An issue of fairness that needs to be addressed
The Progressives were, like United Future, a kind of one-man party, represented by long-term parliamentarian Jim Anderton who won the electorate seat of Wigram, a suburb of Christchurch, several times. Therefore the Progressives were even called "Jim Anderton's Progressive Party".
Before the November 2011 election Jim Anderton stood for mayoralty in Christchurch but thanks to the September 2010 earthquake Bob Parker was re-elected, otherwise Jim Anderton would now be mayor of Christchurch. His voice is still heard in the city - but the Progessives have ceased to exist.
We keep this page on our website because Jim Anderton had great insight, and his views should be remembered to make it clear to younger decision-makers what the real issue of fairness is.
The Progressives were a left-wing party, traditionally supporting Labour. Most members - but Jim Anderton - were also members of Labour.
Here are excerpts from a letter, sent to a pensioner in September 2008, when Jim Anderton was Minister of Agriculture, Biosecurity, Fisheries, Forestry, and responsible for Public Trust, as well as Associate Minister of Health and Tertiary Education in a Labour-led Government under Prime Minister Helen Clark.
"I am familiar with this issue because of the volume of correspondence I have received concerning it and I have been fully briefed on it at my request.
As I understand it, it derives from longstanding and current interpretation of S. 70 of the Social Welfare Act pursuant to a number of international agreements to which New Zealand is a signatory.
We in the Progressive Party would like to see it resolved to the satisfaction of those affected if this can be achieved.
There is recognition within the Cabinet that the manner in which this section of the Act is administered at present needs to be reviewed, and that review is proceeding with some preliminary decisions already taken. This is, however, a very complex issue and this process is therefore taking some time.
Consequently there is consultation going on arising from an earlier review report on the same matter, with the Minister of Finance, The Treasury, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade, Inland Revenue, and the Retirement Commissioner. There will also be discussions with the Ministry of Pacific Island Affairs because of the many people of Pacific Islands birth who are affected arising from New Zealand's longstanding relationship with the Pacific Islands and the large Pacific community living here who, while they may have spent their working lives here, wish to retire to their original island homes. (Editor's note: this refers to the issue of portability, amended in 2009.)
There is a further report to the Cabinet Policy Committee dead-lined for the end of this year. We will respond more fully in the light of this review report rather than prior to it. But that said we emphasise our view that there is clearly an issue of fairness here which needs to be addressed."
Jim Anderton stood for mayoralty in Christchurch in late 2010. This meant the end of the Progressives. Still his letter is worth to be published here as it shows that as a politician you do not necessarily have to share the Government's ideas of misrepresented fairness.