PR: NZ Young Nats Welcome Support for Med Students

The Young Nats welcome the announcement by Hon Steven Joyce that the Government will extend the seven year cap on student loan borrowing to eight years for postgraduate medical students.

“We’ve backed the NZMSA’s campaign since May, because it just makes sense. Medical students need more time in full-time study to acquire the essential skills that our health system needs.” Young Nats President, Joel Rowan said.

“I’m pleased that the Minister has listened to the voice of students and recognised that this is a valuable investment. Medical students should be able to finish their degrees with the same support as students who get qualifications in other subjects.”

“New Zealand’s health system needs more doctors. The Young Nats welcome the news that the Government is supporting the students who are working hard to qualify.”

“Student support should not be unlimited, nor should it come with no obligations, but the policy announced today makes access fairer for postgraduate med students.”

Previously, the cap would have left postgraduate med students short by one or two years. Now, those students who take eight years to complete their study will be able to graduate without the need to self-fund their final year.

OPINION: Son of a Dairy Farmer

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By Joel Rowan, NZ Young Nats President

For generations, the Rowans have produced milk in Taranaki, Whanganui, Manawatu and Southland. My father is a dairy farmer. His father was a dairy farmer, and so on. So although I’m not a farmer, it’s clearly in my DNA.

Last night I watched the Sunday programme’s piece on bobby calves and the “cruelty” that underpins the New Zealand dairy industry. I watched as the people from SAFE threatened to broadcast their illegally-obtained footage internationally, to inflict damage on the reputation of New Zealand farming.

Some of what I saw was clearly malpractice in a small number of suppliers in industries that serve farmers. But I don’t believe that that paints a fair picture of New Zealand dairying as a whole.

New Zealand is ranked 1st equal for animal welfare (with the United Kingdom, Switzerland and Austria) by Animal Protection International.

Dairy NZ is the industry body for dairy farmers and it produces pretty clear expectations for farmers and farm-related service providers when it comes to animal welfare. The treatment and slaughter of calves is expected to be humane.

The New Zealand dairy industry isn’t perfect, but its environmental and welfare record is improving every year. Farmers are getting serious about protecting water quality by fencing and planting alongside streams and rivers, and are ending cruel practises like short docking of cows’ tails.

There will always be bad players in any industry or profession, and they deserve to be punished. We can’t let the proponents of a meat-free and milk-free ideology threaten New Zealand’s prosperity using cherry-picked footage of dairy farming’s worst operators. They are doing wilful damage to New Zealand’s dairy trade, which will hurt the progress of our entire nation.

I won’t buy into the guilt-trip from dairy farming’s opponents. All of the dairy farmers I know feel a sense of responsibility and genuine care for their animals. They know that cruelty is bad for business. They uphold the highest welfare standards, and they expect their neighbours to do the same.

OPINION: Don’t Save Me a Seat

Opinion – Katy Hendrikse Young Nats Vice-President

Last week the Green Party decided, in their infinite wisdom, that because I am a woman I couldn’t possibly be capable of earning a place in cabinet on my own merit. I feel so lucky to have a big strong man like James Shaw there to look out for me, and make sure that we can point to a Greens Cabinet and say we are doing well as a country because half of them are women.

Controversially, I prefer that we can point to our Cabinet and be proud of the hard-working, qualified men and women who are working to make New Zealand the best it can be. That the Ministers running our country are chosen on their merits and experience, rather than whether or not they have a penis. That we judge them based on the results they produce rather than their gender.

To have a man say that we need a gender quota to achieve an even gender split in Cabinet is condescending and insulting. I am confident that we will have increasing numbers of female Ministers, but it won’t be because we have been gifted these spots by men. It will be because we have plenty of driven, qualified women in Parliament, and beyond, who are perfectly capable of beating a man for a position.

Under our human rights law, I have the same protection as every other person. The law prohibits discrimination on the basis of gender, amongst other things. I do not need my hand held, to get to achieve the same things as a man achieves. Gender quotas only encourage the outdated perception that women are less valuable employees than men. If we want to reduce the gender pay gap, encouraging this perception is not the way to do it. The women we have in Cabinet today have proven that they are every bit as hard-working and skilled as the men in Cabinet – and they didn’t need a gender quota to get there.

