Recommendations by the Human Rights Commission for a cross-party accord, a national housing plan and guidelines for rent control measures in the aftermath of a disaster have been rejected by ACT Leader John Banks.
“Christchurch people tell me that they are impatient with slow moving bureaucracy. They want less of it not more, he said.
“While this 184 page report cites the Productivity Commission report on housing affordability, it misses the central lesion of that report: land use controls by local government are driving up the prices of homes by rationing the land.
“I actually think the Productivity Commission pulled its punches. The Resource Management Act is failing New Zealand as planning law.
“The Human Rights Commission completely misses the point that the RMA is making homes unaffordable; the RMA is destroying jobs and economic growth. It does not adequately recognise or protect property rights.
“If we want more and better homes we need to be a wealthier country where people can get ahead under their own steam. The RMA is stopping that.
“The do-gooder Human Rights Commission report suggests that more government planning would solve the problem that current planning creates.
“I think the Human Rights Commission’s rights based analysis of the housing affordability issue is unhelpful. We can’t make a rule that makes housing affordable.
“The housing affordability crisis is an issue of supply and demand. That’s basic economics.
“It will not be fixed by more planning, more rules, rent controls, changing tenure in residential tenancies or political party accords” Mr Banks said.
The High Court Decision
As I have said, anybody who knows me would not believe that I would knowingly file a false electoral return.
My focus and energy must be on serving the people of the Epsom electorate and working through the legal process to clear my name.
I will not be saying anything more about the case as the matter is before the Court.
The ACT Party
As leader of the ACT Party it is my duty to consider the best interests of my Party as we move into election year.
I am simply not able to dedicate all my energy and ability on returning ACT to Parliament in bigger numbers next year while fighting to clear my name.
I have therefore concluded that the interests of the ACT Party are best served by indicating today that I will not be seeking my Party’s nomination as the candidate for Epsom in 2014.
This allows ACT to select a new candidate to put before the people of Epsom for the next election. That candidate will have the maximum opportunity to apply their energy and ability on earning the confidence of the people of Epsom.
I will continue to serve as ACT Party Leader until our Annual Conference in early March where I will stand down.
This allows the ACT Party to look to a new Leader to take it into the election campaign next year. That Leader can focus on building a great team to put in front of New Zealanders and earn Party votes for ACT.
As I have said, until the election, I will continue to serve the Epsom electorate as the local MP to the best of my ability.
This announcement today does not affect the commitments made between National and ACT in our confidence and supply agreement.
The next election will be close.
Like last time, ACT and Epsom can make the difference.
I believe in a country where everybody has the freedom to achieve.
Whether New Zealand can be a more open, prosperous, and enterprising nation, with our focus firmly on the future, will depend in part on ACT succeeding.
I believe the decisions announced today help move us towards that success.
“I welcome Minister of Education Hon Hekia Parata’s announcement of the second application round for Partnership Schools | Kura Hourua to open day one, term one, in 2015” ACT Leader John Banks said today.
“Partnership Schools are here to stay. They will be a permanent part of our education system.
“I don’t believe any future Government will abandon New Zealand’s world leading model, Mr Banks said.
“What Partnership Schools do is give educators greater flexibility in return of greater accountability for getting better results for some of New Zealand’s most vulnerable students.
“What is not to like in that?
“These learners deserve to be a productive part of New Zealand’s future. I want them to know that we value them and their potential.
“They deserve the opportunity of a world class education. Partnership Schools help make that opportunity real for more of our young.
“I want parents to know that Partnership Schools offer them a greater choice to find the school best suited to the needs of their child.
“I am also confident that just as the first five partnership schools are attracting interest from dedicated, committed educators, the next five will too.
“To the PPTA and NZEI unions I say get over it and get on board if you really value education and talented educators,” Mr Banks said.
“National’s plan to subsidise the sale of state houses to first home buyers in provincial areas will do nothing to tackle the housing affordability crisis which is occurring in our biggest cities, ACT Leader John Banks said today.
Housing Minister Nick Smith today unveiled a plan which would see around 400 state houses located in provincial areas sold to first home buyers. The buyers could receive a direct subsidy of up to $20,000 to purchase the homes.
“Vacant state houses should be sold outright, with no subsidy, Mr Banks said.
“It is a very poor use of tax payers’ money to subsidise first home buyers in areas where the housing affordability crisis is the least pronounced.
