A simple question for Mr Peters: Where do you live?

"Winston Peters has set a new record, being economical with the truth only hours into his campaign," claims Northland ACT candidate Robin Grieve.
Mr Peters is announcing he will stand in his home electorate. The electoral law is very clear about what makes a candidate's electorate a place of residence:
72 Rules for determining place of residence within New Zealand
(1) Subject to the provisions of this section, the place where a person resides within New Zealand at any material time or during any material period shall be determined for the purposes of this Act by reference to the facts of the case.
(2) For the purposes of this Act, a person can reside in one place only.
(3) A person resides at the place where that person chooses to make his or her home by reason of family or personal relations, or for other domestic or personal reasons.
"How will Mr Peters get out of this?" asks Grieve.
"Clause 1 tells us we must look at the facts, so:
"Will he deny clause 2 and tell the people of Northland that he can be in two places at once?
"Will he deny clause 3 and deny he makes his home in St Mary's Bay?
"Or will he apologise for having mislead the public within hours of his announcement?"


Northland doesn't need yesterday's man

"It's great that Winston Peters is finally taking an interest in Northland. But frankly we don’t need yesterday’s ideas from yesterday’s men in our region," ACT Northland candidate Robin Grieve said today.

"Peters has been rejected by Hunua and ousted from Tauranga - why would Northland now offer him a seat? His interest in the region has only just cropped up - New Zealand First did not even bother to stand a candidate in the general election just five months ago."

Grieve, an avocado orchardist at Poroti, has lived and made a living in the Northland Region most of his adult life.

"I eat and breathe Northland, I know the region, and I know what needs to be done. We need an MP who is dedicated to unlocking the potential of the region's physical resources and supporting infrastructure investment beyond Auckland.

"The last thing we need is a career politician parachuting in and trying to run a dirty campaign to increase his own profile.

"If he's serious he should sell his home in St Mary's Bay, Auckland, and move north. I would be happy to show him around our beautiful region."

Seymour to party leaders: Let’s cooperate on NZ Super

ACT Leader David Seymour has called for meetings to discuss the possibility of a referendum to determine the future structure of New Zealand Super.

“Today I wrote to each parliamentary political leader to request a meeting which would form the first step towards a more sustainable superannuation system,” said Mr Seymour.

“Most of these leaders are represented on the cross party group for the flag referendum, a largely symbolic issue. I hope they will see the value of using a similar process for a far more substantial issue.

“Superannuation is one of the government’s main expenditures making long term fiscal arrangements unsustainable, and the one that is most easily rectified.

“If the government doesn’t act, The Treasury forecasts that net government debt will reach 198 per cent of GDP by 2060, when current tertiary students are set to retire[1]. For context, Greece has net government debt of 176 per cent of GDP.

“A consultation and referendum process could address many aspects of NZ Super, from the age of entitlement, to the level of entitlement, to arrangements for those who wish to retire at different ages.

“The government must be proactive on this issue. History will judge us all the better for having taken action and given the public a say now, rather than forcing future generations to deal with a huge fiscal headache.”

David Seymour challenges political leaders to support NZ Super referendum

ACT Leader David Seymour closed his speech to the party’s annual conference by challenging political leaders to support a referendum process to determine the future of New Zealand’s superannuation system.

“If the public can vote on the New Zealand flag, a matter that is largely symbolic, why not follow the same process for another intractable problem, one that politicians have been dodging for decades.

“It is vital that we ensure NZ Superannuation is viable over the longer term, avoiding undue fiscal stress and pressure on tax rates, and achieving fairness across generations.

“National won’t address the issue. Labour tried and are now backing away. This is a political Mexican stand-off, with the guns pointed at the younger generations.

“Almost everybody realises that change must be made eventually. We are living longer, and the baby boom generation is starting to hit retirement age. On current settings the cost of NZ Super will rise from over 4% of GDP now to close to 8% by 2060, with most of the increase happening in the two decades to 2030.

“Policy must adapt to people’s increasing life expectancy. But there are other issues to consider and options to weigh, like provisions for those unable to work past 65, whether there should be some element of means testing, indexation issues, the relationship with KiwiSaver arrangements, the possibility of flexible starting dates for taking up superannuation, and the arrangements for new migrants and citizens returning after decades away from the country.

“The best option is, as with the flag referendum, to establish an independent body to consult with the community and establish a range of options on which voters can express a view in a referendum.”

Mr Seymour called for a cooperative approach on the issue, directly challenging each political party to support this process for resolving the political impasse of NZ Superannuation.

“In short, let’s resolve this Mexican Standoff.”

ACT announces candidate for Northland by-election

ACT Party President John Thompson is pleased to announce Robin Grieve as ACT's candidate for this year's Northland by-election.
"ACT is energised and refreshed after the 2014 campaign," said Thompson.
"Robin is an excellent speaker and experienced campaigner who embodies ACT's values. He will contest Northland with vigour."
Grieve stood in the third position on ACT's list in 2014, and stood in the Whangarei electorate in the last two elections. He owns an avocado orchard and is a consultant and trainer for Farmsafe. He chairs Pastural Farming Climate Research, an organisation which uses scientific research to advocate for the removal of livestock emissions from the National Government’s emission trading scheme.
Grieve has also represented New Zealand internationally three times in Toastmasters competitions.
"I'm delighted to have been selected as the candidate for the Northland by-election," said Grieve.
"It's time to unlock Northland's vast economic potential. The region is rich in resources and blessed in climate. But regulations like the Resource Management Act and excessive compliance requirements suppress economic activity, and Auckland-centric infrastructure investment stifles trade and tourism.
Grieve is very much opposed to the John Key Government’s tendency to centralise control wherever possible. “Regions like Northland do not need Wellington telling us what to do,” he said.
"A vote for me sends a sharp message to the government: stop holding Northland back."