James Shaw, I don’t need your condescension or your hand-outs. I am a strong, independent woman who doesn’t need a man to save me a spot in Cabinet, or anywhere else – I’d rather earn it for myself.

We’d like your opinion for our blog. You can email one to us here.

Meet the Candidate: Mark Osborne

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Mark Osborne is National’s candidate for the Northland by-election. He lives in Taipa, in the Far North with his wife Jodi. Mark and Jodi own a successful beauty spa, and Mark has worked for the Far North District Council, while being active in the community. But we had a few more questions for him:

Why do Northlanders need to vote for you?

Northlanders should vote for me because I am the only candidate who will be a strong voice for the region in a National Government that is delivering for Northland.

If anyone else wins it would dramatically slow down National’s programme for Northland, and the Government would be more reliant on United Future and the Maori Party for votes in Parliament.

I’m a proud local, living and working in the north. My wife Jodi and I run a successful small business in Northland and our two girls go to school locally. I’m involved in many aspects of local life, from volunteering for the Coastguard to helping organise the Mangonui waterfront festival. I have a stake in Northland and I care about its future.

What is something interesting we should know about you but don’t know already?

I am a competitive power lifter and have a couple of Northland records. I can bench press 200kgs.

Why are you a member of the National Party?

Because I believe in people getting ahead under their own steam. People want to make decisions for themselves, their businesses, and their families. They don’t want to be told what to do by government.

While other parties believe that simply throwing money at society’s problems is the way to fix them, I support National because they actually want to spend taxpayers hard-earned dollars in targeted ways that get results. Plus, being a member of National is a lot of fun – I’ve met so many interesting people and made some lifelong friends.

If you were inviting John and Bronagh Key to your place, what would you cook for them, and why?

Sous vide locally raised dry aged black angus scotch fillet finished over locally produced olive wood charcoal. Because it is the best.

OPINION: Why Saving Uber Matters

by Joel Rowan, NZ Young Nats Digital Director

Uber

Those of us who weren’t on a beach or at Rhythm this summer, might well have been getting around Auckland or Wellington in an Uber. If you didn’t already know, Uber is a service that lets you order and pay for a car ride across town from your smartphone. It’s safe, it’s cheaper than regular cabs, it’s growing every day, and it is revolutionising access to taxi rides.

While Uber was growing, the Police were wasting resources enforcing a trivial regulation that forbids Uber as a “private vehicle hire service” from using a “taxi meter” to measure fares. The argument goes that the smartphones used by Uber drivers are “taxi meters” in the eye of the law. In other words Uber drivers are illegally charging for their trips when they use their phones’ GPS technology to work out the cost of your journey.

Of course Uber must comply with the law, but our government really needs to make sure that what’s on the books keeps up with innovators and doesn’t lock them out. The government has yet to move on changing the regulations, but they should. The status quo protects the outdated business models of old-style taxi companies, and shuts out innovators and entrepreneurs. This is the economic intervention we would expect from Labour or NZ First, not the open market and competitive environment we support.

I could just talk about Uber’s benefits, but I trust you can try it for yourself. It’s coming to Christchurch and Queenstown later this year. What I’m more concerned about is being a member of a party that promotes enterprise and competition – and views industry regulation with skepticism, at least.

We campaigned hard for this government to be re-elected but now we have to remind them to support innovative, new, digital-era businesses, not let them be stifled by regulation and big government.

I’ll be encouraging our MPs to change the regulations and I hope you will too. Just because we’ve been in government for a few years doesn’t mean there’s no red tape left to cut. Our party and the Young Nats need to keep flying the flag for freedom and smaller government.

The Answers to All Your Security Council Questions

John Key

John Key Addresses the UN General Assembly

New Zealand has been elected as a member of the United Nations Security Council for a 2015-16 term. The campaign for this election began in 2004 under the leadership of then Prime Minister Helen Clark, and has been a bipartisan effort. The lobbying our representatives have put in, and our independent reputation has seen us elected with a strong majority by the UN member states.

