Yesterday John Key announced that this year’s general election will be held on Saturday, September 20th. That’s about six months from today. For us that means we have about six months to prepare and carry out a campaign for National to win a third term in government. Young Nats across the country will be knocking on doors, ringing phones and posting leaflets. More importantly we will be letting friends and family know that our party has the vision to continue to lead for another three years.
You only have to look at the policy wins the Young Nats have had in the last three years to see how highly valued our efforts have been so far. You can start with the Prime Minister’s Youth Mental Health Initiative – a policy backed by the Young Nats. On recent conscience issues, the lobbying of Young Nats helped secure National MPs’ votes for Keep It 18 and Marriage Equality. Our voices are being heard in the halls of Parliament.
We are taking important stands on issues that matter to young New Zealanders, but we need the support of as many young people as possible. That’s what will make the politicians and MPs take notice. Campaign season will be hard work, but will also be a lot of fun. I urge everyone to get involved this election year. Go to the events your local Young Nats committee is putting on. Find out how you can contribute, and get amongst it. We will make a difference over the next six months.
Joel Rowan – Victoria University Young Nats Chair
National Party President Peter Goodfellow has confirmed that Joanne Hayes will enter Parliament on the National Party List to fill the vacancy created by List MP Katrina Shanks who has announced she will resign in January next year.
“Katrina has made a real contribution to New Zealand and National over the past eight years,” Mr Goodfellow said.
“As a List MP, she has worked hard to provide an effective voice inside the National Caucus for constituents in Ohariu and the Hutt Valley, and been a strong advocate for Kiwi families.”
Mrs Shanks will resign to take up a new role as chief executive of the Funeral Directors Association of New Zealand.
Joanne Hayes contested the Dunedin South seat for National in 2011. Now based in the Manawatu, she is Director of Community Relations for UCOL Whanganui.
“Joanne brings a wealth of experience in Maori business, health, and education which will be a real asset to Parliament and our Caucus,” Mr Goodfellow said.
Mrs Hayes is of Ngati Porou, Ati Haunui A Paparangi, and Rangitane ki Wairarapa descent, and is married to Pat with two sons and two grandchildren.
“I believe my background in health, education, and community and economic development position me well to make a valuable contribution in Parliament,” Mrs Hayes said.
“I am looking forward to working under the leadership of our Prime Minister, Rt Hon John Key, and to enter Parliament alongside my National colleagues.”
by Sam Franklin, Treasurer of the Northern Young Nats
With the partial sell down of State Owned Enterprises well underway, the Labour-led debate over the costs and benefits still rages. The opposition has declared that the National Government is, among other things, “selling young New Zealanders down the river.” This rhetoric suggests that Labour and the Greens are either being deliberately misleading, or are so blinded by political ideology that they are incapable of unbiased economic judgment. Instead of adding to the debate, it may be useful to take a look at the facts of the situation, from the perspective of “young New Zealanders.”
Long overdue reforms to the Teachers Council are underway.
Consultation began in 2010 and it culminated in the 2013 Ministerial Advisory Group report.
Education Minister Hekia Parata had this to say:
“The new body is proposed to replace the New Zealand Teachers Council and will be called the Education Council of Aotearoa New Zealand, broadening its scope to invest in leadership as well as teaching, and ensuring that professionals in the early childhood sector are also fully embraced.”
“Teaching needs a strong professional body that provides leadership to, and is owned by the profession. The new Council will support system changes to improve the quality of teaching and education leadership and will have the needs of children and young people, and the public interest, at its heart.
“The quality of teaching and education leadership has the biggest effect on raising achievement, and it is essential that our teachers and education leaders have the best professional body to support them in their critical roles.”
The new Council will:
- Raise the status of the teaching profession
- Establish a specific focus on education leadership
- Forge a new relationship between the profession and the Government to deliver on the public interests in education
- Make changes to the regulatory framework for teaching – including changes to the disciplinary regime
- Lead public debate on education issues
For more information visit www.minedu.govt.nz
John Key and Steven Joyce have committed $260 million to the planned $1 billion upgrade and development of the University of Canterbury, with an emphasis on the science and engineering facilities.
Here’s some more info from the announcement:
The Government has agreed to provide up to $260 million to the University of Canterbury to support its rebuild programme following the destructive Canterbury earthquakes.
