ACT New Zealand will not support Labour MP Damien O’Connor’s Dairy Industry Restructuring Amendment Bill (No2), ACT New Zealand Primary Industries Spokesman Don Nicolson said today.
The Bill would limit the proportion of Fonterra co-operative shares that can be held in its shareholders fund to 20 per cent of Fonterra’s share total.
“Legislating tighter limits on the size of the fund is an unnecessary intrusion into the rights and interests of shareholders to determine the destiny of their own company,” Mr Nicolson said.
“Fonterra has sufficient constitutional safeguards and mechanisms for representation and communication to allow shareholders to determine the size of the fund. Shareholders are more than capable of doing this without interference from Government.
“ACT believes the Government’s regulatory involvement with Fonterra should be limited to ensuring that the supply and sale of milk and milk products within New Zealand are open to competition.
“Fonterra is the world’s largest exporter of dairy produce and New Zealand’s largest company. It competes in an ever-changing world and needs to be able to respond to changing circumstances and continue to evolve as a company for the benefit of its shareholders.
“Excessive and unnecessary government involvement will only hinder its ability to do this,” Mr Nicolson said.
The Sky City Convention Centre proposal is a good deal for taxpayers and Auckland ratepayers and has my support, ACT Leader John Banks said today.
“Auckland is an international city and needs a world class convention venue. But running a convention centre is an economically tough and risky business,” Mr Banks said.
“Globally, taxpayer or ratepayer-owned convention centres often run at a substantial loss and attract on-going subsidies.
“It is essential that any convention centre proposal is taken forward by a seasoned operator that can compete in the highly competitive entertainment industry.
"It is also important that it is the operator that carries the risk, and not the taxpayer or Auckland ratepayer. The Sky City proposal satisfies both those requirements.
"I also support this deal because it does more to protect the few gamblers who cannot control their behaviour. I acknowledge there is only so much that can be done to protect people from themselves. In the end it’s up to individuals to take personal reasonability for their actions. However, the proposal introduces systems to allow data to be analysed for problem gamblers and ups the host responsibility monitoring to 24/7.
"I am satisfied that the regulatory concessions in the Convention Centre proposal are both necessary and reasonable in the circumstances. I will be supporting any necessary legislation," Mr Banks said.
Zespri’s apparent bad administration in China raises serious questions about their operations and reinforces the call that kiwifruit growers should be free to sell their products to customers and exporters of their choice, ACT New Zealand Primary Industry Spokesman Don Nicolson said today.
Zespri Management Consulting Corporation and one of its employees have recently been found guilty in a Shanghai Court of false customs declaration.
“If this is what has been allowed to happen in China, what confidence can growers have that this isn’t happening in Zespri’s other markets?” Mr Nicolson said.
“In November 2011, Zespri was fined in Korea for anti-competitive behaviour in the Korean market. Just this weekend the New Zealand Herald revealed that Zespri has a serious employment issue with their highest paid offshore executive. Now rural newspaper, Straight Furrow, has revealed Zespri may be involved in transfer pricing.
“The full cost of management and governance oversight is borne entirely by growers, therefore growers need confidence that Zespri’s processes are rock solid. With all these issues coming to light, growers will be wondering, how much worse is it going to get?
“Ultimately, ACT would like to amend the Kiwifruit Industry Restructuring Act 1999 so that growers can sell their products to the customers and countries of their choice. But in the interim, the government as authors of Zespri’s enabling legislation must launch an inquiry into this developing fiasco,” Mr Nicolson said.
ACT New Zealand Primary Industry Spokesman Don Nicolson today called for an end to Zespri’s export monopoly following the revelation that a Zespri subsidiary, Zespri Management Consulting Corporation, and one of its employees were found guilty in a Shanghai Court of false customs declaration.
“In 1999, the Government passed the Kiwifruit Industry Restructuring Act to restructure the kiwifruit industry and create a monopoly exporter which all New Zealand kiwifruit growers are forced to use to sell their products,” Mr Nicolson said.
