Two weeks of emergency drain maintenance will be tested as Cyclone Gabrielle bears down on the the upper North Island. Parliament returns Tuesday, your property is no longer safe from them either.

THE HAPS

Two weeks of emergency drain maintenance will be tested as Cyclone Gabrielle bears down on the the upper North Island. Parliament returns Tuesday, your property is no longer safe from them either. David Seymour’s honest destruction of Te Pati Māori co-leader Rawiri Waititi has been viewed hundreds of thousands of times. In case you missed it, it is here.

AFTER THE SCRUB FIRE

Chris Hipkins is a mouse with a match. Far from setting a bonfire of his own policies, he has burned a little undergrowth and left a few weeds smoldering for the future. Too many hopeful people are buying the fantasy that Hipkins is incinerating Labour’s policy program.

Even if the bonfire were real, praising Hipkins’ policy reversals would be like decorating an arsonist for putting out his own fires. Billy Joel claims he didn’t start the fire, Hipkins has no such excuse. He’s been at the centre of Labour for five years.

In fact, if we kept score, it would look like this. Dropping Hate Speech laws could be +1 but it’s only off to smolder at the Law Commission, so +0.5. Biofuel mandate dumped, +1. Income insurance on back burner, +0.5. Dumping the RNZ-TVNZ merger, +1. On the other hand, there’s been a record minimum wage increase -1. Continuing the fuel tax, road user charge, and public transport discounts without explaining how they’ll be funded, -1.

That’s one up, but let’s keep counting.

So-called fair-pay agreements, -1. Transferring three waters assets off councils to remote new entities, -1. Inflexible freshwater laws, -1. The three-storey house law -1. The assault on landlords through tax and Residential Tenancy Act changes -1. The Zero Carbon Act, -1. The history curriculum and related curriculum refresh, -1. The tall poppy chopping top tax rate, -1. The endless assault on licensed firearm owners and their clubs, -1. The chaotic merger of polytechs into Te Pukenga, -1.

The Māori Health Authority, -1. The credit Contracts and Consumer Finance Act (CCCFA) changes, -1. The changes to the Reserve Bank Act, -1. Spending $40 billion more than five years ago and making services worse, -1. Kainga Ora are still distorting the housing market, bidding up prices with billions of taxpayers’ money, -1.

So it goes on, and we’re already sure we’ve missed a few there. Two bad policies dumped, two on the backburner, and two made worse. It doesn’t make up for a dozen bad ones still in play.

The point is that Prime Minister Chips has not set a bonfire, he’s a mouse with a match who lit a bit of scrub around the edges. The media and some punters need to stop accepting the spin that Hipkins is making radical changes. He isn’t.

What, though, if the bonfire was real? What would happen after said bonfire, if there was a bonfire? What if ALL the above policies disappeared?

Welcome back to 2017. The RMA makes property rights too uncertain, so New Zealand has some of the least affordable housing in the developed world. Kiwi kids are freefalling in international exams, as they have been since the early 2000s. Red tape and regulation are defeating a nation of pioneers, empowering the whingers and worriers (as we found during COVID). The wage gap with Australia grows, so loving New Zealand costs a few dollars more each year.

Labour didn’t solve these problems, in fact their solutions turned out to be problems in themselves. Labour is now trying to solve their own solutions, surely a first.

Labour is now effectively asking for a second chance at solving them. Their first go, hiring a host of working groups to fill in time, rushing policy through, then watching the money disappear, hasn’t worked. The question is why the public would give them another chance?

They won’t. It’s not credible to say ‘sorry we had to dump our old policies, give us another go.’ This is why we’re excited about ACT in 2023.

Say what you want about the party, and many do, but nobody accuses ACT of lacking fresh new ideas, real solutions to New Zealand’s underlying challenges.

This country needs equality before the law. No society has every succeeded through ethnic division, but plenty have imploded.

It needs less bureaucracy, we don’t want it to be called Aotearoa, but that would sound better than the land of the long red tape.

New Zealand needs education where educators are given some respect. They should be free to teach and held accountable for their outcomes, not micromanaged like the children they’re supposed to oversee.

These are some of the areas where ACT has ideas and solutions. We can do what others can’t, deliver real change because it’s the right thing to do, not because the last focus groups said it’s the right thing to do.

If you believe New Zealand needs and deserves real change, please take the time to get behind ACT in this critical year.


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