“The Government’s last minute, made-for-PR, cost of living payment is spraying taxpayer money around like a garden sprinkler,” says ACT Leader David Seymour....

“The Government’s last minute, made-for-PR, cost of living payment is spraying taxpayer money around like a garden sprinkler,” says ACT Leader David Seymour.

“I’m hearing of people as far away as London, who haven’t been here for years, being told they will receive the payment. The problem lies in the novelty of the scheme, it was rushed together at the last moment for all the wrong reasons.

“As previously revealed, the Government had to pay hundreds of extra staff millions of dollars to make this policy work. Now it seems after three months even that was not enough.

“Treasury told Government it would be inflationary to hand out money in the fashion proposed. Jacinda Ardern, under questioning, clung to the idea that it wouldn’t be inflationary for very long.

“ACT predicts that the Cost of Living payment will be extended. The fuel excise tax, road user charge, and public transport discounts have all been extended. Does anyone really believe that Labour, who couldn’t take away the punch bowl with its transport discounts, will end the cost of living payment right before Christmas?

“ACT first called the cost-of-living crisis in December. Since then each party, like dominos, accepted it, with Labour the last to fall. The consequence of being late is they had no time to prepare a response.

“The cost-of living payment was dreamed up on the fly, made for PR rather than good public policy. We know from Written Parliamentary Questions that it was only signed off in April. We bet that Labour had no intention of doing the payment until it was forced to admit there was a cost of living crisis in March.

“What the Government should have done is cut spending and cut taxes, so that people could keep more of their own money. In fact, ACT’s recent Cost of Living document outlines nine concrete initiatives that the Government could take to beat inflation and the cost of living crisis.

ACT would:

1. Embrace free trade by unilaterally abolishing all tariffs to reduce costs of clothing, food and equipment imported into New Zealand by $200 million per year

2. Simplifying the Accredited Employer Work Visa scheme by abolishing labour market tests, the wage rule, and transfer restrictions, clearly not needed in a labour crisis, so firms can produce to their potential without labour constraints

3. Allow foreign supermarket chains from OECD member countries to bypass the Overseas Investment Act, bringing real competition to our supermarket sector

4. Creating a Materials Equivalence Register, forcing Councils to accept substitutes for scarce material such as Gib Board, to reduce costs and bring down delays for building

5. Incentivise councils to build by sharing GST with them, but only if they say yes to residential development, building more plentiful homes for the next generation and bringing down prices

6. Cut taxes for every earner, including $2,185 for an average full-time worker, with a two-rate tax structure: 17.5 per cent up to $70,000 and 28 per cent thereafter, together with a Low- and Middle-Income Tax Offset. As well as provide Kiwis with a Carbon Tax Refund

7. Replacing the RMA with a fit-for-purpose law where only those whose property is directly physically affected can object to development, allowing vital supply chain infrastructure to get built

8. Restore monetary policy credibility to the Reserve Bank by returning its mandate to solely taming inflation, allowing the appointment of monetary policy experts from New Zealand and abroad, and applying stricter scrutiny in future before granting Crown indemnities

9. Reverse the Government’s workplace relations changes that are hammering businesses like Fair Pay Agreements, an extra public holiday, and bringing back 90-day trials.

“A challenge as deep as the cost of living crisis deserves depth in its response. New Zealanders deserve more from the Government than simply spraying money around like a rogue garden sprinkler.”

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