“Not all growers have been happy at being forced to use Zespri and after these latest revelations who could blame them? What grower would want to associate with a company that has been involved in criminal activity? The unethical actions of one subsidiary has undermined confidence in Zespri with the fallout affecting the whole New Zealand industry.
“The best way to keep a business honest is by allowing customers to vote with their feet and leave if they are unhappy. But under the 1999 Act, New Zealand growers are unable to export their kiwifruit through anyone else and are stuck with Zespri no matter what they do.
“The New Zealand Kiwifruit Growers Incorporated is instigating an inquiry but ACT doubts it has a wide enough scope or independence from the industry to be satisfactory.
“ACT believes ‘less is best’ when it comes to government involvement in business and in the lives of citizens. Therefore we believe the Government should move to amend the Kiwifruit Industry Restructuring Act 1999 to give kiwifruit growers the freedom to export their products to the destinations and customers of their choice,” Mr Nicolson said.
Imagine what might happen if there was a centre-left coalition.
They believe we can just pass a law saying all wages have to be paid above a certain amount. Anyone who was working below that amount would get a pay rise.
They believe we can attain real economic growth by simply printing more money.
Everyone could then buy a new house, car and what not.
They believe the Government can spend millions of dollars on all sorts of wonderful programs, without affecting the private sector negatively, as hey, it’s not like taxes come from it.
Unfortunately that is all fantasy.
But according to other political parties, it seems that there is no reason why you cannot legislate your way to prosperity.
ACT thinks differently.
We understand that wages are determined by supply and demand.
We understand that minimum wages price some workers - usually the young and inexperienced - out of the market. The minimum wage diminishes their opportunity for a head start.
We understand that printing money results in inflation - an invisible tax on savings, which is the key to capital formation.
Not only will printing money fail to stimulate economic growth in the long run, it may also cause recessions and the misallocation of resources in our economy due to the distorted price signals.
We understand that welfare programs, implemented with the best of intentions, can have detrimental outcomes: increased dependence on handouts, high marginal tax rates which remove the incentive to work and the occasional abuse of taxpayers’ dollars.
Furthermore, with the recent crisis in Greece, we understand what happens when the Government goes bankrupt.
Governments cannot spend so carelessly. That’s why ACT advocates for smaller government that operates within a disciplined budget and low taxes, which will not crowd out the private sector and prohibit the creation of wealth.
If we look at other issues such as the "manufacturing crisis”- other parties were quick to blame the current Government and their so called "hands off" approach - as if the Government has not dug its hands into our economy deep enough.
It appears that not only do they lack understanding in sound economic theory, but some economic facts too.
Out of its 33 members, the OECD (Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development) rated New Zealand the second most restrictive in terms of Foreign Direct Investment regulations.
Foreign Direct Investment plays a crucial role in our modern economy. Not only does it contribute to job creation, real income growth and raising our standard of living, but also many other positive externalities such as technology and skilled-labour training.
This is why ACT wants to remove unnecessary regulation and red tape that does nothing except make it harder to do business.
I do not wish to demonise other political parties, because as I mentioned before they do have the good intentions. Unfortunately, as they say, the road to hell is also paved with them.
One of the main insights of economics is that it demonstrates to men how little they really know about what they imagine they can design.
I believe only ACT's policies, founded on sound economic principals, understands this.
Speech by Peter Jiang to 2013 ACT Annual Conference, The Farm, Kaukapakapa, Saturday, February 23 2013.
Wellington property owner Mark Dunajtschik’s fury at being denied permission to demolish a heritage building that is uneconomic to earthquake strengthen highlights the costly and unfair burden posed by the RMA, ACT Leader John Banks said today.
“The Resource Management Act denies landowners the right to compensation which allows councils to get away with this behaviour,” Mr Banks said.
“The owner is forced to pay for something he does not want, while the council doesn’t have to pay a cent.
“I support protecting heritage buildings but Councils should do that by working with property owners and coming to a voluntary arrangement, not by putting them in an impossible position.
