ACT believes that the notion of a one-size-fits-all compulsory, government-owned monopoly insurance provider is not only delivering poor results because it is badly managed, but that the failings are endemic to the model.  Throughout its history the organisation has been subject to political interference, lurching between spending largesse and corrective restraint leaving nobody enduringly happy.  

Crime and Justice

ACT believes that protecting person and property is the first and most important job of the state.  While ACT fully supports rehabilitation and compassion for those who have done wrong, and supports improving efforts in these areas, the primary responsibility of the state is to innocent victims first.  ACT generally favours tough and principled sentencing that is a proportionate deterrent to the crimes it focuses on.


ACT believes that defence against external threats is the first and most important role of government.  It is the one activity where government has a unique ability to achieve a vital outcome.  ACT supports a strong defence force including adequate funding and an increase in reservists.


ACT believes that New Zealanders have been let down by successive governments that have retreated from the productivity enhancing reforms put in place during the period 1984-1993.  Lower productivity growth over the past decade has seriously damaged New Zealand’s ability to compete in the global talent market, which has been met by a continuing exodus of its own people.

Education: School and Pre-school

ACT believes that education at this level is an investment in human capital that the government rightly makes.  However, the delivery of the service has been captured, at the primary, intermediate, and secondary levels at least, by a providing bureaucracy that limits choice and innovation for the purpose of self-preservation.

Emissions Trading Scheme and Global Warming

New Zealand’s stated position has been that it would be a ‘fast follower’ in the global effort to reduce emissions.  In the event, few other nations have made significant efforts to reduce their emissions and yet New Zealand has become more of a leader than a follower by introducing the world’s only all all-sectors, all-gases scheme. 


ACT believes that an efficient supply of energy is essential to economic growth.  Currently the government’s conflicting roles as an owner and regulator in energy markets is undermining New Zealanders’ ability to obtain energy at least cost.  ACT would have the government divest its ownership of electricity generators and relax regulatory restrictions on the building of new generation capacity. 

Environment and Conservation

ACT believes that New Zealand’s environment is extremely valuable and faces real threats.  However the government’s current approach of introducing regulation to fix problems has substituted regulatory compliance for sound environmental custodianship.


Healthcare is an inherently difficult area for policy design.  The trade-offs between offering competition and choice on the one hand and incentivising consumers to make good use of funding on the other require careful analysis.  Nevertheless ACT believes that in recent years government policy has made matters worse than they need to be.  Competition and choice have been unduly suppressed and hospital productivity has actually decreased, while patients have been left frustrated.


ACT believes that housing has been made unnecessarily unaffordable by government regulation, primarily by restrictions on land use.  This unaffordability has multiple social and economic impacts, and leads to unjust wealth transfers.  At the same time any sudden reform risks a socially disruptive transfer away from those who have invested in the current market.  What is required is a relaxation of land use restriction that will return New Zealand to greater housing affordability over a period of time.


ACT is and always has been the pro-immigration party.  ACT believes that immigration is a part of our natural heritage, and should continue to be so.  However, ACT also believes that government policy should seek to ensure that immigration remains a good deal for the domestic population.  To this end ACT supports the points system for new immigrants, ensuring that immigrants have readier access to work and do not have easy access to welfare, and lowering the tax burden so that the best immigrants may be attracted. 

Red Tape and Regulation

ACT believes that relieving the regulatory burden placed on New Zealanders and their businesses is one of, if not the most urgent, objectives that any government should have.  Previous periods of deregulation greatly improved economic efficiency and overall welfare, however great regulatory uncertainty and poor quality regulations continue to stifle wealth creation.  The law making process simply is not robust enough to produce predictable and sensible regulation.


ACT believes that Roads, and the public and private transport that they facilitate are one of the most important infrastructural assets that New Zealand has.  Unfortunately regulatory restrictions and poor funding models have restricted road building below optimal levels, imposing large time costs on personal and business trips.

Three Strikes & Jail for Burglary

The state’s principal job is to protect citizens from personal harm and provide for the secure enjoyment of their property. To deter crime, the state must ensure that it is detected and punished. This requires an adequately funded police force, a court system that delivers justice promptly and penalties that are properly enforced.

Treaty of Waitangi and Race Relations

ACT believes that equality before the law is a cornerstone of a free society.  Even with the noblest of intentions, legally privileging some New Zealanders over others with parliamentary seats and other government appointed positions is an erosion of that freedom.  Furthermore, such policies undermine the dignity and independence of the very people whom they are supposed to help.

Welfare and Family

ACT believes that the welfare system New Zealand developed from the 1970s onward has been a social and economic disaster.  While the intention of reducing hardship was noble, the incentive effects of the system have overwhelmed the resource provision effects.  The policies have led to dependency and indignity for hundreds of thousands of New Zealanders, with an intergenerational dimension.