Posts Tagged ‘Elections’

Open Letter to the Prime Minister of New Zealand

Wednesday, August 26th, 2009

Larry Baldock

Larry Baldock

The Kiwi Party
Press Release

Open Letter to the Prime Minister of New Zealand,

26 August, 2009

Dear Prime Minister,

As you are aware I have led and organised the recent Citizens Initiated Referendum on the amendment to section 59 of the Crimes Act that has given all New Zealanders a chance to voice their strongly held views on a controversial subject. This was only possible because of the support given by a marvellous group of volunteers who gave their time and resources freely.

An important part of that group, at least in the first months of the campaign, were many of your Caucus members who strongly opposed the Sue Bradford’s bill, and actively collected signatures for the petition to force the referendum.

Given this common history in the referendum, and the very strong result, it would seem reasonable then that I may have been invited by you to discuss some proposals to address the widespread concerns of the majority of this country’s citizens.

In contrast, I have learnt from news reports that, prior to the referendum results being announced you have been involved in discussions with those we discover now only represent just fewer than 12 percent of the Referendum vote, such as Sue Bradford and Deborah Morris-Travers. In fact it seems that advisors from the ‘Yes” vote coalition are literally crawling all over our ‘House of Representatives.’

I shall therefore endeavour to communicate my concerns through this open letter and hope you may grant me an opportunity for personal dialogue as well.

The final results show that 87.4 percent voted ‘No!’ This means more New Zealanders voted ‘No’ in this referendum than voted for the National party in the 2008 elections and that the turnout at 56 percent was higher than for the referendum on MMP in 1992.

Your views about the rights of parents and your disapproval of the way the Helen Clark-led government ignored the majority opposition to the Bradford law are well known and documented. This makes your current position very difficult to understand and impossible to justify or defend.

When you try to reassure concerned parents with your personal promises, it seems, from the outside at least, that you are falling prey to the attitude that your predecessor developed wherein she thought as Prime Minister her opinion mattered more than anyone else’s, and that it was within her power to take care of everyone.

With all due respect John, you will not be Prime Minister forever. If you leave the Bradford law on our statutes any future government will be able to change the police and CYFS policy guidelines by executive decree, without reference to the democratically elected House of Representatives. This would render your short-term proposals aimed at giving comfort to the good parents of New Zealand null and void.

Prime Minister, good parents do not want words of comfort they want legislative change!

Your continued claims that the ‘law is working well’ are not enhancing anyone’s view of your comprehension of what the law was supposed to do, and what it is in fact accomplishing.

As a parliamentarian you will know that the purpose of a bill is summed up in its ‘purpose clause’.
It is impossible to properly evaluate whether or not the law as enacted is working well, except by reference to the purpose clause of the Bill itself.

Sue Bradford’s purpose clause was “The purpose of this Act is to amend the principal Act to make better provision for children to live in a safe and secure environment free from violence by abolishing the use of parental force for the purpose of correction”.

Here in clause 4 of her Bill we have the purpose and the means of achieving that purpose, defined very clearly, namely to reduce violence towards children (child abuse) by abolishing the use of parental force for correction!

The continued abuse and sickening deaths of children since the Bill was passed is proof that it is not achieving that purpose. The awful abuse continues, and Sue Bradford herself readily admits, “My bill was never intended to solve this problem”. (National Radio Dec 2007)

So not only is the law not working, but also that lofty goal has long since been abandoned by its sponsor!

When you claim that no good parents are being criminalised I think you are referring to ‘prosecuted’.  The police records do indicate that the numbers of prosecutions are low at this point for smacking or minor acts of discipline offences, but the truth is that every parent that continues to use a smack for correction is automatically criminalised.

After all, wouldn’t we consider a thief a criminal once they stole possessions that were not their own, regardless of whether they were caught by the police and prosecuted? After being found guilty in court their status would then be changed to that of a convicted criminal.

The number of prosecutions by the police of good parents is therefore not evidence of whether the law is working or not.

The law has an effect on every good parent in this country even if a single prosecution has not been laid.

You may not have had to deal with the circumstances created when your child comes home from school to announce that they had been informed that they should report Mummy or Daddy to the teacher if they are smacked, but many have.

Your proposal to solve this dilemma appears to be that parents should wilfully break the law of the country, while disciplining their children for breaking the rules within the family home! This forces many parents into the awful position of a hypocritical ‘do as I say, not do as I do’ type parenting which should not be recommended by anyone, least of all the Prime Minister.