“If government – local or central - wants to dictate what a building can be used for, it should either buy the building under the Public Works Act or compensate the owner for losses they suffer as a result of not being able to upgrade their property.
“The RMA needs to be amended to better reflect the property rights that all New Zealanders are entitled to, and once had.
“ACT’s Freedom to Build policy would restore the recognition of property rights in the RMA and restore a right to seek compensation for the effect of land use controls like those suffered by Mr Dunajtschik,” Mr Banks said.
ACT's Freedom To Build policy can be found here
Fury over quake-risk demolition refusal can be found here
Today's comments by Labour leader David Shearer and Green MP Holly Walker prove that neither Labour nor the Greens have any interest in addressing the real cause of housing unaffordability - the lack of land supply, ACT Leader John Banks said today.'
“David Shearer bizarrely asserts that increasing the freedom to build would increase red tape. How does this make sense and since when did Labour oppose increasing red tape? Labour put around 30,000 pages of new legislation on the books between 2000 and 2009 – by far the largest number in any decade in the history of New Zealand,” Mr Banks said.
“Labour could demonstrate its road-to-Damascus conversion to opposing red tape is genuine by publicly supporting the Regulatory Standards Bill that was recommended by the high-powered Regulatory Responsibility Taskforce. The Bill would oblige new and existing regulations to be tested against sound principles more rigorously than in any time in New Zealand’s history.
“As for the Greens, their assertion that freeing up the supply of land would make housing less affordable is, if anything, even more incoherent than Labour’s statement. At least they deserve credit for consistency in that respect.
“The Greens are staunchly opposed to the reasonable desire of most New Zealanders to own a house with a bit of green land around it for the kids to play on, the whole family to enjoy a summer BBQ, and off-street parking. They want to force New Zealanders to intensify but New Zealanders don’t want the chicken coop high rise living that the Greens want to force on them and their families.
“ACT’s Freedom To Build will address the key cause of housing unaffordability – land supply. It will give families the choice to live in an affordable home with a bit of green land, or in an apartment if that’s what suits them best,” Mr Banks said.
ACT's Freedom To Build policy can be found here
Green co-leader Russel Norman’s response to ACT’s Freedom To Build policy shows he clearly doesn’t understand basic economics, says ACT Leader John Banks.
The Green Party today claimed that ACT’s Freedom To Build policy would not address the real issues faced by New Zealanders on housing affordability. This is wrong.
High prices reflect lack of supply. The ridiculously high land values we are seeing in Auckland are due to the artificial shortage of residential housing and the RMA is the key culprit” Mr Banks said.
In 1980, the ratio of median house price to median income was around two to one – today it is 5.3 to 1. The primary cause of the problem is the Resource Management Act.
“Since its introduction 23 years ago it has become a 900 page job and investment destroying machine. Red tape, restrictions, vague language, and urban limits have driving up the price of land, causing house prices to soar.
“Nowhere is this better illustrated than in Auckland where land two kilometres inside the Metropolitan Urban Limit is 8.65 times more expensive than land two kilometres outside it.
"ACT’s Freedom to Build policy would restore the presumption that land owners have the right to develop their property, so long as they are respecting the like rights of their neighbours.
"It will also address the RMA’s often conflicting provisions which lead to uncertainty, ever increasing costs, and the tipping of power into the hands of local authorities rather than land owners.
“The Green’s idea of solving the problem uses taxpayers’ money to subsidise a select few into a home. It would lift demand even further without doing anything to free up the supply of land and would make land even more expensive.
“It might make the Green’s celebrity backers and other wealthy supporters feel wealthier, but it won’t help those who don’t yet own land.
"Home ownership is becoming an unattainable goal for far too many New Zealanders and it’s the RMA that is holding them back. ACT believes it’s time we reintroduced the Freedom To Build,” Mr Banks said.
You can view ACT's Freedom To Build policy here
The defeat of Labour’s Local Government (Council-Controlled Organisations) Amendment Bill is a win for Auckland ratepayers, ACT Leader John Banks said today.
