Stock rustling set to continue under lax laws

The theft and illegal slaughter of farm stock can only be expected to continue if tougher laws are not introduced, said ACT Leader David Seymour today.

NZ Farmer today reported on David Searle, who found three dead ewes on the edge of his property yesterday morning, with another six missing.

“It makes for a grim read, but what’s grimmer still is that this is an ongoing problem for rural New Zealand,” said Mr Seymour.

“It’s a crime that often goes unreported, but is estimated to cost farmers $120 million each year. One Southland farmer had 1200 ewes stolen in July alone.

“Stock thieves are comparable to burglars in that they are rarely apprehended, offend repeatedly, and have little regard for the sanctity of property.

“ACT would have equipment used in the theft confiscated, as is the case for fisheries offences, and increase maximum jail sentences to reflect the harm done to farmers and their vulnerability in remote areas.

“Farmers have called for tougher laws, as has the national association Federated Farmers. ACT won’t let stock rustling and other property crime become a career option in New Zealand.”

Patient residents seek reassurance over Auckland outage

"Epsom electorate residents have responded patiently to being without power, but want to see how future outages will be avoided," said MP for Epsom David Seymour.

"C’est la vie was the most common response from shoppers and shopkeepers in Remuera village this morning, so long as the promised restoration targets are met.

"More acutely affected were the elderly and those with small children, however people appear to have been getting by with help from family and friends.

"People are eager to know what will be done to avoid future outages.

"An enquiry might raise many questions. 

"Was this the fault of Transpower, Vector, or both? Was this a freak event or the result of a systemic problem? And what can be done to improve that systemic problem? 

"Residents would like reassurance and given that they operate natural monopoly infrastructure the utilities should be prepared to give it."

Leadership Acceptance

“I am honoured to lead the ACT Party, I look forward to the challenge and relish the opportunity.

It has been a privilege to work with Jamie Whyte. I want to acknowledge his tireless efforts through the past nine months and during the campaign.  Through his efforts the Party was rejuvenated and our membership increased.  It is a substantial achievement and on behalf of all the members and supporters of the ACT Party, we thank you Jamie.

Once again the ACT Party, with the support of Epsom voters, is contributing the vital extra seat that will assist a National-led government to implement the policy changes which will boost growth and prosperity in New Zealand.

The principles that drive ACT are timeless – freedom, opportunity, choice, competition, personal responsibility and compassion.  ACT believes in small but efficient government, and a low tax burden to encourage and reward hard work and creativity. Only with low taxes will individuals and families be able to get ahead from their own efforts.

The successful New Zealand we know today is significantly due to the policy reforms of the founders of the ACT Party. Those reforms are why we are consistently rated as amongst the freest economies in global surveys. It is this environment that has freed the energy we now see in New Zealand innovation and entrepreneurship. We see it in business, in sport, in the arts, and in science and technology. Cutting red tape and reducing the tax burden further will unleash that energy.

The celebration of entrepreneurship is core to ACT values – it is what drives our economy and incomes forward, creating new industries, new jobs, and higher incomes.

I am excited by the opportunity I have as Leader of the ACT Party, as the MP for Epsom, as well as my Parliamentary Under-Secretary roles in Education and Regulatory Reform.

I look forward to ACT contributing to a stable and successful National-led government, and to expanding our presence in Parliament in 2017.

ENDS

David Seymour 

President Release re Jamie Whyte Resignation

"Today the ACT Party Board announces with regret that it has accepted Jamie Whyte's resignation as Leader," said ACT President John Thompson.

"Jamie has proven himself a principled and clear-headed advocate of ACT's values of smaller government and greater personal responsibility.  Under his leadership, the Party has been rejuvenated and membership has swelled.

"We are proud to have had Jamie serve as Leader, and hope the New Zealand public has not seen or heard the last of him.
 

“The ACT Party Board has appointed David Seymour, the ACT MP for Epsom, to succeed Jamie Whyte as the Leader of ACT.”

ENDS

Jamie Whyte Resignation Statement

“Today I announce that I have tendered, and the Board has accepted, my resignation as Leader of ACT New Zealand.

“Clearly I make this announcement with regret, however the election result is clear, and I must now turn to my career and my family.

“I stood to lead ACT because I believe in the party’s ideas.  I will continue to advance these ideas both inside and outside the Party.  I do not rule out returning to a substantial role with ACT in the future.”

