The Devil is in the Detail of the Family Carers Bill

The disability sector finally thought that the Government would deliver on its promised backdown over paying family carers of adult disabled people. The National-­led Government announced, as part of Budget 2013, $23 million a year to pay family carers of high ­needs disabled adults.

This was initially welcomed by carers, their support networks, and the wider disability community. The announcement followed the Government’s decision not to appeal the Atkinson Case, so­-named after the family carer of a disabled person who first took the Government to the Human Rights Commission nearly 10 years ago over this issue.

From where I sit as a disabled person, Finance Minister Bill English and Health Minister Tony Ryall had seemingly made one of the few more positive announcements from the Budget. However, as the old saying goes, the devil is in the detail. Continue reading

Would the Real Left Wing Parties Please Stand Up?

The Alliance Party is amused and, quite frankly, confused, to hear John Key repeatedly refer to a possible Labour/Greens coalition as a “far left” government in the media these days.

Key bases his assessment on their new power policy which would see a government provider buying all the power from generators. However Key should ponder the fact that the state owned all aspects of power generation and the distribution of electricity right up until 1999. And no one ever described the Holyoake and Muldoon led National governments of this era as “far left” because electricity was state owned.

Not that being a “left wing” party is a bad thing. For the majority of New Zealanders, having a genuine “left wing” coalition government would be very good indeed. Continue reading

Advice to Mum and Dad Investors

I was impressed and excited to read a local finance broker’s advice to potential “mum and dad” investors in privatized public assets in the Otago Daily Times (Friday 6 July 2012).
Mr Chris Timms of Craigs Investment Partners says any complaints about ordinary Kiwis not being able to get in on the sale of the 21st century are misplaced.
It comes down to lifestyle choices and priorities.
Cut out the cigarettes and takeaways, and you can be in to win.
As Mr Timms says, you can save money, be healthier and buy some shares.
I agree.
It is a well known fact that the working classes of New Zealand expend their lives in a haze of cigarette smoke, while simultaneously pouring jugs of beer down their throats and stuffing their ample jaws with burgers and chips.
It’s amazing they actually find time to work full time and raise families.
In some cases, they linger on well into their seventies on superannuation (another drain on the economy.)
We need to buy back the assets we already own because we needed to give tax cuts to high income people, like finance industry high flyers for example. Continue reading

Voting for a party like the Alliance – you just have to choose it!

by Sarah Campbell

I am running on the Alliance list this election. In the past few weeks I have encountered a lot of wry smiles, some open laughter, a lot of confusion, and some angry contempt. It’s the last one that bothers me the most of course, although it does make me sad and frustrated when people don’t know what the Alliance is, or think that we’re still Jim Anderton (he’s a party all to himself, I say).

What annoys me is people who say they are lefties too, and that we should be ashamed for splitting the left vote. Some of them seem more annoyed at me than at John Key. So I would like to put my case for why I am standing for the Alliance, and why that’s a move I will be proud of, no matter who comes out on top on November 8. Continue reading

The breakdown in society has real and understandable causes

Recent incidents of cruelty and brutality, especially within families, are powerful reminders that something has badly gone wrong in many peoples lives.
The victims, so often, are those without the ability to defend themselves: children.
It is difficult to try to understand these events.
I am not a psychologist, and have no direct personal experience, so I can only make an educated guess at the type of behaviours and situations that lead to small children being brutally assaulted and murdered.
But I do have a firm view on the wider developments within New Zealand which underlie our arrival at this troubled point.
The recent attacks on children are not isolated incidents. They reflect a wider violence and a wider breakdown of what we regard as basic human values. Continue reading

Jim Flynn against eugenics

A report appeared in the Sunday Star Times (8 July 2007) where Professor Jim Flynn was wrongly identified as supporting the idea of “eugenics.”

Jim Flynn is Alliance spokesperson on finance and tax, although the article was not related in any way to the Alliance.

Jim Flynn appeared on Close Up last night Monday 9 July and in a live interview strongly denied any such views. For those of you with broadband internet, you may wish to see the interview which can be found at TVNZ.

Jim is internationally known for his academic research into IQ and has consistently argued against eugenics and racist ideas in his work. He has consistently supported social measures to reduce inequality and improve life for all people, not just the wealthy.

Below Jim Flynn explains his position in the debate. Continue reading

Alliance joins opposition to multi-million stadium

The Alliance is supporting the community-organized protest against city council funding for a multipurpose stadium in Dunedin. The protest is starting at the Moray Place entrance to the Town Hall on Wednesday 23 May at 5pm. We say that the plan benefits business while disadvantaging those on fixed incomes, and massive debt on such a project is wrong when there are more pressing needs.

The issue has created strong local debate and the Alliance has presented oral and written submissions to the Dunedin City Council. Our stance is noted in full in this submission. Continue reading

The Alliance and Social Democracy, by Jim Flynn

Although the Alliance is out of parliament, I believe the role it plays today is the most important in its history. At least twenty per cent of New Zealanders have a Social Democratic outlook, that is, believe that government must tax and intervene to create greater justice and equality.
Sooner or later, many will find a reason to look beyond the two old parties and beyond the Greens, who are essentially a party of the centre without a responsible budget that spells out how they would pay for their promises.
When that day comes, they will not have to reinvent the wheel. The Alliance consistently updates policies that would free New Zealanders from the tyranny of the market, costs them, and provides a cadre of activists who know how to mount an election campaign. They are a party in waiting. Continue reading