A useful test of the efficacy of the new law might be to determine how many more prosecutions the police are bringing before the courts against real child abusers. This is because supporters of the amendment to Sec 59 constantly claim that the police were hindered from prosecuting real child abusers because the previous Sec 59 defence of reasonable force meant they could easily be acquitted. They claimed that as a result the police were not even bothering to bring charges against these criminals.

This of course was not supported by a proper study of case law over the past 15 years, or the police statistics.

However, if this is the justification for the new law we should have seen a dramatic increase in the number of police prosecutions for crimes against our children, given that any use of force by parents for correction is now prohibited.

Police records and statements by Deputy Commissioner Rob Pope in the last police report on the new law saying that “its business as usual for the police” clearly confirms that the law is not working in that regard.

There is only one way in which it could be claimed the law is working, (though I cannot believe that this is what you mean), and that it is that progress is being made towards the total abolition of the use of parental force for the purpose of correction.

While prosecutions at this stage are low, the latest police report confirms that the police have issued a considerable number of warnings. What is the purpose of those warning Prime Minister? Does not a warning imply that the police have informed the traumatised family members that have just been subject to an investigation that they should not use force for the purpose of correction again, or else prosecution would likely follow. Surely that must be the case.

Because the purpose of the law is to ultimately stop parents from using any force for the purpose of correction!

All your promises and words of comfort are meaningless since the police are to be independent in enforcing the law in New Zealand. We have had enough of the police asking the PM whether they should prosecute or not with ‘paintergate’ and the failure to prosecute Heather Simpson over the illegal spending of taxpayer money in the 2005 elections.

New Zealanders are not stupid and they were not confused about the referendum question. They have understood from the very beginning what Sue Bradford and her supporter’s real intentions were. Surely you are not unaware of her motives, or have you now joined with her and the UN in their plan to run our country?
That plan was made clear in the Green party’s first press release back in 2003 when they announced they had drafted an ‘anti-smacking law’ to “stop parents physically punishing their children in line with UN demands.”

A recent survey confirmed a reduction in the number of parents using smacking for correction, which is not surprising given that it has been a criminal offence for the last two years. Unfortunately, such a decline has not resulted in a less violent society.

I guess this does reveal though, that the law is indeed working, but is that what you and the National party were committed to? Have you really become so aligned with Sue Bradford and the 12 percent minority of the country who view all discipline as violence, that you are pleased with this outcome?

If so, it must be said that your party has made a flip-flop in policy between May and June 2007, without consultation with your supporters, sufficient to make the 1984 Labour government look like angels of democracy!

Given that a recent Colmar Brunton poll showed that 90 percent of National Party voters were going to vote ‘no,’ and that the result from your own electorate was about the same, surely there are many of your loyal voters who would be shocked at the change in your views on parenting?

One of the things that made a positive impression on me, when I discussed with you how you would vote on the Prostitution Law Reform Act back in 2003, was that you said that when you were made aware of your electorates’ opposition to the proposed bill, you felt you were obligated to represent them and vote against the law.

Surely you have not abandoned your principles in just a few short years?

Prime Minister I have no personal interest in becoming your enemy, but I will speak up on behalf of 87.4 percent of Kiwis who voted ‘No’.

Many of these people feel they have lost all hope of being heard by politicians in their own country. As my wife and I criss-crossed the country many times over the 18 months in which we collected signatures to force the referendum, we encountered a great deal of despair and distrust towards parliamentarians. Having been one myself, this saddened me a great deal.

I know that most MPs generally work hard and try to do what they can to make New Zealand a better place.

However, we both know that most Kiwis do not evaluate their MPs on the basis of their daily activities but on events like this, when there is a clear choice to be made between listening to the wishes of the people or following ones own ideas or political agenda.

Given the current political landscape where both the Government and the ‘Queens Loyal Opposition’ MPs in this country are refusing to listen to the voice of the people and stand up for democracy, it is entirely possible that you may be able to disregard this referendum and survive politically for a few more years.

I am absolutely convinced however, that you will do almost irreparable harm to our democracy, and strike a deep wound in the hearts of so many of your countrymen and countrywomen.

I humble urge you to reconsider your current position,

Yours sincerely

Larry Baldock

Helen Clark still smiles

Monday, November 17th, 2008
Helen Clark still smiles The Kiwi Party
Press Release
November 18, 2008
While we can rejoice in the change of Government that has occurred in NZ we should all realise that defeated Prime Minister Helen Clark will still be wearing a big smile after reading the supply and confidence agreements signed yesterday by ACT, UF and the Maori Party.