What is the Security Council?

The Security Council is the body of the United Nations which has primary responsibility for the maintenance of international peace and security, so it has the power to authorise peacekeeping missions, military action and international sanctions. The UN Charter gives the Security Council the sole power to approve military action.

Security Council Chamber

The Security Council Chamber

How do you get elected to the Security Council?

There are five permanent members of the Council: China, France, Russia, the United States and the United Kingdom. Another ten members are elected for two-year terms with rolling elections each year. The non-permanent members are elected on a regional basis (from the UN’s five regions). New Zealand forms a part of the “Western European and Others” (WEOG) group, which gets two seats, up for election when the term starts in an odd-numbered year.

Voting at the UN General Assembly

Voting at the UN General Assembly

New Zealand was up against Turkey and Spain for the two seats allocated to WEOG. To be elected, a two-thirds majority of the 193-member UN General Assembly was required. On the first round, New Zealand received more than needed – 145 votes. After a second round of voting, neither Spain nor Turkey had the two-thirds required. On the third round, Spain recieved 130 votes and was elected.

Angola, Malaysia and Venezuela were elected representing the African, Asian and Latin American groups for the 2015-16 term.

What happens now?

Jim McLay, a former Deputy Prime Minister, Attorney-General and National Party leader is New Zealand’s Ambassador to the United Nations, so he takes the primary responsibility for representing New Zealand on the Security Council, though the Prime Minister and Minister of Foreign affairs may attend for major decisions or ceremonial occasions.

The Security Council will have to face issues like the threat of ISIS, the Ebola epidemic and others as they arise.

Jim McLay

Jim McLay – NZ’s Permanent Representative to the United Nations

Seven Things You Need to Know about the new Cabinet

This morning, John Key announced his cabinet for the upcoming term. There are some big changes in the portfolio allocations, with fresh faces in Cabinet and on the Front Bench. Some portfolios have been renamed – for example, the Minister of Women’s Affairs is now simply the Minister of Women.  Here’s what you need to know:

1. Maggie Barry is in Cabinet.

Maggie

Maggie Barry has been promoted into Cabinet. First elected in 2011, she has risen quickly. She is now Minister for Arts, Culture and Heritage; Minister of Conservation and Minister for Senior Citizens.

2. Amy Adams is Minister of Justice.

Amy Adams is the new Minister of Justice. Adams is a qualified lawyer, and served as Minister for the Environment in the last term of Parliament,  which has been taken over by Dr. Nick Smith. Amy is on the Front Bench, also holding the Courts, Broadcasting and Communications portfolios.

3. Paula Bennett has new responsibilities.

Paula

Paula Bennett is now ranked Number 5 in Cabinet. She is Minister of Local Government; State Services; and Social Housing. She is also Associate Minister of Finance, giving her input into shaping the Budget for the next three years. She is no longer Minister of Social Development, with Anne Tolley taking over that role.

4. Jonathan Coleman takes over from Tony Ryall. The Health portfolio was left by Tony Ryall, who retired at the election. Jonathan Coleman, formerly Minister of Defence steps into his shoes. Gerry Brownlee has taken up the reins at Defence.

5. Nikki Kaye has been promoted.

Nikki Kaye

Nikki Kaye has been promoted  – she now serves as Minister for ACC, retaining her responsibilities as Minister of Youth, Minister of Civil Defence and Associate Minister of Education.

6. Some Ministers have new portfolios. Simon Bridges gets a promotion as Minister of Transport. He stays on as Minister of Energy and Resources. Sam Lotu-Iiga is now the Minister of Corrections, and is the Minister for Pacific Peoples (formerly Pacific Island Affairs). Michael Woodhouse becomes Minister of Police.

