“ACT is today proposing 15 practical solutions that are necessary to rebuild from Cyclone Gabrielle and create a more resilient future,” says ACT Leader David Seymour.

“ACT is today proposing 15 practical solutions that are necessary to rebuild from Cyclone Gabrielle and create a more resilient future,” says ACT Leader David Seymour.

“Recovery is going to be costly, and the Government’s response must be wary of sparking another run of inflation and interest rate rises. New Zealand families can’t afford a repeat of the COVID response where a surge of wasteful spending, funded by borrowing contributed to the cost of living crisis.

“ACT’s document is based on three principles:

  • Cutting unnecessary projects and reprioritising expenditure to the rebuild
  • Reducing bureaucracy and removing red tape to assist the rebuild
  • Ensuring a local response takes precedence over central planning and intervention from government departments.

“Some of these solutions will bring about immediate relief to affected communities, some of them will help ensure they can build back better and be prepared for future events. Many of these policies have been developed after visiting cyclone affected areas and hearing directly from those affected.

ACT would:

  1. Create a Special Economic Zone for Hawke’s Bay and Tairāwhiti where a number of normal restrictions don’t apply, so the rebuild is not caught up in unnecessary bureaucracy
  2. Amend section 9 of the Sentencing Act 2002 so that offending in a state of emergency would be an aggravating factor at sentencing
  3. Invoke Section 9 of the Defence Act so the New Zealand Defence Force can assist Police with civil powers in a time of emergency
  4. Cut all wasteful spending, including Three Waters reforms, to focus on recovery spending and avoid inflationary deficit spending
  5. Increase the amount of financing available and extend the time of the exemption to the Credit Contracts and Consumer Finance Act (CCCFA) to allow people to quickly access finance
  6. Remove RMA barriers to rebuilding and repairing with special legislation so the recovery doesn’t need to wait for consents
  7. Beef up the Recovery Visa so that it lasts for three years and has 48 hour processing turnarounds
  8. Enact a Materials Equivalence Register so there is ample supply of building materials for the rebuild
  9. Reduce pressure on small business owners with a three-year moratorium on minimum wage increases, and an exemption from Fair Pay Agreements for businesses within the Special Economic Zone
  10. Streamline foreign investment by allowing foreign direct investment from democratic OECD countries to skip Overseas Investment Office approval so businesses needing investment to rebuild can access more capital
  11. Replace council building consent processes with private insurance so that people do not need to wait for council consent if an insurer is prepared to insure the building
  12. Share GST revenue with local government to fund infrastructure development so local Government has certainty of funding to invest in rebuilding
  13. Focus local government on core goods and services and price flood risk though variable rates so building in dangerous places pays more of its own council costs
  14. Review the role and purpose of EQC in response to climate events so that it does not subsidise building in risky places
  15. Deal with the risks of forestry slash by making it easier to remove and set mitigation measures, and explore the concept of refundable bonds upon planting

“ACT recognises that local input is going to be the key to ensuring the rebuild is successful. That’s why we have listened and released this document that offers real solutions to the problems people are facing. That’s what Kiwis need to build back better from Cyclone Gabrielle.”

ACT's policy document for the Cyclone Gabrielle rebuild can be found here.

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