Written By: - Date published: 12:35 pm, April 25th, 2008 - 61 comments
Categories: helen clark, interview, labour - Tags: Employment Relations Act, helen clark, interview, Interview the Leaders, labour, minority government, nuclear disarmament, Unions
We’re very pleased to have Prime Minister Helen Clark respond to your questions as part of our Interview the Leaders series.
Question to all leaders:
Of which of your achievements in politics are you most proud?
I am proud to lead a government which has worked so hard to restore fairness, opportunity, security, and hope to many New Zealanders. 360,000 more New Zealanders are in work now than when Labour was first elected. Students have interest-free loans. Doctors’ fees for most people have halved. The rate of New Zealand Super has been lifted, and many older New Zealanders are getting help with their rates. State house tenants now pay fair rents, and workers and their unions bargain on much better terms under the Employment Relations Act.
As a government, we’ve focused on building the infrastructure a modern society requires, with massive investment in transport, and through far reaching telecommunications legislation to facilitate the roll out of faster, cheaper broadband.
We are putting in place far-reaching policies to make New Zealand more sustainable and to fight climate change.
Our government is a force for peace in the world, not only through our work for nuclear disarmament, but also through our opposition to unnecessary wars like that in Iraq. Our Labour-led Government refused to take part in the invasion of Iraq because we believed the case for it had not been made.
Given the privilege of a fourth term for the Labour-led Government, we pledge ourselves to continuing to lead on providing opportunity and security, working for sustainability, modernising the economy, and working world-wide for peace and justice.
From reader Matthew Pilott: Do you think the introduction of MMP has strengthened or weakened New Zealand’s democracy?
In the sense that governments are no longer single party ones, and so a number of parties must work together for there to be a majority in Parliament, it has probably been strengthened.
Our Labour-led Government has been a minority government ever since we first came into office in 1999. We have been successful because we have worked well with other parties and been prepared to share power.
From Reader Andrew E: I’ve always voted Labour (was even a member of the Party) but this year I’m planning on voting National as I’m very concerned by the erosions in our freedoms that have happened under your watch. Why am I wrong?
I know of no erosions of freedoms which have occurred on our watch. Any such assertion is sheer spin from the National Party and its friends.
If the writer is perchance referring to the legislation on disciplining children, he might reflect on the fact it passed through Parliament on a vote of 113:8 with the National Party voting in support of it!