 

ENDS

ACT pleased to enter Confidence and Supply Agreement with National

ACT is pleased to enter its third consecutive Confidence and Supply Agreement with the National Party.  We will continue the tradition of working to improve public policy for all New Zealanders while maintaining stable centre-right government.

Key features of the agreement:

Commitment to continue developing the Partnership School model (and David Seymour to be Under-Secretary to the Minister of Education)

Commitment to continue improving New Zealand’s regulatory environment (and David Seymour to be Under-Secretary to the Minister of Regulatory Reform)

Commitment to continue reforming the Resource Management Act

There are other issues ACT has campaigned on that are not reflected in this agreement, such as three strikes for burglary and tax reductions.  ACT must seek a larger political mandate for these and other objectives over the coming three years.  

This agreement lays the foundation for real improvements to public policy, and we look forward greatly to demonstrating our value to all New Zealanders in the coming three years.

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David Seymour's Acceptance Speech

Hi, I’m David Seymour, and if you live in Epsom, Mt Eden, Parnell, or Remuera, I’m honoured and humbled to be your new MP.

I’d like to thank the people, many of whom are here tonight, who have humbled me with their generosity.

Some of you are family, some friends, some old political colleagues, and others whom I’ve only met this year.

Together we ran an enormous campaign. Over eight months, we hand delivered 85,000 pieces of personally addressed direct mail. We knocked on over 13,000 doors. Hundreds of people came to dozens of house meetings, we ran stalls, waved signs, and erected billboards. All of this was done by volunteers. Thank you!

My campaign was to be the best possible local representative for Epsom, and to enable centre-right government in Wellington.

On the first, my door will be open Monday. If you live in Epsom, Mt Eden, Parnell or Remuera, I’d be honoured to serve you.

On the second, coalition negotiations must take place. Make no mistake, Epsom voters have successfully used their candidate vote to bolster the centre-right in Parliament.

I’ll be taking Epsom values to Parliament, with a commitment to improving public policy for all New Zealanders.

I want to thank my opponents in Epsom, particularly Paul Goldsmith, with whom I’ll be pleased to serve.

ACT’s candidates up and down New Zealand have put in a phenomenal effort, thank you for all of your hard work and commitment.

To Kenneth and the Chinese community, your support has been phenomenal, and I have greatly enjoyed campaigning with you.

To Jamie. Mate. You have put in a phenomenal effort over the last eight months full time and for free. We started polling 0.0, you worked and worked, we nearly got there. It’s a terrible loss not to have you in parliament this year.

I want to finish by thanking all the amazing friends and supporters for all the fabulous and humbling help you’ve given the campaign.

Most of all I’d like to thank my fellow Epsom voters for electing me as your representative. Thank you!

Three tests ACT has passed this election

ACT Final Election Rally

Dr Jamie Whyte

Oh So Café, 29 Crummer Road Grey Lynn

12 noon 19 September 2014

Elections campaigns are an opportunity for political parties to put forward candidates and policy to enable voters to choose what sort of New Zealand we want.  In this campaign there have been three tests by which you can assess the electoral choices for your vote.

Much of the 2014 election campaign has been hijacked by a book and Kim Dotcom - both of whom will soon be forgotten.

So the first test was whether parties were diverted from the real issues such as the economy, jobs, housing affordability and education.

The ACT Party was never diverted by these sideshows and has put forward practical workable solutions to the issues facing the country. So ACT passed the first test.

The second test was an opportunity to gain easy votes by blaming “foreigners” for the challenge of housing and farm affordability. Colin Craig and Winston Peters based their campaign on blaming the Chinese for every problem.

Labour shamefully joined in. Only ACT has said we will not go into government with New Zealand First. Only ACT has passed test two.

Then came test three: sensational claims that New Zealand’s security agencies are not protecting us from terrorist threats but are really engaging in secret, illegal, surveillance on every New Zealand citizen.

A German fraudster brought in foreigners with an agenda against western security services to claim our Prime Minister is lying.

The media have given any allegation, however absurd, top billing. Perhaps the silliest was TVNZ giving top billing to an allegation statement by Winston Peters that the GCSB gathers foreign intelligence.

That is the GCSB’s mandate. It is as silly as making a news story from the fact that the welfare department gives out benefits.

The Prime Minister has repeated his claim that there are threats to New Zealand and his duty as Prime Minister is to defend New Zealanders.

