Monday, October 17, 2005

Labour United Future Agreement

The agreement between United Future and the Labour Party is six pages long.

* United Future promises confidence and supply to the government.

* A "no surprises" clause.

* The government will consult regularly with United Future on various matters (pretty much the same as the Greens).

* The Leader of United Future shall receive a ministerial posting.

Then come a whole series of initiatives that are actually more concrete than the Green proposals.

* Labour will not decriminalize cannibas.

* Labour will not enact hate-speech legislation.

* Labour will not touch the Families Commission.

So the government is forbidden to put a useless quango out of its misery.

* The Business tax regime system will be reviewed to put us on a better footing against the Australians.

Is Michael Cullen is going to use this as a excuse to introduce significant company tax cuts? Or will he bum Peter Dunne off with risible tax cuts as he did earlier this year?

* A new tax rebate scheme for charities.

If this isn't done carefully then people can get tax rebates for supporting Al-Qa'ida.

* The Carbon Tax proposal shall be looked at again using criteria agreed from the sector.

An possible excuse by the government to renege on Kyoto?

* Improvement of access to student allowances.

* Use of private hospital capacity to reduce waiting lists whenever feasible.

A significant policy change here if I'm not mistaken.

* Review of the Prostitution Act to address street soliciting, underage involvement and local authority control.

Address is left worryingly undefined. The government could address underage involvement by lowing it to 16 for example.

* Improved public access to Queens Chain and Seabed and Foreshore through non-statutary measures.

Conservation department regulations shall be introduced to appease the Outdoor Recreation faction in United Future.

* Issues involving agrarian water runoff shall be addressed.

Many of the Outdoor Recreation faction are keen fishers upset by cowpats polluting their favourite fishing spots.

* United Future shall be consulted in a review of medicines usage and Pharmac.

Looks like a specific United Future proposal wasn't accepted but Labour decided to allow it to put forward its case during the impending review.

* United Future shall be consulted in a review of a Nation-wide pest reduction strategy.

The only pests I can think off that might concern UF would be the Tahr.

* Money to be available for Transmission Gully Highway if that is the preferred option of the current evaluation.

What's to stop the government from manipulating the evaluation so that the Highway doesn't become the preferred option.

* Government develops a policy document on tax on income splitting.

And will also commit itself to burying this document in a Cabinet Committee.

* United Future agrees to support legislation to implement the Government's Commitment Card.

No qualifications here unlike the Greens.

* United Future spokespeople to be briefed on politically sensitive issues.

I suspect that Peter Dunne will nominate non-MPs as spokespeople in order to maximize his influence in the government. But what do they mean by politically sensitive? Why not defined policy areas as the Greens have done?

* Confidentiality, Collective responsibility in Portfolio, Confidence and Supply and support of governmental procedural motions.