agree with her policies there was no need for that nonsense.


Monday saw me at two meetings.
One in Masterton, just an info meeting about rules etc.

One in Wellington in Wadestown. I arrived early and thought I would pamphlet the surrounding streets only to find that 99% of their letterboxes have “no junk mail” signs. I had decided early on that I wouldn’t put pamphlets in those letterboxes as a way of making our pamphlets go further. So well done Wadestown for being so environmentally conscious.

This meeting also went well. I tried my new speech about how living in poverty means living in fear and how the Alliance in needed to put an end to that. It seemed to work. This was the meeting where we first met both Al the independed and the Republican candidate. I’ve already spoken about Al. The republican was very nervous and spoke about their polices. I hope to see him at another meeting before the end of the campaign.

Again most of the questions were focused at the two main candidates. One woman asked Stephen Franks to explain a comment he had made a while ago about “Whinging Christians and something or other gays” He promptly turned on her saying that that was the 5th time the Labour party had bought that up at a meeting. He then had to apologise to her when he discovered that she had nothing to do with the Labour party and had heard soemthing about it and just wanted him to explain. He did feel a bit sheepish.

I did get a question about NCEA. Actually it was a question to who ever wanted to answer so I jumped in.

So that’s been my week.
Jocelyn and some supporters have been out pamphleting and Wellington has almost run out of pamphlets. I’m sending over some spares from Wairarapa.

Kelly and her team are getting stuck into pamphleting her areas. Keep up the good work guys.

So that’s been my week, how are yours going?
Remember to vote.