Test three was whether to back the Prime Minister and say John Key is right that we need to have security agencies to protect us from foreign threats or to join in the attacks. When they realised the way to be reported was to attack our security services and demand inquires the other parties joined in the attacks on the GCSB.

The Greens have gone so far as to promise to dismantle New Zealand’s security agencies. Labour, New Zealand First and the Conservatives have all said they want to weaken our county’s security by holding inquires and creating new restrictions.

Labour, the Greens, New Zealand First and the Conservatives have failed the test of looking after our nation’s security. I did not include Internet/Mana because they do not even pretend to be advancing New Zealand’s interests having being been bought and paid for by Kim Dotcom.

Only ACT has publicly supported the Prime Minister on this issue. You have to go to the web to find ACT’s statements because the TV and print media only reported statements weakening our security against terrorist threats.

Yesterday in Australia we have witnessed how a credible threat to behead an Australian citizen was prevented by surveillance that all the other parties want New Zealand to stop. If we elect a Labour/Green/New Zealand First government our security agencies will not be able to prevent the sort of threat that the Australian security agencies thwarted. If you think terrorism cannot happen here then vote for Labour, the Greens, New Zealand First or the Conservatives.

In test three, the most important test in this election, “Who will protect New Zealand from terrorism?” just ACT and National pass.

Only two parties put the country’s security first ahead of cheap headline getting.

Just ACT has passed all the tests of this election.

ACT deserves your Party vote tomorrow.

If you want to avoid three years of political instability Party Vote ACT.

Voters who are concerned that on the latest polls we may be heading for three years of instability have it in their hands to deliver a decisive result.

A Party Vote For ACT is worth four times a party vote for National.

This is because of a little known aspect of MMP.

Under MMP the electorates a party wins are deducted from the number of list MPs awarded.

On average it will take 60,000 votes to elect each National list MP.

Whereas it takes just 16,000 to elect an ACT MP

So the answer is easy.

Party vote ACT for three years of stability.

In 12 months’ time, here is what will matter

In three days’ time I will be elected along with a number of ACT MPs.  I think the media will be surprised and ask how it happened?

Let me tell you.

First, ACT has been rising in all the polls.  On the latest Colmar Brunton poll, David Seymour wins Epsom and I am elected.

Second, once a party wins an electorate, the number of votes needed to win a Party seat is very low. Each National list MP will take about 60,000 votes, more than the total votes of any one electorate. By contrast, just 28,000 votes will add me to David Seymour. And 44,000 Party votes will give ACT three MPs. 

The electorates won by a party are deducted from its list MPs.  That is why Labour may get no list MPs.

The ideal way to game MMP is to have a party that wins only electorates and a partner that wins only list seats.  Labour and the Greens are now in that situation and may as a result steal the election from National, who would be recording the biggest win in our history if this were a first-past-the-post election.

I predict that ACT will win a number of seats and that ACT will hold the balance of power on Sunday.

ACT’s Deputy Kenneth Wang is the most popular Chinese politician in New Zealand and on some Chinese website polls ACT is in second place ahead of Labour.  

We have used the internet to poll and so we know that the land line polls are wrong.  As all the land line polls are different, and the differences are greater than the margins of error, even the journalists who report as news what their pollster predicts must know that the land line polls are not credible.

ACT’s polling shows that 11% of New Zealanders support ACT’s message of low tax, less regulation and more personal responsibility.

We have been told by usually reliable sources that TVNZ’s Vote Compass survey also reveals significant support for ACT’s policies.  In a campaign that has been dominated by side issues rather than genuine policy debate, this is a more interesting poll finding than the supposed voting intentions conjured up by landline phone polls.

I have today delivered a request under the Official Information ACT to TVNZ to reveal the Compass Vote survey results that will show that many New Zealanders agree with ACT’s ideas.

We have written to TVNZ demanding that they publish the Vote Compass results before the election. As the survey was paid for in part by the Electoral Commission using Taxpayers money I have also forwarded this demand to the Electoral Commission.  Voters need to know this information now before the election.

At the last election up to 100,000 right wing voters stayed at home.  They were voters who thought John Key was going to win easily and think National is too much like Labour.

To be frank, they are the voters who under MMP had previously elected an average of seven ACT MPs, and they thought ACT had lost its way.

I think I have shown this election that ACT has a fresh team, that we have gone back to our core policies of lower tax and less regulation and that we are worthy of our supporters’ vote.

The numbers coming to our website show there is interest in our alternative to the tax-and-spend approach of all the other parties.

