Members’ Newsletter for August 2015 – A Clear Vision For Our Future

“WE BELIEVE THE ROLE OF GOVERNMENT IS TO CREATE AN ENVIRONMENT IN WHICH FUTURE GENERATIONS OF NEW ZEALANDERS WILL HAVE THE OPPORTUNITY TO THRIVE, NO MATTER WHO THEY ARE OR WHERE THEY COME FROM.”

This “Why Statement” encapsulates why the UnitedFuture party exists and how we’re different from other parties. It is the lens through which we will evaluate policy and will influence how we support, or seek to amend, government legislation.

It reflects our core principles, including:

  • The desirability of working constructively with the government of the day to achieve our objectives
  • Our focus on the environment, which extends not only to the outdoors and our natural environment, but also the economic and social environments we live within
  • Ensuring that what we do today will positively affect future generations of New Zealanders, in terms of their lifestyle, economic and social opportunities as well as their safety and security in a rapidly changing world
  • Our fundamental belief in an open, tolerant and diverse society

We know this message resonates with many like-minded New Zealanders and encourage you to spread the word. The party needs to grow its membership, financial resources and, as importantly, awareness amongst all New Zealanders of what we stand for. This project starts here, today.

Contents

  1. Board Report – Exciting Changes Are Essential For The Party
  2. President’s Report – The Process of Renewal Continues
  3. Auckland Branch Meeting Invitation – Party Leader Peter Dunne to Attend – 30th August
  4. Auckland Branch Report – Council Funding Model Needs New Thinking
  5. Leader’s Report – A Decade Of Achievement in Government

1. Board Report – Exciting Changes Are Essential For The Party

For the last eight months, UnitedFuture Party Board members have been quietly looking at a way to expand our vision, our hope that we have got something that people will want as a Party.

The cyclical nature of political party relevance is all clear in our minds as we hear of falling outs and possible demise of minor parties.

To be relevant means we must have something that other contenders for parliament do not have. It means we must consider if indeed we are up to that task.

The answer for us was, yes, we do have place in the contest; yes, we do believe in what we have will inspire voters to consider us as an authenticate voice inside the New Zealand political landscape.

As a new Board member I have become excited. I am enjoying listening and working through the issues we believe ought be heard over the next two years, towards the 2017 election.

Come along for the ride. Let us know your thoughts. It’s your Party after all.

Quentin Todd, Executive Board Member.

2. President’s Report – The Process of Renewal Continues

We hope all members appreciate these regular updates of your party and I do encourage you all to contact any board member if you have an issue or policy idea you wish to bring up. Your board has met again since the last newsletter to continue the process of reviewing the party structure and the WHY as part of the rebuild promised after our poor showing at the last election. You have not seen much mention of the party in the media of late but until we get our new party structure and new look in place it is better we avoid the media limelight.

This process has been extensive and allowed us to focus on the real issues that party members want us to take into the next election.  Already you can see some of that work starting to show up with a new WHY statement and a new website. Until we change over the domain names you can view it at www.unitednz.co.nz

The AGM has been scheduled for 18th October in Auckland and you will be notified of full details shortly. We will be calling for nominations for three Board positions as our constitution requires the three longest serving board members to stand down each year.

So please put your name forward and come along to the AGM, and bring a friend!

Please enjoy this newsletter.

Alan Simmons, Party President.

3. Auckland Branch Meeting Invitation – Party Leader Peter Dunne to Attend – 30th August

The Auckland Branch meeting on 30th August will be discussing and aiming to finalise their “Manifesto for Auckland” in preparation for Auckland Council elections in 2016.

The Council seats are there to be contested and the UnitedFuture team would like you to be involved in creating a better future.

If you would like to learn more and take part, then join Peter Dunne, Damian Light and others at 25 Hampton Drive on Sunday 30th August, 1.30 to 3.30pm.

Please email  Damian Light to confirm your attendance:damianlight@xtra.co.nz

4. Auckland Branch Report – Council Funding Model Needs New Thinking

Board Member Damian Light represented UnitedFuture at a public meeting on Auckland rates rises on 10 June.

As Councils around NZ set their budgets rates are set to rise again.

The Auckland example is a little more complex than simply driven by house prices. The feedback from Aucklanders during budget consultation was that they wanted more money spent on transport but so far the government has refused to co-operate with requests for a motorway toll or fuel tax. To bridge the gap the council added an additional levy. The end result of this (plus a promise to reduce debt) is a significant rates rise for most Aucklanders.

UnitedFuture was invited to talk at a public meeting and I represented the party.  I spoke to the need for investment but the unfairness of the current rates system. We definitely stood out as the only one talking about the cause of the issue (the system) rather than just demanding the rates drop. I was told afterwards that it was “refreshing” to see focus on the real problem.

It’s been UnitedFuture policy for some time to completely review the purpose and funding of local government. We need to ensure that accountability and authority has been granted to the right level. We’re strong believers in localism – giving more decision making to local communities.

Part of this is reviewing the rates system to try and reduce the burden on ratepayers. The current system assumes that because someone owns a property that’s worth a significant amount of money they must have the funds to pay significant rates. The truth is that most peoples properties were worth less when they brought them and the value is tied up in the asset itself (not accessible until it’s sold).

Put simply, the current system isn’t sustainable or fair. It’s interesting to note that Mayor Len Brown made similar comments shortly afterwards.

A good place to start is the Local Government NZ discussion paper on funding which explores some options including what is happening around the globe.

We’re still working through the details of what a new system might look like but at this stage the key is to have the discussion. If you’re interested or have some ideas, let me know!

See NZ Herald article: www.nzherald.co.nz/nz/news/article.cfm?c_id=1&objectid=11462989

Damian Light, Executive Board and Auckland Branch Member.

5. Leader’s Report – A Decade Of Achievement in Government

If anyone ever doubted what UnitedFuture stands for, or has achieved over the years, then a quick look at the “Short History” published recently on our website, should quell those doubts.

What it sets out very clearly is the contribution to Government that we have made, and continue to make, in each of the last five Parliaments, under both Labour-led and National-led Governments.  It is an unique record of achievement, both in  scale and continuity, which is not matched by any other small party in Parliament.

While others talk big, and deliver little, UnitedFuture has just on got with the job. So, to those who may question our relevance, or whether we even deserve to be in Parliament, let alone part of the Government, our history, provides both the answer and the promise for the future. Our record sets out our purpose and our relevance.

The short history of UnitedFuture can be seen at: www.unitednz.co.nz/?page_id=270.  Please read it and share it with friends, family and colleagues, and invite them to become of UnitedFuture – the party that has made and continues to make a real difference for all New Zealanders, whoever they are, and wherever they come from.

Peter Dunne,  UnitedFuture Party Leader.

UnitedFuture: We believe the role of government is to create an environment in which future generations of New Zealanders will have the opportunity to thrive, no matter who they are or where they come from.

Click here to join and/or donate to the party

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E: membership@unitedfuture.org.nz

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