“The Government’s contribution will fund a new science centre and expanded and upgraded engineering facilities. These will provide modern teaching and research facilities and cater for more students,” Minister for Tertiary Education, Skills and Employment, Steven Joyce says.
“This is a very significant investment by the Government in both the future of the University, and the wider Canterbury recovery.
“The 2010 and 2011 earthquakes have had a major impact on the University, with all of its buildings and facilities affected. As a result of the earthquakes, student numbers were down 15 per cent in 2012 compared to the previous three-year average.”
“While generally the Government expects tertiary education institutions to fund their own capital investment from their balance sheets, Canterbury institutions are dealing with a unique set of challenges. The blunt reality is that Canterbury University would find it very difficult to recover without this support.”
The University of Canterbury has developed a campus wide redevelopment programme to refresh and modernise its campus and supporting infrastructure. The total programme is costed at $1.1 billion over a period of 10 years.
“I am encouraged to see positive progressive planning by Canterbury University. Their campus-wide programme of restoration and improvement will provide modern, world-leading facilities. The Government’s contribution to this programme will be an integral part of the transformation,” Mr Joyce says.
“The work programme will be a major contributor to the Canterbury recovery, and will be one of the largest building projects in New Zealand. The University estimates that it will spend approximately $4 billion in capital and operating expenditure in the local economy over the next 10 years, as well as bringing an additional 3,000 domestic and international students into the region.”
The Young Nats are speaking out against the Government for passing a law allowing legal highs to be tested on animals and are set for a showdown at a select committee hearing at Parliament this morning.
“Just weeks ago the Government passed a lab-rat law allowing legal highs to be tested on animals. It’s frankly cruel and insane” says Young Nats Policy Chair, Nick Cross.
“We believe animal testing for non-medical purposes is inconsistent with the principles of animal welfare and unnecessary to fulfill the aims of the Psychoactive Substances Act”.
Research by SAFE shows significant numbers of animals are killed (often over 50%) as a result of animal testing, and many animals are subjected to very severe suffering through procedures such as vivisection despite protections already in place under the Animal Welfare Act.
“We support the goals of the Psychoactive Substances Act, but animal testing simply isn’t justifiable. Our supporters are concerned with the implications for animals under the Act as it stands – which is why we’re supporting the Supplementary Order Paper Trevor Mallard has put forward to see the Act amended” says Young Nats Policy Chair, Nick Cross, who will be presenting to the Committee.
The Young Nats believe the Government needs to address the inconsistency of the Psychoactive Substances Act with animal welfare law in New Zealand.
by Nick Cross, Policy Chair
Low turnout at the local body elections over the weekend should be a cause for concern. The Electoral Commission estimated at 44% of enrolled voters turned out, down from 49% in 2010. Some areas were of particular concern with turnout in Auckland only reaching 35% of eligible voters.
Many theories have been offered as to why this might have been, but what’s more interesting is what we can do about it. Last month the government announced that online voting will be trailed in the 2016 Local Body Elections as a means of improving participation. I think this will be an excellent idea. Postal voting seems like an anachronism in the age when most young people would rather engage with politicians online than through the postal system. We’re more comfortable having all the information on a screen to peruse and it makes it much less likely that forms will simply be lost or forgotten once filled out. I think a particular problem for students with postal voting is that they regularly move flats and updating their address with the Electoral Commission tends to be low on a list of priorities when there is no general election in the near future. Hopefully a method of implementation can be found which makes it easier for students in this situation.
Recently Local Government NZ President Lawrence Yule floated the idea of compulsory voting as an option worthy of consideration, but I don’t think that route is worth going down. Part of the problem which leads to low turnout is the limited effort the politicians themselves are making to engage their communities. Compulsory voting sends the wrong message to these politicians, rather than drawing out non voters by giving them meaningful reasons to vote, these people are treated as low information voters and bombarded with advertising to swing them based on the premise that they know very little about local body issues. It is already quite common for candidates for bodies like the regional council to discuss ‘sexy’ issues which that body has no control over. I think this could ruin the debate we need to have during elections, with complex issues being consigned to the background.
Another daft plan put forward by Labour MP Sua William Sio is the state funding of local body candidates. I really don’t like this idea, giving taxpayers money out is not something that should be done lightly and it’s not clear how this plan will improve turnout. People should also have a right to not be effectively forced to support a political viewpoint they may strongly disagree with through their taxes.