“People struggling to buy a modest home in Auckland or Christchurch will feel aggrieved that those in much more affordable areas are being given a hand out by the Government.
“In addition, a plan that only focuses on the state house sector fails to tackle the issue of rising house prices in our biggest cities.
“The majority of people live in owner occupied housing or private rentals. That is the sector of the market that needs to be tackled.
“ACT’s Freedom to Build policy would significantly increase the supply of land in areas like Auckland, so developers can start responding to the high demand and build more houses.
“A core part of this policy is to significantly reform the RMA so that people can more easily subdivide their land and build on it.
“We should not be giving tax payer subsidies for people to buy their first homes in relatively affordable areas. We should be removing the current restrictions that are stopping enough new homes be being built”, Mr Banks said.
“国家党出售公房给首次购房者并给予补贴的政策对解决大城市住房负担危机起不到任何作用。” 行动党领袖 John Banks 今天说。
房屋部长 Nick Smith 今天宣布推出一项新计划， 该计划预期将分布在各省级区域的400套公房出售给首次购房者。 购房者将得到最多 $20,000 的直接购房补贴。
“闲置的公房应该没有补贴而直接出售。” Banks 先生说。
行动党的“开放建设限制 （Freedom to Build)”政策将显著增加奥克兰等地的土地供应，开发商将响应高住房需求，建设更多房屋。
我们不应让纳税人给那些房价相对较低地区的首套购房者补贴。 我们应该做的是移除现有的限制足够新房兴建的政策。” Banks 先生说。
Today’s announcement of the first Partnership Schools is a result of ACT’s Confidence and Supply Agreement with National.
Underpinning our agreement is the mutual goal of ensuring every New Zealander receives a high quality education.
It is a great achievement for ACT, with support from our colleagues in National and the Maori Party, to be standing here today.
The successful schools are located in Auckland and Northland and will open in time for day one, Term One of the 2014 school year.
The five schools are:
The Rise UP Academy in Mangere East, South Auckland; a co-educational primary school for years 1- 6
South Auckland Middle School in South Auckland; a co-educational middle school for years 7 - 10
Te Kura Hourua ki Whangaruru in Whangaruru, Northland; a co-educational secondary school for years 9 – 13
Vanguard Military School in Albany, Auckland; a co-educational senior secondary school for years 11 - 13
- Te Kura Hourua or Whangarei Terenga Paraoa,Whangarei, Northland; a co-educational secondary school for years 7 - 13.
Congratulations to the school sponsors. Today is a celebration of their achievement.
They successfully navigated the high hurdles and tight hoops of the application process and I am confident that they will make a difference to our priority learners.
Educational success is the ladder for social mobility.
That’s why ACT believes parents should be able to choose the education option best suited to their child’s needs.
Partnership Schools will provide more choice in New Zealand’s education system, and more importantly, more choice for priority students.
Partnership Schools have greater freedom and flexibility to innovate and engage with their students in return for stronger accountability for improving educational outcomes.
In exchange for this flexibility, they will be expected to produce specified results.
They will report quarterly to the Ministry of Education, be monitored by the Partnership Schools Advisory Board and will be subject to Education Review Office (ERO) reviews.
I would like to thank all the people who have helped us reach this milestone today.
I acknowledge the work of the Partnership School Working Group who designed the policy framework, and the Authorisation Board who provided advice on the applications.
Special thanks to Catherine Isaac for her leadership of both.
I would also like to thank all the applicants who put forward Partnership School proposals.
The level of interest from those keen to make a difference for our priority students was high, and I thank them for the time and effort they put into their applications.
Finally, thank you to Minister Parata for giving this policy priority in what is a very busy portfolio.
You have been a passionate advocate for New Zealand’s priority students.
I look forward to seeing the first Partnership Schools open at the start of day one, Term One 2014.
The latest Employment Court ruling - that it might be illegal for people to freely undertake voluntary unpaid work in order to gain work experience and prove their capacity for work - is yet more evidence of how unfair, discriminatory, and dehumanising New Zealand's labour laws have become, ACT Leader John Banks said today.
“The hurdles successive governments have put in the way of young people wanting to make the transition from schooling to productive work are nothing short of scandalous,” Mr Banks said.
“New Zealand has one of the highest minimum wage rates in the OECD relative to the average wage. This hurts those with the least skills and the least job experience the most.
