UnitedFuture leader Peter Dunne says the Party should be recognised for its boldness, not derided as bland.
Speaking at UnitedFuture’s Annual General meeting in Auckland today, Mr Dunne said that being in the liberal, modern centre ground of politics today “was bold and challenging.”
“It is bold, not bland, to fight for compassion over intolerance.
“It is bold, not bland, to base policies on reason over prejudice.
“It is bold, not bland, to believe that individual privacy needs to be cherished, not compromised in the interests of the state.
“It is bold, not bland, to argue for significant constitutional reform to reflect the modern, diverse nature of New Zealand.
“And it is bold, not bland, to stand for equal access to opportunity for all, no matter who they are, or where they come from,” he said.
Mr Dunne said that as a Government support partner, UnitedFuture has a number of achievements this year, consistent with those values.
- The restoration of 10 year Passports
- The biggest reform of the Fire Service in nearly 70 years
- The forthcoming review of the Pokie Machines sector of the gambling industry
- The release of new, more compassionate National Drugs Policy
- The updating the national medicines strategy, Medicines Strategy
- Leading New Zealand’s efforts to become one of the most digitally advanced governments in the world.
But, Mr Dunne added, UnitedFuture’s position as a Government support partner, and his own role as a Minister, have not prevented the Party from opposing Government policies which contravene UnitedFuture’s principles.
“I am pleased that UnitedFuture’s opposition has stopped the Government weakening the principles of the Resource Management Act.
“I am pleased to have spoken out early about New Zealand’s too slow responses to both the international refugee crisis, and the treatment of New Zealand detainees in Australia, because it was right to do so.
“And I am pleased on a couple of occasions to have supported Labour Bills that made sense, and fitted our principles and policy,” he said.
Mr Dunne congratulated the UnitedFuture Board for the renewal process it had initiated over the last year, and urged it to continue.
“This is refreshing the Party – not just for our sakes – but for the sakes of future generations, because it is vital that the liberal centrist role United Future performs, working alongside the Government to achieve good policy, is maintained.
“Of course we will have our differences from time to time – we are different Parties after all – but those differences will not stop us continuing to work positively with our government colleagues and other support Parties to achieve the best we can for all New Zealanders,” he said.
In the light of next week’s Paris Climate Change Conference, Mr Dunne also repeated his call for Parliament as a whole not just the Government to be involved in setting the country’s national emissions reductions.
“Climate change is the single biggest issue facing all countries today – our response has to be about securing our future, not just protecting the present, and therefore the reduction targets we adopt have to be enduring, and based on the widest possible political and public support,” he said.