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ING's 'Good Offer' Claim Completely Laughable

Posted on 14 Jul 2009

Ninety-five percent of the investors who had funds frozen with ING may have accepted the company's offer yesterday, but that doesn't mean that they are all happy about it - it just means they were backed into a corner and felt they had no other option, ACT New Zealand Finance Company Spokesman John Boscawen said today.

"ING Chief Executive Helen Troup's claim, that the high level of acceptance 'signals that it was a good offer', is completely laughable," Mr Boscawen said.

"These investors were offered no real choice at all - either accept ING's offer now and recoup some losses, or await the Commerce Commission's decision with no guarantee of getting anything. When faced with such a bleak alternative who wouldn't take the offer?

"These investors trusted ING's assurances that these were medium-to-low-risk investments and some were told it was almost as safe as keeping their money in the bank. Without these, most would not have invested their money - which, for some, represented most of their life savings.

"To make matters worse the majority of those who accepted ING's offer yesterday were only able to do so on the condition that they waive their right to seek further compensation should ING be found to have misled investors. This is outrageous.

"However, a small minority of investors can claim additional compensation until July 31 - around 2,350 ANZ investors are yet to complain to the Banking Ombudsman and can do so if they feel they were misled. It is essential that they lodge their claim before July 31, otherwise even this avenue will be denied them.

"That's also why I am urging the Commerce Select Committee to urgently hear investors' submissions and will support a Private Member's Bill to protect investors from ING's blackmail tactics,” Mr Boscawen said.

ENDS

ACT Welcomes Labour Support on ING/ANZ

Posted on 13 Jul 2009

It is heartening to see that Commerce Select Committee Chair Lianne Dalziel has joined me in my campaign to ensure that New Zealanders who have lost money through the ING/ANZ Diversified Yield or Regular Income Funds are able to recover their losses should the Commerce Commission find that ING/ANZ misled investors, ACT New Zealand Finance Company Spokesman John Boscawen today.

"Just days ago, Ms Dalziel announced that she will submit a Private Member's Bill to protect the rights of the 14,000 investors that have lost money through these funds should ING/ANZ be found culpable," Mr Boscawen said.

"Of those investors, 2,800 invested through ANZ and to date approximately 450 have lodged a complaint with the Banking Ombudsman. The Ombudsman has upheld two thirds of the complaints received.

"ANZ investors who have accepted today's offer will now have only until July 31 to lodge a complaint with the Banking Ombudsman. Investors who miss that deadline will be deemed as having waived their right to recourse. In addition complainants who settle with ING/ANZ today will lose their right to further reimbursement should the Commerce Commission rule against ING/ANZ.

"This is completely unfair, and I have been working to protect the rights and interests of those who invested with ING/ANZ in good faith. I have been trying for some months to get the Commerce Committee to hear from investors who have lost money over the past two years from failed investments, with no success.

"With Ms Dalziel's support, however, this should change. I have today written to her, and other Select Committee members, urging that this be added to the agenda for our meeting scheduled July 23.

"Notwithstanding that Ms Dalziel may not have completed drafting her proposed Bill or that it is yet to be drawn from the Ballot - there is no reason why the Commerce Committee cannot hear evidence on the proposed Bill and the issues that relate to it or from investors at our next meeting on July 23.

"The Commerce Select Committee cannot ignore this issue any longer," Mr Boscawen said.

ENDS

Heather Roy's Diary

Posted on 10 Jul 2009

The World Is Watching
People who have moved house since the 2008 election have until the end of today to update their electoral details if they wish to vote in the upcoming referendum on the controversial Anti-Smacking law.

From July 31-August 21, New Zealanders will be asked to answer the question: "Should a smack, as part of good parental correction, be a criminal offence in New Zealand?"

The anti-smacking issue has split the New Zealand public from Parliament - which voted 113-eight in support of the Anti-Smacking Bill in 2007, and ignored polls showing that 80 percent of New Zealanders opposed the legislation at the time. People could be forgiven for thinking that the politicians just aren't listening.

The Anti-Smacking Bill (repeal of Section 59 of the Crimes Act) was promoted as the solution to the terrible abuse suffered by too many children. It was believed by some that, by making it a crime for parents to smack their children, levels of abuse would drop - and we would see no more cases like that of Lillybing, Delcelia Witika and James Whakaruru.