The bill would have defined port companies, such as the Ports of Auckland, as council controlled organisations under the Local Government Act, forcing them to pursue the vague notions of social and environmental responsibility, and to comply with the Local Government Official Information and Meetings Act.
“Labour’s bill would have turned the Ports of Auckland into a bureaucratic nightmare, bogged down by the pettiness of politics,” Mr Banks said.
“Creating new environmental requirements specifically for council owned companies is unnecessary when all companies are required to comply with environmental regulations.
“And the real social responsibility of any business is to maximise profits by serving its customers well and managing costs, in this case the customers are the ratepayers of Auckland.
“ACT believes that private enterprise runs businesses far better than government can, but where government does own a business, it should be run as one - this means keeping it as far removed from politics as possible in order to maximise returns. The more profitable these businesses, the more money they generate for the community.
“That’s why it was so crucial to defeat this bill – so that the Ports of Auckland remain an effective, profit-driven organisation.
“At a time of significant rate rises, the last thing the people of Auckland need is a bill to make one of their key strategic assets, which employs over 2000 people, less profitable.
“ACT is proud to have contributed to the defeat of this bill,” Mr Banks said.
I move that the:
• Agricultural Compounds and Veterinary Medicines Amendment Bill
• Animal Products Amendment Bill
• Companies Amendment Bill
• Conservation Amendment Bill
• Films, Videos and Publications Classification Amendment Bill
• Fisheries Amendment Bill
• Friendly Societies and Credit Unions Amendment Bill
• Radiocommunications Amendment Bill
• Registered Architects Amendment Bill
• Statistics Amendment Bill
• Takeovers Amendment Bill
• Unit Trusts Amendment Bill
• Wine Amendment Bill
• Regulatory Reform (Repeals) Bill; be now read a third time.
Until the Committee of the Whole stage, these amendments were progressed through the Regulatory Reform Bill and the Regulatory Reform (Repeals) Bill.
The Regulatory Reform Bill removes unnecessary costs to business.
Using an omnibus bill to fix up the fairly minor legislative niggles that caused these unnecessary costs, is an efficient use of the House’s time.
These thirteen Bills will result in the following changes:
The Agricultural Compounds and Veterinary Medicines Amendment Bill removes the requirement for unnecessary registry information to be included on the public register. It also simplifies the registry process for cancelling obsolete product registrations or when there is continued non-compliance.
The Agricultural Compounds and Veterinary Medicines Amendment Bill, the Animal Products Amendment Bill, and the Wine Amendment Bill line up the ‘recognition’ of ‘agencies’ and ‘persons’ across food safety related legislation.
The Companies Amendment Bill removes unnecessary requirements and provides greater certainty for business. Companies will be able to use electronic voting systems and shareholders will be able to participate in meetings via the internet.
The Conservation Amendment Bill provides increased certainty for concession holders and their business operations.
The Films, Videos, and Publications Classification Amendment Bill modernises labelling requirements and provides more efficient and effective classification review processes.
The Fisheries Amendment Bill improves fisheries’ regulation and provides a simple process for registration as a notified user.
The Friendly Societies and Credit Unions Amendment Bill removes conflicting or unnecessary requirements on credit unions.
The Radiocommunications Amendment Bill simplifies the process for cancelling or modifying radio spectrum licences.
The Registered Architects Amendment Bill allows for more efficient complaints and disciplinary processes.
The Statistics Amendment Bill means that non-government researchers will have equitable access to microdata.
The Takeovers Amendment Bill provides greater certainty in the application of the Takeovers Code and enhances the operational efficiency of the Takeovers Panel.
The Unit Trusts Amendment Bill enables accounts and financial statements to be distributed electronically to unit holders.
The Regulatory Reform (Repeals) Bill clears the Statute book of 31 spent Acts and consequentially revokes three regulations.
These Bills all improve the regulatory environment.
I commend these Bills to the House.