7. There are new Ministers Outside Cabinet.

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Paul Goldsmith, who chaired the Finance and Expenditure Committee is now Minister of Commerce and Consumer Affairs. Louise Upston, formerly the Government’s Senior Whip, is promoted to the Ministry as Minister for Land Information and Minister for Women. Te Ururoa Flavell of the Maori Party is Minister of Maori Development, and Peter Dunne of UnitedFuture is Minister of Internal Affairs.

For the full Cabinet list: http://nzyn.at/nzcabinet14

Four Things Labour Left in a Mess

Helen and David

This election is about who has a track record of delivering the results that matter to New Zealanders. Labour couldn’t do it when they were last in government, and they haven’t changed.

1. The Economy

The global economy boomed in the early 2000s. Despite that, in 2008 Labour left nothing in the kitty, and Treasury was forecasting massive increases in debt, and a decade of government deficits. New Zealand was consuming far more in imports than we produced in exports, with a trade deficit of $5.6 billion. Labour didn’t control government spending, so consumer price inflation was high, causing the cost of living to rapidly rise.

2. Health

While Labour was in charge, health services went to ruin. Between 2003 and 2008 waiting time for heart surgery in Auckland more than doubled. Overcrowding and delays in care caused as many deaths as the entire road toll. Hospitals were allowed to be on “code red” with more patients than they could handle.

3. Unsafe Communities

Labour left a legacy of crime and unsafe communities. They gave up, and admitted defeat in the war on P. Youth crime, and violent youth crime was rising. More people were being killed and injured in stabbings on our streets. Murders, youth violence and domestic assaults were increasing year on year. Prisons were places where inmates ran riot.

4. Education

Under Labour thousands of kids were allowed to leave school with no qualifications or prospects for a better life. A 2008 report showed that 150,000 pupils were failing at school, whilst thousands of teachers lacked necessary skills. In 2007, a third of students left without NCEA Level 2, and a fifth did not even get NCEA Level 1. Violence in schools was rampant. Businesses were not getting the skilled workers they needed out of the education system.

Everything You Wanted to Know About the PREFU

Bill English

Yesterday Bill English, Minister of Finance released the PREFU. NZ Young Nats Policy Chair Nick Cross explains what it is, and what it means:

In order to create open and accountable government in New Zealand, the Minister of Finance is required by the Public Finance Act to release the Pre-Election Economic and and Fiscal Update (PREFU) which sets out updated forecasts about key economic indicators. Yesterday Bill English released PREFU 2014

What does it tell us?

PREFU 2014 tells us that National is still very much the party of credible economic management. The economic growth forecast from March 2014- March 2015 has been revised down very slightly from 4% to 3.8%, still some of the highest growth in the OECD. The surplus as projected by Treasury is set to hit $300 million. Tax revenue is expected to rise from $61 billion this year to $77 billion by 2018.

Why did these changes happen?

Largely because of slightly lower than expected commodity prices in dairy and timber. However this fall is expected to be a short term fall in overseas demand as several countries look to reduce inventories and does not reflect any structural weakness according to Treasury Secretary Gabriel Makhlouf.

What does it mean?

It means that, on the latest figures, the economic recovery is still very much on track to take the New Zealand into strong growth. What I found most fascinating is how much new tax revenue this promises for the government, making Labour and the Greens new ‘tax the rich’ promises of $1billion more tax revenue seem insignificant. It suggests that business driven economic performance, and not new taxes which harm business, is the path to providing better social services.

National’s Cycleway Policy

Gerry and Bikes

John Key and Gerry Brownlee have announced National’s cycling policy today. $100 Million will be invested in urban cycle infrastructure in New Zealand’s main centres.

National recognises that commuting by bike has health benefits and takes pressure off other transport networks, but says cycleways in our largest centres are fragmented and offer varied levels of service.

“Many people cite safety concerns and a lack of infrastructure as reasons for not cycling, so we’re going to begin building cycleways to a standard that delivers real incentives for commuters to make a change.

“Building more comprehensive cycling networks will require new infrastructure to connect existing routes and expand the network into wider urban areas.

National is the party that is building the transport infrastructure to ensure people can reach their destinations quickly and safely. Better cycleways will mean that commuting by bike is a safer, more efficient option.

John Announcing