We believe we will do well because we have addressed the issues that matter.

We see commentators express surprise that John Key and National’s popularity have been unaffected by a determined effort to destroy our Prime Minister.

This just shows that voters are smarter than the media gives them credit for.

Voters know that in 12 months’ time the issues that matter will be jobs, the economy, the cost of a house and whether we feel safe.

Mr Dotcom will have left our shores for America and nobody will even remember what “Dirty Politics” was all about. As Helen Clark might put it, we will have moved on.

What the voters will remember is that the election campaign didn’t quite happen. The serious disagreements between the rival parties went unexamined.

What will improve education: more parental choice or more bureaucratic control?

Who is better at making investment decisions: private investors risking their own money or politicians risking taxpayers’ money?

How will we reduce the number of children born into disadvantage – by transferring parental responsibility to bureaucrats and taxpayers or by increasing incentives to work and opportunities to work?

What will do more to reduce the cost of housing: imposing a capital gains tax on those who build and then sell houses or freeing up the supply of land for residential development?

These and many other important matters have gone unexamined because, with some honorable exceptions, the media seem to believe that politics should be reported as if it were a game of snakes and ladders.

The parties’ policies, what they will do if elected, have been squeezed out by the kind of thing Winston Peters specialises in: feigned outrage at the wickedness of politicians and speculations about who will form coalitions with whom.

Yesterday Radio New Zealand hosted the final debate between the leaders of the minor parties. We discussed only two topics. Kim Dotcom’s “Moment of Truth” event and post-election coalition deals. And Radio New Zealand is supposed to be the most serious and thoughtful broadcaster in the country!

*  *  *  *  *

Some parties have not announced policies that are sufficiently well worked out to warrant serious discussion – most notably, New Zealand First, the Conservatives and Internet-Mana. They merely wave their hands in the general direction of a vague idea, and call it a policy.

By contrast, ACT has announced a number of serious policies, fully costed and backed up by academic research.  

We started our campaign three months ago by publishing a fully-costed budget.

No commentator or rival party has disputed ACT’s figures.

In that budget, we showed how by cutting corporate welfare – the corrupt practice of giving taxpayers’ money to companies that can win favour with politicians and bureaucrats – we could cut the company tax rate from 28% to 20 percent next year. In a subsequent policy document, we showed how we could cut the company tax rate to 12.5% by 2020.

New Zealand now has one of the highest company rates in the world.  Most New Zealanders do not realise how far New Zealand’s company tax rates are out of line because of two factors.  Australia’s company tax rates are also high and the USA’s tax rates are the highest in the OECD. 

Americans know their tax regime is dysfunctional. Even President Obama wants to cut their company tax rate and get rid of all the loopholes (which, by the way, mean that American companies end up paying a lower rate of tax than New Zealand companies pay).

The Australians also knows their company tax rate is too high.  The new Liberal government has announced that it is reviewing the Australian company tax rate company.

If Australia reduces its company tax rate New Zealand will find itself at a serious disadvantage.

In parliament, ACT MPs will be pointing out our company tax rates are unsustainable.

People will ask, “Why was this not an issue in the election?”  Well, it was, but the media thought other things were more important. We have explained why cutting the company tax rate from 28% to 12.5% will increase investment, economic growth and wages.

Other parties also seek to increase economic growth and wages. But they are all convinced that the answer is more of them and less of you.

They all say that they can pull off some form of Muldoonism. They can pick winners and replace private investment with politically directed investment. They all claim that investment decisions are made better by politicians risking taxpayers’ money than by private investors risking their own money.

This absurd idea has attracted a fraction of the analysis given to the private emails of a blogger who is not a candidate for any party.

Other parties’ solution to low real wages is to have the government make low wages illegal. But wages do not depend on the will of legislators. They depend on the productivity of workers – which depend on their education, the amount of capital they work with and their degree to which they can specialise.

Legislating higher wages in the absence of improvements in these factors will simply cause unemployment. In the presence of such improvements, on the other hand, wages will increase without any need for legislation.

You cannot make people rich by decree. If you could, we would all be billionaires. The only route to wealth is productivity.

Legislate any minimum wage you like. It won’t increase productivity. And it won’t, therefore, help us close the wage gap with Australia.

ACT predicts that in 12 months’ time, when the Australian economy has recovered, the gap between New Zealand and Australia will be an issue again and the planes will again be carrying our best and brightest across the Tasman, and to the US and the United Kingdom too (if the United Kingdom still exists).