The debate has relied on emotion rather than reason, and focussed on rules rather than results. Before this legislation we already had laws in place that were explicit about violent behaviour and which imposed punishments on those who chose to inflict violence on others. And, in the 25 months since this law was passed, 13 children have been killed - including Jyniah Te Awa, Nia Glassie, and Tahani Mahomed.

Thanks to this law, good parents, who wouldn't dream of abusing their children, are now guilty of committing a crime by lightly smacking as part of good parenting. Meanwhile, violent abusers continue to beat children to a pulp.

But, while it was unrealistic to think this behaviour would change with the implementation of a new law, will State intrusion into good parents' homes end? National flip-flopped on the Bill after opposing it, and didn't support its own MP Chester Borrows' amendments to make it clear a light smack for the purpose of correction would be within the law.

Worse, it was made clear that the decision as to whether someone had acted inappropriately or not would be left for police to make on a case-by-case basis. Good laws must be clear, enforceable, and routinely enforced.

Now ACT stands alone in Parliament as the only Party campaigning for parents' rights. We are re-introducing Chester Borrows' amendments as a Members Bill in the name of ACT MP John Boscawen. This Bill won't take us back to when people could beat children with a weapon, tool or implement without being prosecuted - but it will allow parents to give a light smack for correction so long as the result is no more than ‘transitory' or ‘trifling' (wording recommended by the Law Commission).

ACT is also alone in championing democratic process. The Prime Minister has indicated that, despite over 300,000 people signing a petition to hold this referendum, the law won't be repealed regardless of the referendum's results unless he can be persuaded it's not working.

And it is not just New Zealanders awaiting the outcome of this referendum. In just over a week I have been interviewed by Australia's ABC Radio National Breakfast programme (http://www.abc.net.au/rn/breakfast/stories/2009/2617442.htm), and quoted by the ‘Australian' newspaper (http://www.theaustralian.news.com.au/story/0,25197,25730591-25918,00.htm...) and US online news service mensnewsdaily.com (http://mensnewsdaily.com/glennsacks/2009/07/08/kiwis-to-vote-on-anti-sma...).

The world is watching - to see whether New Zealand will tolerate State intrusion into homes, and to see if we will uphold the principles of democracy.
As both a mother and a politician, I want to see an end to the abhorrent abuse suffered by far too many children in our country. But a law that targets the wrong people, and which the police do not even have to enforce, is no solution.

The upcoming referendum is the first step toward repealing the Anti-Smacking law and finding that solution. It's time we focussed on the behaviour of the thugs and bullies - the real perpetrators of child abuse.

Lest We Forget - Sinking of the Rainbow Warrior (July 10 1985)
On Wednesday I visited former military prison Ardmore - now just a concrete pad - which was used for a short time for incarceration of the French agents responsible for the sinking of the Greenpeace vessel Rainbow Warrior.

Involved in protests over French nuclear testing in the Pacific, Rainbow Warrior was docked in Auckland before heading to another protest at Mururoa Atoll. On July 10 1985 two bombs set by French agents Alain Mafart and Dominique Prieur tore the ship apart, killing crewmember Fernando Pereira.

The agents were arrested on July 24 and New Zealand was outraged: although the attack was on Greenpeace, it was carried out in our territory by a supposedly friendly nation. The agents were charged with murder, pleaded guilty to manslaughter and sentenced to 10 years' imprisonment.

The case embarrassed the French government and resulted in a deterioration in New Zealand-French relations, with France threatening an economic embargo of New Zealand's exports to the EEC if the agents weren't released. It also prompted a flotilla of private New Zealand yachts to sail to Mururoa to protest the French test.

In 1986 France agreed to pay $13 million and apologise to New Zealand; in return, Mafart and Prieur would be detained at the French military base on Hao Atoll for three years. However, both agents spent less than two years on the atoll and had both returned to France by May 1988. As this violated the agreement, France was required to pay further reparations.

ENDS

Defence Review 09 Momentum Starting To Build

Posted on 07 Jul 2009

Just over a week after its launch, the public consultation phase of Defence Review 2009 has been received well and has already drawn a positive response, Associate Minister of Defence Heather Roy said today.

