Audrey Young

Political editor Audrey Young blogs from Parliament

National Party conference update

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Highlights from today's speeches:
Bill English on Helen Clark
"Her main job has been investigating her own ministers. That takes a while because she has to do everything three times.
First there's the whitewash, then there's the botched cover-up, and then there's the wash-up, which concludes that no one is accountable for anything to anyone. Just think about the pledge card, the Field affair, prison scandals, and David Benson-Pope."
Katherine Rich on Steve Maharey and the NCEA
"Under his oversight was the introduction of NCEA standard 1590 for Level 2 (in old terms 6th form). It's a standard for two credits entitled "Prepare and serve hot drinks to patients and/or residents."
Let's call it the 'credit for cups of tea' standard. Delegates will be interested to know that students are measured on whether drinks:
a) Are prepared to patients' or residents' requirements (ask whether they want tea, coffee or milo).
b) Are placed in the correct utensils (a cup or mug), and where the patient wants the drink.
c) That are served to take into account the patients' welfare or cultural values.
I've consulted Tau Henare on the final point. He confirms that serving cups of tea to Maori, as one example, is no different from serving cups of tea to anyone else."
Simon Power on the torture of 3-year-old Nia Glassie
"We must send the message that such acts are obscene. That can start with a review of the Sentencing Act as it relates to crimes against children. The age of the victim should be more than just an aggravating factor at sentencing.
Assault on a child attracts a maximum sentence of two years, yet wilful ill-treatment of an animal gets a maximum of three years.

Cruelty to a child attracts a maximum sentence of five years, yet an act of torture committed by a public official gets a maximum of fourteen years.
Our legislative priorities are wrong."
Nick Smith on the Resource Management Act
"The problem is that while Helen Clark is chanting 'sustainability' like a Hare Krishna her Government's laws and departments are making it harder than ever to advance renewable energy projects.
The Dobson hydro project on the West Coast was blocked by her Minister of Conservation, Chris Carter.
Project Aqua was killed off by Minister Marian Hobbs and then local MP David Parker.
The Wairau Hydro Scheme in Marlborough, granted consent last month after a tiresomely long 18-month hearing process, has now been appealed to the Environment Court by none other than the Department of Conservation."

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