Why? Because none of them contain any initiatives to reverse and dismantle the consequences of her Governments family deconstruction policies over the last nine years. Many commentators have acknowledged that the anti-smacking law passed by 113 MPs in the last Parliament was the piece of legislation that led to the downfall of Helen Clark and the Labour Government. The subject arose time and again during the campaign yet none of the support parties have given any assurance to the citizens of this country that the referendum to be held on Aug 21st on the question, “Should a smack as part of good parental correction be a criminal offence?” will be respected.

It is particularly disappointing that Rodney Hide and the ACT Party ,who campaigned widely on their commitment to repeal the anti-smacking law, have not secured a commitment from John Key for the result of the referendum to be binding. Prostitution law reform, same sex marriage, (Civil Unions) abortion on demand and the criminalising of good parents for smacking their children are issues that none of the partners to the new Government seem prepared to use their influence to address.

Underage girls will still be able to be taken from school to the nearest abortion clinic without parental notification or consent. The lowering of the drinking age which has been widely acknowledged to have been a mistake goes unmentioned, as does the awful problems of drug and alcohol addiction and abuse, and the lack of detox and rehabilitation facilities needed to treat those with these problems.

There is no mention of policies to address our high rates of family breakdown, family violence and child abuse that are at the very core of our social problems, and nothing to promote a stronger and healthier marriage culture in this country without which we will never see a reduction in fatherless young criminals appearing before our youth court.

The Kiwi traditional common law rights to hunt and fish to put food on the family table will continue to be threatened with no mention in any agreement of support for the Kahawai Legal Challenge. Recreational fishers still face their battle with the Ministry of Fisheries over the depletion of the fish stock in the inshore-shared fishery.

It also looks like the Department of Conservation, Animal Health Board and Regional Councils will be able continue their insane campaign of dropping 1080 poison that will one day ruin our clean green image and potentially affect our primary exports.

Helen Clark ‘s new society looks set to remain intact. New Zealand will never be the same again; at least not if it is left up to National and it’s allies ACT, UF and the Maori Party to reverse these things in the next three years.

Persecution of Parents To Be Investigated by National

Tuesday, November 4th, 2008


5 November 2008

Persecution of Parents To Be Investigated by National

Family First NZ is welcoming comments by senior National MP Judith Collins that if elected, National will check whether the anti-smacking law has resulted in needless prosecutions and persecution of parents.

“We have stacks of evidence and testimony that good families have been targeted by this flawed law and that it has failed to deal with actual child abuse,” says Bob McCoskrie, National Director of Family First NZ. “Families have been referred to CYF by schools, neighbours, members of the public, their children, and even their children’s friends for non-abusive smacking. And some families have also undergone police investigation.”

“This has caused huge stress and anxiety to families who are simply trying to raise good law-abiding kids in an appropriate way.”

“All the records show that police and CYF notifications have sky-rocketed yet there has been no corresponding increase in actual child abuse being discovered or prevented.”

“For people like Sue Bradford and Helen Clark to try and argue that it is not an anti-smacking law is to deny the reality of how it is being treated by the authorities, and what their intention was from day one.”

Family First NZ has already sent a large file of cases to National leader John Key highlighting good families being persecuted and prosecuted as a result of the flawed law, and will continue to collate evidence of the harmful effects of this law.


For More Information and Media Interviews, contact Family First:

Bob McCoskrie – National Director

Mob. 027 55 555 42

Stick that could yet beat Clark

Wednesday, October 29th, 2008

Stick that could yet beat Clark

The smacking bill passed with a hefty majority in Parliament, but it has left a deep schism through middle New Zealand. Politicians from both major parties are resolutely refusing to make it an election issue, but it just won’t go away

By EMILY WATT – The Dominion Post | Friday, 24 October 2008

The ironic thing about the so-called anti-smacking law is that it may just cost Helen Clark the election. This, despite the fact that both the major parties seem to be trying to ignore it on the campaign trail.

No matter that National also backed the bill when it passed in May 2007 with a healthy majority 113-8.

And it appears to be irrelevant that it wasn’t even Labour’s idea, but a bill that was championed by Green MP Sue Bradford.

For disillusioned Labour supporters already grumbling about the nanny state, the smacking legislation was a step too far. Helen Clark – childless herself – was suggesting she knew more about raising their kids than they did. It was meddling, pure and simple.