ACT welcomes commitment to RMA reform

“ACT welcomes the acknowledgement by Environment Minister Nick Smith that the RMA has become a major impediment to development, is costing jobs, making housing too expensive and not even doing a great job at managing natural resources,” says ACT Leader David Seymour.
“The Treasury-commissioned report released by Mr Smith confirms the stifling and expensive effects of the RMA on development.

“The discussions around inequality and child poverty in recent years have consistently shown rising housing costs as a significant factor contributing to various measures of poverty in New Zealand. Fixing these regulatory barriers to affordable housing could have a major impact in reducing inequality in New Zealand.
“New Zealand needs comprehensive RMA reform. ACT looks forward to working with National on these reforms, to the benefit of all New Zealanders.”

ACT welcomes taxi law review

ACT Leader David Seymour welcomes Craig Foss’ prompt call to review taxi and private car hire regulations, announced today.

“I believe that entrepreneurship and the fast adoption of new technologies are essential to the prosperity of small nations such as New Zealand,” said Mr Seymour, who wrote to the Minister of Transport requesting such a review last week.

“Regulation can play an important role in protecting consumers, but should not be used to privilege particular businesses, especially when technology removes existing market failures.  Regulations may have been needed in the past when consumers had limited access to information on pricing, safety, and other quality indicators.  Mobile internet technology now gives real-time information to all parties.  It is removing the need for such regulation while improving customer service, efficiency, and safety.

“Craig Foss has acted promptly.  It is now important that he places the interests of consumers first, as regulation is in place for them – not incumbent providers."

Taxi regulations threaten entrepreneurship and innovation

“Smartphone-based taxi technology has provided greater choice for New Zealand consumers, but in some cases could prove illegal under current transport regulations,” said ACT Leader David Seymour today.

“Recent cases where drivers have been charged or issued with infringement notices suggest the current law may not be fit for purpose.  It is not for me to comment on individual cases, but we must review the existing law to send a message that entrepreneurship is welcomed in New Zealand, and to foster innovation in taxi technology and maximise consumer choice.

“Taxi companies provide a vital service and are an important source of employment. Smartphone-based technology could benefit all of these companies, allowing them to explore new safety practices and pricing options, such as providing users with driver profiles and enabling automatic fare adjustment to increase taxi supply during busy periods.

“As ACT Leader, I have written to the Minister of Transport, asking him to confirm whether the Government has any plans to review the law to ensure smartphone-based taxi services are able to continue operating legally within a competitive transportation market.

“Intelligent regulation and a liberal approach to business innovation are essential to a healthy economy. Therefore, regulatory reform is a key ACT priority for the next three years.

“I look forward to hearing the Government’s plans for modernising New Zealand’s transport regulations.”

Mr Seymour has previously researched taxi regulation for Canada’s Manning Foundation and Frontier Centre, and has even written a paper named “Whither Taxi Regulation: Why GPS-enabled smartphones will send traditional taxi regulation the way of the dodo”.

Forget today's deficit - we must focus on long term fiscal health

"Forget today’s deficit announcement – we need to focus on long-term fiscal health," said ACT Leader David Seymour.
"The Green and Labour Parties’ excitement over a tiny projected surplus turning into a small expected deficit is just childish. These are parties that wanted to hand out billions in an election lolly scramble, now purporting to discover fiscal probity.
"Labour and the Greens both had their platforms calculated as costing an additional $5 billion. Their largess would have put this deficit in the shade, and pushed up mortgage rates to boot.
"Revenue will always bounce around due to international and domestic influences, and in the short term there is no reason for the government to react to that.
"What matters is the general trend which, compared to most other countries, is promising – at least for the next few years.
"To avoid fiscal strife further down the line, we must address quality and effectiveness of spending, and scale and effectiveness of government regulation. We also need to account for an aging population and a surge in NZ Super and healthcare costs."

Celebrate volunteers by opposing regulatory burden

On International Volunteers Day New Zealand politicians must consider their responsibility in tackling the regulatory burden faced by the voluntary sector, says ACT Leader David Seymour.

“Unfortunately, regulations intended to improve practices in business can often have unwanted consequences for volunteer causes.

“One current example is the Health and Safety Reform Bill, which would treat volunteers – even casual ones – as workers, forcing organisations to take liability for the safety of people who have chosen to pitch in for events like tree plantings and disaster clean-ups.

“The practical effect of this regulation is obvious: it will be harder for communities to mobilise volunteer action. Ratepayers in particular will be hit hard, as local councils currently utilise volunteer labour for many vital services and initiatives.

“ACT is backing the Bill’s submissions from Local Government NZ and Volunteer NZ, which call for more flexible regulation towards health and safety.”

“Volunteer initiatives are always preferable to government programmes. Individuals who sacrifice their time to contribute to causes they are passionate about are far more likely to put care into a job than an anonymous bureaucrat on a fixed salary.

“Volunteer and community initiatives are at the core of what separates an adequate society from a healthy society. The fact that New Zealanders spend more time volunteering than anyone else in the OECD is something we ought to celebrate.”