“According to Statistics New Zealand's latest figures, almost 61,000 young adults aged 15-24 were looking for work but unable to find it at 31 March 2013. Over half of these (35,000) classified themselves as Maori, Pasifika or Asian.
“We should all be free to choose to participate in unpaid voluntary work, paid work at mutually agreeable terms, self-improvement, and social leisure activities. Yet by depriving our most vulnerable would-be workers of that freedom, society is effectively forcing those who are most desperate to get work into offering their services for free for a trial period.
“Employers who accept are not the villains. They are actually giving these young people an opportunity to make the transition to a normal adult life.
“National has gone some way to reducing the inequitable and unfair barriers the last Labour government put in the way of young people wanting to work, but the latest development and the unemployment numbers speak for themselves.
“Greater rights to freedom of contract need to be restored,” Mr Banks said.
ACT Leader John Banks today expressed disappointment at the Maori Party and United Future’s decision not to support National’s proposed reforms to the Resource Management Act (RMA).
“I am disappointed but there is still hope. New Zealand has a once-in-twenty year opportunity to fix the RMA and we have to take it now - doing nothing is not an option,” Mr Banks said.
“The business community and farmers who have been held back by the costly and unwieldy red tape imposed by this flawed legislation are looking to Parliament for leadership.
“Home owners who want to improve their properties and would-be home buyers who are most hurt by the housing affordability crisis want Parliament to get on and fix the RMA.
“Most property owners and businesses know the RMA is stopping investment, growth and jobs.
“It does this through poor drafting and bad case law. That’s why giving local government and the Courts clear law was so important.
“In the face of poor drafting both the Māori Party and Mr Dunne should offer real proposals for reform of the RMA that address the concerns of homeowners, builders, farmers and business.
“As I said doing nothing is not an option,” Mr Banks said.
Labour leadership hopeful Grant Robertson’s proposed rent controls in Christchurch will create turmoil in the housing market and do nothing to assist with the Christchurch recovery, ACT leader John Banks said today.
“Rather than helping those wanting to rent, artificially restricting prices will make it harder for them to find a home,” Mr Banks said.
“When housing is limited it must be rationed. Higher prices create an incentive for people to make houses and rooms available for renting. It encourages renters to economise by taking less space – e.g. boarding, shared flatting or no spare bedroom. This makes rented accommodation available to more people.
“Lower rents imposed by rent controls increase demand for space and reduce the incentive to meet that demand. This will make the rental housing shortage worse. It will particularly disadvantage those who are looking to rent and their desperation will make illegal under-the-table payments inevitable.
“Rent controls will also reduce the quality of rented accommodation in Christchurch. As landlords are restricted in the rents they can charge, they will be less likely to repair and upgrade their properties. When price goes down, quality goes down.
“Mr Robertson knows that rent controls are destructive. That’s why his proposal excludes new homes. He knows that it would stall new developments.
“The outcome of rent controls will be a shortage of supply and poorer quality homes, none of which will assist with the Christchurch recovery,” Mr Banks said.
Labour Party leadership hopeful David Cunliffe’s promise to expand Part 6A of the Employment Relations Act to all workers would be a massive change to New Zealand’s employment laws and would have an immediate and negative impact on productivity and competition in New Zealand, ACT Leader John Banks said today.
“Part 6A of the Employment Relations Act currently forces companies who win a contract to employ all of the staff of the previous contractor,” Mr Banks said.
“Right now it only applies to a few industries deemed to have ‘vulnerable’ workers but David Cunliffe’s proposal would expand this clause to cover all workers.
“This is bad news for freedom of contract, workers in the business that win the contract, the customers of successful businesses and competition.
“A business cannot increase its productivity and be competitive if it is forced to take on previous staff, who may not have been performing. The firm’s ability to perform the contract is reduced which harms their customers and puts all of their employees’ jobs at greater risk.
“In effect this clause protects poor performing businesses and makes it harder for new businesses to enter the market. It also hurts employees because new workers who could have been hired are not.
“Expanding this clause would see productivity reduced, incomes reduced and a reduction in the ability of the economy to generate jobs.
“By making this promise, David Cunliffe has shown that union demands are more important to him than what is best for New Zealanders. A Government led by him would be a very scary prospect for New Zealanders and business in particular,” Mr Banks said.