Soon after the law was passed, Labour’s support, which had been sitting comfortably at 40 per cent, dropped while National’s grew. Up to 120,000 Labour party faithful may have decamped as a result.

The law was built on a bedrock of good intentions: an attempt to reduce the appalling child abuse statistics, the desire to provide children with the same protection from assault given to adults, and to change the law after several high-profile cases, including one involving a mother acquitted by a jury of “disciplining” her son with a horsewhip and cane.

As Canterbury University associate professor in law John Caldwell points out, it is not an “anti-smacking” law at all, but lists four circumstances in which smacking is acceptable, including when it is part of the normal daily tasks of good parenting and preventing a child from using disruptive behaviour.

“I’ve personally been a bit baffled about why it’s continued to be called the anti-smacking law,” he says. “I think there’s widespread misapprehension [about the bill].”

Yet its passage was preceded by months of vitriolic debate that drove thousands of opponents, led by the Destiny Church, to descend upon Parliament to defend their right to smack their children.

It raised hackles in the House, too. Gordon Copeland quit United Future over the issue – then missed the vote and had to have his vote recorded later.

Though police insist officers are using a “commonsense approach”, opposition has remained staunch.

Opponents presented 390,000 signatures to Parliament this year and have forced a referendum on the law asking: “Should a smack as part of good parental correction be a criminal offence in New Zealand?”

Miss Clark has done her best to kick the problem into touch by refusing to hold the referendum on election day. She says there was no time to prepare, and it is likely to be put to a postal vote next year.

Political commentator Chris Trotter says the law has had a devastating effect on Labour. Based on polls conducted around the time of the law, he estimates that between 100,000 and 120,000 Labour party faithful have deserted, mostly for National, because of it.

“The anti-smacking legislation, I think, really hit people where they lived. It really did feel as if the state was coming in the front door and telling parents how they should raise their kids.”

The National Party, which also supported the bill’s passage, seemed to have escaped untarnished in the fallout.

After leader John Key helped to work out a compromise clause with Miss Clark, his party learnt its full support to the bill. Mr Key received kudos for a masterly political breakthrough.

He has ruled out changing the law if he becomes prime minister unless there is evidence of good parents being prosecuted. But he told the Family First conference last month that he would consider changing the law if the referendum results were strong.

Ms Bradford says opponents of the bill purposefully muddied the waters by focusing on smacking rather than abuse of children. She believes about half the country was supportive of the bill.

Miss Clark did not go down the legislative path blindly. She would have known how deeply unpopular the bill was, but has said it was an issue she simply couldn’t turn away from.

Trotter says the prime minister has always been rigorous at looking at the big picture, “but on this one, she let her heart rule her head”.

“But if she goes down because of that, she’s gone down for something worth going down for.”


National leader John Key and Labour leader Helen Clark were both asked in The Dominion Post’s readers’ questions whether they would look again at the law on smacking if the referendum was in favour of change.

John Key:

“The purpose of putting up the compromise position that we did was to ensure that the law would be administered as we thought was appropriate, which is to give parents some leeway for lightly smacking a child. Inconsequentially smacking a child was something that the police would not investigate. So our view is, as long as the police continue to administer the law as the compromise intended, and we don’t see examples where good parents are criminalised for lightly smacking a child, then we think the law’s working.”

Helen Clark:

“It seems to me that, when Parliament votes 113 to 8 for something, that’s near unanimity. I think Parliament as a whole was exercised about violence in the family and wanted to send a strong signal. Parliament did not want to send a signal to the police that matters of little consequence should be dragged before a court and the reality is that they’re not being dragged before a court.” She added that there was a high level of ambiguity in the referendum questions.

Home discipline still a hot topic

Friday, October 24th, 2008

Home discipline still a hot topic

4:00AM Saturday Oct 25, 2008
By Carroll du Chateau

In a year when the morals and ethics of our political parties seem at an all-time low, voters are focused on policies sidling into our sitting rooms.

Many morally contentious issues are designated conscience votes by political parties, meaning their members do not have to vote along party lines.

The anti-smacking bill proposed by Sue Bradford of the Greens and finally cobbled together by Helen Clark and John Key started out as a conscience issue and ended up as a party vote for Labour, National and the Greens, who voted 100 per cent in favour.

Meanwhile, there was overwhelming opposition to the bill out in the community. Parents do not want the Government telling them how to parent. They say loss of discipline at home contributes to bad behaviour, out-of-control youngsters and, eventually, rising crime.

Many say the Government is sending the wrong message to the young.