"The Defence Review 2009 public consultation document - released at Te Papa on June 26 - has proved to be an effective tool in gathering the views of the public on the direction of the New Zealand Defence Force (NZDF) into the future," Mrs Roy said.

"Copies of the document and the Review 09 brochure, both containing a submission form, have been distributed at 491 schools throughout the country - as well as to all public libraries in New Zealand.

"Copies can also be obtained from local RSAs, Waiouru’s National Army Museum Te Mata Toa, and the Air Force Museum of New Zealand in Christchurch. Submissions can also be made at the Ministry of Defence website www.defence.govt.nz.

"The NZDF is an integral part of New Zealand society and belongs to all New Zealanders. Defence Review 2009 is an opportunity for all Kiwis to play a part in determining the path that the NZDF will take out to 2035.

"I encourage all New Zealanders young and old to take up this opportunity and make a submission to ensure that their views and input are recorded for consideration," Mrs Roy said.

ENDS

New Zealand On The Global Stage Into The Future

Posted on 04 Jul 2009

Hon Heather Roy speech to the Model United Nations Conference; Rutherford House, Victoria University, Thorndon, Wellington; Saturday, July 4 2009.

Tena koutou, tena koutou, tena koutou katoa.

United Nations Youth Association President Matt McGrath, Model United Nations Coordinator Nigel Smith, Honourable Delegates of this Model United Nations, invited guests, ladies and gentlemen.

This is the 10th annual New Zealand Model United Nations conference run by the United Nations Youth Association of New Zealand. It is also 10 years since that association - of which you are all now members - was established.

You have come a long way. Congratulations on continuing to educate young New Zealanders about the important issues facing the world - a world that your generation will soon lead.

As a Wellington-based MP I welcome you all to our nation's capital from all around New Zealand. As a Minister in our Government I want to remind you of the importance of being aware of, and engaged with, the world around you.

I know you will make the most of this opportunity to prepare yourselves for leadership of this country, and of the world - starting today with setting aside your own personal opinions and views to represent the issues and challenges of your 'adopted' countries signified by the flags in front of you.

It is very fitting that the United Nations will play such a central role in your next few days, as it plays a central role in our world affairs. New Zealand has often engaged successfully with the UN - both to pursue our own interests, and to advance the interests of humankind.

As a small country in the South Pacific, with a population of a little over four million, we have had an influence seemingly beyond our means. New Zealand has been able to punch above its weight in this way because, in times of global uncertainty, small countries like New Zealand rely even more heavily on an effective international rules-based system to deal with issues of great importance to us.

That is what the United Nations provides. Let me give you an example: a UN Commission on the Limits of the Continental Shelf recently affirmed New Zealand's right to around 1.7 million square kilometres of extended continental shelf seabed. Thanks to the UN, no one can challenge our rights to whatever natural resources might be on the seabed that we control.

We have had to work hard to protect interests like these - no one else will do it for us. But, because we speak at the United Nations we are heard by the global community, we do not have to work alone.

Rather than being a lone voice in a world without rules we have a broad base on which to build partnerships as, and where, they are needed. We can act in concert with the global community - from the United Kingdom to Uruguay, from Canada to Costa Rica - to develop balanced, coordinated approaches by the United Nations system to global challenges. We do this for our own good, but we have also often taken a leadership role for the common good.

An example of this is the lead role in international affairs that former Prime Minister Helen Clark has recently taken up in her appointment as head of the United Nations Development Programme. Miss Clark will require considerable skill to uphold the programmes functions of poverty reduction, improving democratic governance, crisis prevention, alleviating environmental degradation and stemming the tide of HIV/AIDS.

All politics aside, it was with good wishes and pride in the success of a fellow Kiwi that we recently farewelled Miss Clark form our Parliament and congratulated her on her appointment to the third-ranked position in the UN.

As well as Miss Clark's appointment, other New Zealanders have reached the highest levels of the United Nations - Sir Kenneth Keith currently sits as a judge on the International Court of Justice, the judicial organ of the United Nations.

It is good to hear that a Model Security Council is to be incorporated into your conference this year. This is an important institution to consider here, as it holds much influence within the UN system. New Zealand has been an effective player within this institution also - we were last on the Security Council from 1993-94. During this time the world was confronted with the tragic humanitarian situations in the former Yugoslavia, Rwanda and Somalia.