ACT MPs in parliament will be asking the government: “What is the plan to close the gap with Australia?” and the public will be asking why was that not an issue at this election?

Well, if you examine ACT’s press statements, it is an issue.

We have put forward a five point plan to catch Australia.

ACT has identified a major reason for housing unaffordability, which is also a significant reason for the country’s slow growth – red tape and, in particular, the Resource Management Act.

The RMA has proved to be a license for local government planners to undermine private property rights in favour of kind of soft socialism.  The costs in administration, compliance, delays and uncertainty are huge.

In 1990 the average New Zealand family could afford a house. 

ACT predicts in 12 months’ time housing will still be unaffordable because the RMA is fundamentally flawed.  ACT’s policy is to admit the RMA experiment has failed, repeal the law and start again.

In parliament we will be telling National that their RMA amendments do not go far enough.

One issue that has had a little air time during the campaign has been poverty and, especially, child poverty.

Claims for increase in child poverty have been uncritically reported.  Claims that 20% of New Zealand children live in poverty are derived from a perverse definition of poverty. A child is said to live in poverty if she lives in a household with an income less than 60% of the national median household income.

On this definition, no increase of income would suffice to lift children from poverty if all other households’ incomes increases by more. It is a ridiculous measure of poverty which grossly exaggerates the amount of poverty in New Zealand.

Nevertheless, ACT believes that many children are indeed born into serious disadvantage. We believe kids at the economic bottom of New Zealand need a better deal. And we have a plan to help them. It is based on job creation and wage increases caused by lower taxes and lighter regulation, on welfare reform, and on parental choice in education.

We also acknowledge that many of those households in poverty are there because the adults in the house put their addictions ahead of feeding their children.  A fact the Greens and Labour deny.  ACT MPs will be supporting moves by Paula Bennett to require drug testing and to provide assistance to addicts to come of drugs.

In 12 months’ time, when Mr Dotcom is just a sour memory, our state schools will still be failing to provide 20% of their pupils with an education sufficient to find work in a globalised economy of growing automation.

ACT has a solution: Partnership Schools (or charter schools, as they are known overseas).  The media print the Education Union’s attacks. But they put no effort into discovering and reporting the great progress being made by Partnership School pupils who were failing in state schools.

That is why ACT MPs will be pressing to allow every school to have the advantages of being a Partnership School.

The 20th century American journalist, H L Mencken, said that all elections “soon become and advance auction sale of stolen goods”. This election is a vivid illustration of the fact.

All the other parties simply compete to offer people goodies paid for from money confiscated from other people and, often, from themselves. The racket has become so absurd that the Greens have now announced a plan to give everyone who has a child a flax basket full of goodies. Even the Greens are willing to destroy plants if they believe it will buy them some votes.

The Taxpayers Union has their bribe-o-meter, which reveals the gruesome facts about how much extra tax all parties except ACT will be imposing on us after the election. But the media is generally uninterested in the issue.

Would New Zealand First have its support if the media reported that Mr Peters has promised more spending than the Greens, Labour and the Conservatives combined?  His claim that he can fund it all by cracking down on tax evasion is laughable.  New Zealand has one of the toughest tax regimes and lowest rates of tax evasion in the world.

ACT produced a plan to fully fund all our proposals.  It has been galling to go to the trouble to use Treasury figures, to have our policies professionally costed and then see commenters just make up figures with regard to ACT. The same commentators then print no commentary on the absurd promises of the Greens, New Zealand First and the Conservatives.

In 12 months’ time, when the taxpayer has to pay, people will ask why this was not an issue in the election.  Well, it was, but it was not covered.

Let me make another prediction.

Next year there will be over 100,000 burglaries.  Those burglaries will affect around 250,000 people who will ask, “why was this not an issue in the election”? 

That is why in parliament, ACT will be presenting legislation to send professional burglars to jail.

I am confident ACT will get its 3 strikes for burglary through and the law will dramatically reduce the number of burglaries in New Zealand, just as our 3 strikes policy has reduced violent crime.

*  *  *  *  *

When voters go to the polling booth on Saturday, many will ask: “Who will always vote for less tax, less nanny state and more personal responsibility?”

There is only one answer. 

That is why I predict many will Party Vote ACT.

It will be ACT, not New Zealand First, holding the balance of power for the next three years.

We will support John Key and a stable centre-right government. And we will make it a more principled and reforming government

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