“The idea that smacking should be against the law is ridiculous,” says Rodney Hide who, as leader of Act, stands for individual freedom and personal responsibility. “The fact that a small smack on the bottom should be up there with bashing kids with a pipe offends me.”

Mr Hide’s position is echoed by Richard Lewis of the Family Party (a Christian offshoot of last election’s Destiny Party) and Bob McCroskie of Family First. While Mr McCroskie’s organisation is a pressure group rather than a political party, it has signed on as a Third Party and is spending a chunk of its allocated $120,000 to push family values – and undermine this legislation.

Mr McCroskie says the law sends an underlying message that parents aren’t really in charge. “Kids are saying, ‘You can’t tell me what to do!’ We need to establish parenting within the law and parents don’t feel they’ve got it.” He talks about a consistent message (feeding through legislation) that we don’t rate parents.

“We don’t recognise parenting as a career choice. The message is, ‘If you want to be a contributing member of society, get yourself a real job.”‘

He is talking about paid parental leave, 20 hours’ free childcare and all the other measures designed to make it easy for mothers to go back to work.

Mr Lewis insists the old legal defence in smacking cases “never protected anyone from child abuse. I think this bill exposes parents unfairly. There are reports of children turning up to school with innocent scrapes and bruises and being asked, ‘Did your parents do it?”‘

Sue Bradford fervently disagrees. A mother of five, she insists she is a staunch defender of the family. “It’s the ability to beat your children that undermines the family.” She also defends the Parental Notification Bill, which allows teenagers under 16 to have abortions without their parents being aware of them. “My belief is that a woman’s body is her own.” ‘

Less high-profile is the ethical issue around the refusal to pay parents and family caring for disabled children and adults, while professional carers qualify for funding. The practice was challenged in a tribunal hearing brought against the Ministry of Health by the Director of Human Rights Proceedings on grounds of discrimination against parents and families.

While all parties except Labour express concern at the unfairness of the law, only the smaller parties are prepared to change it. United Future would introduce a caregivers’ allowance; the Maori Party would ensure disabled people and whanau could access support; the Progressives favour funding “as fiscal conditions permit”.

Labour, meanwhile, is committed to steering away from the issue, instead pledging to provide $37 million on extra daycare and respite services, family caregiver support, extra funding for home-based support services plus wider criteria for the DPB so low-income couples and sole parents could receive extra support to care for sick or disabled children.

One ethical area where the larger parties are taking a risk is with gangs. Gangs are seen as an integral part of our social fabric and stopping people gathering together breaches ethical boundaries. The proliferation of P has Labour and National talking about cracking down on gangs – again putting them out of step with Christian parties who claim the Government should focus on eliminating drug dealing rather than the gangs themselves.

Another matter bothering Mr Hide is the issue of self-defence “Some things are worse than being charged: A, being a wimp and B, being dead.”

* Since the law came in

Sixteen months after the law change in May last year, eight parents have been prosecuted. One received diversion, one was discharged without conviction and six cases are yet to be resolved.

This, says John Key, supports the view that the law is being well administered by police.

A petition for a referendum on the legislation, which asked the question “Should a smack as part of good parental correction be a criminal offence in New Zealand?” gained 390,000 signatures, 310,000 of which were judged valid. To trigger a referendum, 10 per cent of registered voters (285,000) need to sign it. The referendum will be held next year.


From a link above:

National: Anti-smacking legislation to stay.

National Adopts ‘We Know Better Than You’ Attitude

Wednesday, October 22nd, 2008


22 October 2008

National Adopts ‘We Know Better Than You’ Attitude

Family First NZ is labeling comments made by National leader John Key in the Dominion Post today regarding the anti-smacking law and Referendum as disappointing and deaf to the views of the overwhelming majority of NZ parents.

“It was hoped that National would respect the views of parents both when the law change was being discussed and when the 300,000-plus voters signed the petition demanding a change to the law and a Referendum,” says Bob McCoskrie, National Director of Family First NZ. “However Key’s comments today suggest that the attitude of ‘politicians know best’ is rampant not only in the Labour and Greens parties but also the National party now.”

In the interview, Key said “We’ll have respect for what the referendum says, but it wouldn’t make us change our mind” and we’ll “change the law if the law isn’t administered in the way that I think this Parliament intended it to be.”

“The problem is that what Parliament did under the orders of both Helen Clark and John Key was to vote against the will and mind of the huge majority of NZ’ers.”

