Trevor Mallard opened at the business breakfast I attended at the Wainuiomata RSA this morning. He made hay with the just-released MSD social report which shows improvement in a number of indicators. Fortunately I followed (there was only Labour, National and ACT present!) and was quickly able to reel off a list of trends which are going in the wrong direction - violent crime, truancy and violence in schools, teenage birthrate, STDs, receipt of sickness and invalid benefits, substance and alcohol abuse. The thrust of my speech covered National morphing into Labour and depriving the electorate of a clear choice, the 20 Point Plan, why special privilege for one business hurts the next, why we wouldn't want, in a month of Sundays, the government running supermarkets and nationalising plumbers yet accept that they run schools and hospitals. Surely food and running water are as important as education and hip operations? It strikes me, as I watch faces, that many people have never thought at this level.
The audience seemed mainly concerned about social problems, crime and political correctness. When asked what we could do about the list of negative trends I described, I was right where I wanted to be and received the first spontaneous round of applause from the audience when talking about the consequences of 'paying babies to have babies'. It's an issue that touches a nerve and one I am deeply concerned about.
Paul Quinn has a limited repertoire and no firm philosophy. But he has the polls (and PM) on his side. At some point the meetings always degenerate into who is telling the truth? Trevor or Paul?
Trevor is very secure in his electorate. He knows the local issues and should, after so many terms. But he concluded by asking them to re-elect him because, indicating the National candidate, "He will be in on the list anyway." Quinn is at 48. Mallard knows the anti-labour vote is so strong he is prepared to ask for just the electorate vote.
I asked for the Party Vote so ACT would have more MPs in parliament giving National direction and spine. More MPs that were prepared to call a spade a spade and not keep sweeping problems under the carpet. More MPs who are not happy with just the status quo. More MPs pushing for real change.
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