New Zealand - taking our turn as President of the Security Council - was among the first to support the idea of an expanded United Nations presence in Rwanda when details of the terrible genocide emerged.

Our principled positions and hard work on many tough issues earned us widespread respect during our tenure on the Council. In that case, we did our bit to uphold the promise of the United Nations Charter: "to save succeeding generations from the scourge of war."

But, as I'm sure you will learn, interacting with the Security Council is not completely without regard for our national interests. A seat at the Council also serves our national interest in a number of ways.

Working daily on pressing international issues with the US, China, the UK, France and Russia presents an unrivalled opportunity to develop and enhance our bilateral ties with those countries - the world's most powerful nations.

A seat on the Security Council automatically bestows a position of leadership - particularly on regional security matters. In this regard, our regional ties are strengthened.

Further, our economic interests are best served when we have our political relationships in good order. We have to work hard to convince other countries that we are worth dealing with and a constructive role on the Security Council presents significant opportunities to do so.

So, the United Nations has much to offer. Our engagement with the UN advances both our national interests, and the common global good. And it is for this reason that our engagement continues.

In September, Prime Minister John Key will travel to New York for the annual meeting of the UN General Assembly where he will set out our ambitions for the future of the UN.

I don't want to, however, leave you with a rose-tinted - and, thus, false - impression of this organisation. The United Nations is far from perfect. Even as we speak here today negotiations are taking place in New York to reform the Security Council, in order to make it more effective and more representative of the broader United Nations membership.

I encourage you to take these issues into consideration in your Model Security Council. But don't be disheartened if solutions are slow in coming - this has been the subject of debate for 14 years in New York with little progress!

In fact, when playing the key role in the writing of the UN Charter 64 years ago, former Prime Minister Peter Fraser argued against the establishment of permanent members of the Security Council with veto powers.

He may well have been right. In 2009, the Permanent Members of the Security Council are defined by the fact that they were the victors of World War II - even though, 64 years later, the world has changed; the power and political position of various states waxes and wanes.

Perhaps it is time to consider whether emerging powers should play a greater role in the Security Council. This is a matter that you will be asked to consider over the course of the conference.

I said earlier that New Zealand was one of the first countries to advocate for intervention in Rwanda. This is true, and it is something of which we should be proud. But it does not change the fact that the United Nations, collectively, acted too late to prevent the genocide of 800,000 Rwandan Tutsis.

While these failures are serious, however, we do not need to reinvent the wheel - just improve it. And there is much to indicate that these improvements are possible.

Today, more than 100,000 UN Peacekeepers are in the field on 15 operations actively preventing the spread of conflict. These personnel are drawn from many different member-states, and serve to demonstrate the level of commitment and confidence that those states have in the UN.

I'm proud, as Associate Defence Minister - and as a member of the New Zealand Army - that New Zealand has an illustrious history in this regard also.

We welcome the new US Administration's interest in multilateralism and will work closely with them and other friends to make the UN more accountable and effective, so it can fulfil its true potential.

It is important that New Zealand is ready to continue this work into the next generation. There are significant challenges to grapple with. How to future-proof the UN requires, for example, a solution to integrating the growing number of non-state actors and the future relevance of the nation-state. Trans-border issues are numerous and complex. For instance, cyberspace - the entire magnetic spectrum - is now recognised battlespace for all the major powers. What is it that will spark future conflict - a possible World War III? The answers might be surprising - the lack of fresh water? Antarctica and its resources? Space? These are all thoughts for you to ponder.

You can imagine now, even here in New Zealand, the challenges that we have in our Defence Review of contemplating the environment out to 2035.

I wish you all the best as you go into two days of debate in the various committees of the UN General Assembly, the Security Council, and in your Plenary session on Tuesday.

While I do not expect your task over the next few days to be easy, I do hope that your energy and commitment will contribute some fresh perspective on the multitude of issues that the UN faces today - and, most importantly, uphold and represent those ideals that were written into its Charter in 1945.

I would like to thank you for this opportunity to talk to you here today, and I wish you well for New Zealand Model United Nations 2009.

ENDS

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