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Canterbury’s future must be Canterbury’s choice

A Labour Government will restore the right of Cantabrians to make their own decisions about the future of their communities, Labour Leader David Cunliffe says.

“For almost four years Cantabrians have had the right to determine what they want for their communities over-ridden by a law which gives extraordinary powers to the Canterbury Earthquake Recovery Authority and the Earthquake Recovery Minister.

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Consents fall well short of targets

Auckland Council’s chief economist has published data showing Auckland is on track to build only half the number of houses the Council says the city needs to keep up with demand, says Labour’s housing spokesperson Phil Twyford.

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Labour to support gifted kids and special character schools

A Labour Government will help gifted children reach their full potential by properly funding dedicated and effective programmes outside their regular classes, Labour’s Education spokesperson Chris Hipkins says.

“Labour will restore a ring-fenced fund to support these programmes, as well as re-establish the Gifted Advisory Board to identify and share evidence-based best practise. We will also ensure teacher programmes for professional development in this area have sufficient funding.

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Healthy contribution from creative sector

A report prepared for a newly formed group that champions New Zealand’s creative industries highlights the contribution they make to the economy, and proves the sector is not a 'nice to have' that should only be supported in good times, Labour’s Arts, Culture and Heritage spokesperson Jacinda Ardern says.

“New Zealanders have long understood the role that the arts play in building our sense of place, well- being, and national identity.

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Please explain Minister… yet again

Primary Industries Minister Nathan Guy needs to explain what is going on with our export of sheep casings to China, Labour’s Primary Industries spokesperson Damien O’Connor says.

“Our exports of partially processed casings to China have been halted and no one at the Ministry of Primary Industries will say why. It does not appear to be a food safety issue.

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Ensuring insurance works for all into the future

Ensuring the insurance industry works as it should when Kiwis need it most is the driver behind Labour’s plans for an Insurance Commissioner, Labour’s EQC spokesperson Clayton Cosgrove says.

 “The Canterbury earthquakes have highlighted just how under-prepared both the industry and EQC were to handle a major disaster.

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Number of children in severe poverty reaches record high

There’s no cause for celebration with the latest Household Incomes Report showing the number of children living in severe poverty has reached its highest level this century, Labour’s Children’s spokesperson Jacinda Ardern says.

“New Zealand once valued itself as the one of the best countries, if not the best coun­try, in the world for bringing up chil­dren. Today's report shows this isn’t the case for too many Kiwi families and children.

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Survey shows parents want smaller class sizes

A new survey finding most parents believe class sizes are too big shows Labour is right to reduce them, Labour’s Education spokesperson Chris Hipkins says.

“The Post-Primary Teachers' Association survey of 750 people conducted by UMR Research found 54 per cent of people with dependent children believed class sizes were too big.

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No encore for the ‘Rock Star’ economy?

Another significant shortfall in the Government’s books suggests the economic recovery may have already passed most New Zealanders by, Labour’ Finance spokesperson David Parker says.

“With unemployment still high, wage rates stagnating and inequality widening, only the lucky few are benefiting from National’s much-hyped ‘rock star’ economy.

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Crime targets no excuse for fewer prosecutions

Police are being instructed to charge fewer people in order to meet National’s crime reduction targets, Labour says.

“Front line police and others in the criminal justice system are telling us police have had pressure put on by senior officers to reduce the number of charges they lay to meet the Government's targets,” Justice spokesperson Andrew Little says.

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