Article Title:"There is no lack of vision here" - Maryan Street
Category:Features
Author or Credit:Maryan Street
Published on:28th March 2007 - 12:00 pm
Published by:GayNZ.com
NDHA link:http://ndhadeliver.natlib.govt.nz/ArcAggregator/arcView/frameView/IE3535607/http://www.gaynz.com/articles/publish/32/article_1645.php
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Story ID:1645
Text:Maryan Street I enjoy these opportunities to put a Labour column in front of GayNZ.com's readers. This week is especially significant to us because it precedes the implementation of several important policy areas on 1 April. Labour's vision is a fair and just society, based on equal opportunity, productive and fair workplaces, inclusive and tolerant communities, the eradication of poverty, and sufficient support for those unable to work to allow for dignity in their daily living. To aid this vision, 1 April sees several Labour commitments come into being: four weeks annual leave becomes a universal reality for all workers, not just those who work in privileged or strongly represented occupations; The final roll out of the Working for Families tax credit package, meaning another $10 per week per child to assist in supporting family incomes; A 5% increase in superannuation for older people, plus an increase for those on benefits; An increase in the minimum wage for adults from $10.75 per hour, to $11.75 per hour, an important increase for the most vulnerable workers; The youth minimum wage goes up as well – this is the 8th time in 8 years that the Labour-led Government has increased the minimum wage, and it is the biggest increase so far. This is what you would expect of a Labour Government, and this is what you get. These issues are of importance to the GLBTI communities. Not only are many of us struggling to raise families, and we are, but we also care about what happens to others who are not as privileged as some of us are. While we have issues of particular importance to us in our rainbow communities, we are not oblivious to other social, economic and political issues in the society around us because we are in and of that society. Chris Finlayson last week accused us - his Labour opponents - of being negative and visionless. That was unfair. I, for one, welcome Mr Finlayson's contribution to New Zealand politics. He is an able and experienced lawyer and will bring much-needed depth to the National Party's policy-making processes. I look forward to his clever advocacy of gay issues within the National Party as well – they could use it! The Labour vision requires effort and application over time. We are seeing a reduction in poverty of quite dramatic proportions, but we have a distance to go. We are seeing an improvement in wages, but we have more to do to lift our economy to a high wage one. We are building more state houses, but we have further to go in this area too, as we try to make home ownership not just a dream through efforts like Kiwisaver and the WelcomeHome Loans Scheme. We are trying to build an inclusive, less violent society where difference is not just tolerated but celebrated. There is no lack of vision here. MARYAN STREET MP Maryan Street - 28th March 2007    
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