“Polls continue to show overwhelming opposition to the anti-smacking law because it has failed to deal with actual child abuse, has targeted good families with investigation, prosecutions and persecution, yet has been trumpeted by supporters as a success because nobody has been imprisoned.”

“NZ needs laws that target actual child abuse, prevent child abuse deaths, and that target the major contributing causes including drug and alcohol abuse, family breakdown, and rotten parents – as highlighted by the tragic Nia Glassie case.”

Family First has already provided documented evidence to John Key that good families are being both persecuted and in some cases prosecuted as a result of the anti-smacking law.

Marriage Breakdown Costing Taxpayers At Least $1 Billion a Year

Sunday, October 19th, 2008

MEDIA RELEASE – 20 October 2008

Marriage Breakdown Costing Taxpayers At Least $1 Billion a Year

In the first research of its kind in NZ, a new report estimates that the fiscal cost to the taxpayer of family breakdown and decreasing marriage rates is at least $1 billion per year and has cost approximately $8 billion over the past decade.

The report “The Value of Family – Fiscal Benefits of Marriage and Reducing Family Breakdown in New Zealand” was commissioned by Family First NZ and prepared by the New Zealand Institute of Economic Research (NZIER).

“The study shows that the decline of marriage, NZ’s high teenage fertility rate, and our rate of solo parenthood is not just a moral or social concern but should also be a concern of government and policymakers,” says Bob McCoskrie, National Director of Family First NZ. “The report states that even a small reduction in family breakdown and increases in marriage rates could provide significant savings for taxpayers.”

The report says that family breakdown and decreasing marriage rates are seldom considered in debate on social policy issues.

“The focus has been on ‘child poverty’ but this misses the real issue – that is, poverty among families with children, and the way that divorce, unwed childbearing, teenage pregnancy and sole parenting contributes to that poverty. For example, sole parents have the lowest average living standards of all economic family unit types.”

The report also refers to International research which suggests that the private costs of divorce and unmarried childbearing include increased risks of poverty, mental illness, infant mortality, physical illness, juvenile delinquency and adult criminality, sexual abuse and other forms of family violence, economic hardship, substance abuse, and educational failure.

“It is significant that this report comes during an Election period where the issue of family breakdown and decreasing marriage rates is barely registering a mention or a policy. Yet this report makes it quite clear that strengthening marriage and reducing family breakdown is a significant public concern, both in human costs and economically,” says Mr McCoskrie.

The report suggests the use of a range of programmes and services to reduce unwed pregnancy among teen mothers and to help prepare couples for and support them during marriage.

“We must do much more to strengthen marriages and help families succeed,” says Mr McCoskrie. “The investment will pay for itself.”

The Full Report is available from 20 October at


ACT campaign launch: We provide the spine

Sunday, October 12th, 2008

ACT campaign launch: We provide the spine

12 October 2008

ACT has launched its election campaign with leader Rodney Hide saying only his party can put some backbone into a National-led government.

Act’s launch at the Alexandra Park Raceway in Auckland started a day of launches which also sees Labour, National and United Future begin their official campaigns.

Mr Hide told about 400 supporters Labour had squandered good economic times and had done little to deliver policies that would carry New Zealand through the current world economic crisis.

National, on the other hand, was so busy trying to steal votes off Labour it had mimicked most of its policies.

ACT was needed to force any change, he said.

“This election I am asking you to ensure the next National government makes a difference.

“It’s that simple. A party vote for ACT will ensure John Key makes a difference.”

Mr Hide went on to spell out ACT’s core policies.

Its economic prescription was exactly the kind of medicine New Zealand needed in the face of the global market crisis.

“There are small businesses now going to the wall because they are being squeezed paying for an ever-fattening government.

“Families are struggling to make ends meet with taxes, rates and other charges,” he said.

“The way to facilitate the necessary transition is to cap government expenditure in real terms, free up the labour market and radically reform the Resource Management Act.”

Other economic policies included immediately cutting the top tax rate and dumping the emissions trading scheme.

Mr Hide also spelt out ACT’s tough anti-crime policies including the abolition of parole and a three-strikes policy, which would give a sentence of 25-years to life to anyone convicted three times of a violent offence.

He said there should also be better legal protections for people who defended themselves or their property.

He cited the case of Auckland dairy owner Virender Singh who has been charged over an altercation in which he defended himself from youths allegedly looking to rob his shop.

ACT would also turn the clock back on “nanny state” initiatives supported by Labour such as the phasing out of incandescent light bulbs and Green MP Sue Bradford’s anti-smacking legislation.