Monday, 10 February 2020

Free Press, 10 February 2020

ACT’s Year

The first poll of 2020 is ACT’s best Newshub poll in a decade. It shows ACT closer to three MPs than two, and one of only four parties returning to Parliament. The prospect of ACT with real power to make New Zealand a freer country is closer than at any time last decade.

State of the Nation

David Seymour’s State of the Nation Address, ‘Make Aotearoa Great Again’, was sold out and standing room only. What did it say? The battle lines for this election are drawn between those who do and those who gesture. If you missed it, the full video is here, and coverage by the Herald and Stuff is here and here.

Human Action vs. Political Gesture

This Government has haphazardly attacked landlords, firearm owners, employers, the entire rural sector, taxpayers, anyone who values their freedom of speech, property rights, and the extractive industries. In place of human action are a long series of political gestures to build homes, solve child poverty, rid the oceans of plastic waste, and reduce emissions, all of which have either been ineffective or counterproductive.

The Real Story of the Poll

The Greens are the best marketers of all. More people want to say they’re Green voters than actually vote for them. Their poll result of 5.6 per cent means they will be out of Parliament, based on the usual pattern. It makes sense. No party that’s gone into government has made five per cent at the next election. The Green Party has done nothing to distinguish itself from Labour and are now signing up to $12 billion of road building. They are in big trouble and if they let Marama Davidson loose on the campaign trail – everyone will want Metiria Turei back.

NZ First Off to the SFO

News that the SFO will investigate NZ First Foundation donations confirms that the ethical standards in Wellington are now dangerously low. It’s a point of pride that we are the least corrupt country in the world, but there's now far too much sleaze in the capital. We’ve got investigations into irregular donations. The Deputy PM can’t competently fill out his superannuation form. Two lobbyists have been employed as ministerial staffers with full access to confidential information while remaining directors of their lobbying firms. The Provincial Growth Fund is practically an invitation to corruption. Free Press believes we must change the government and restore the ethical standards of the world’s least corrupt country.

Following the EFUs to Concert FM

Free Press has been analysing the Government’s Economic and Fiscal Updates. We pointed out that the Treasury’s forecasts for spending in the year 2022 have grown from $96 billion to $106 billion since the last election. We mention this because a Government that’s increased spending by over $10 billion thinks it has to cancel Concert FM to afford a new ‘young people’s’ station.

Why Choose?

Radio NZ has made two decisions in one. Decision one: Is Concert FM viable? Decision two: Is a new youth-oriented Kiwi music station viable? If both are viable, why cancel one? If neither are viable, why continue with either? Free Press has little time for public broadcasting, but 170,000 people per week listen to Concert FM and it supports a classical music infrastructure up and down the country. If the Government was a fiscally prudent one, we’d be all for reducing spending, but since they spend like drunken sailors on everything else, why choose?

Tried Before

Channel Z and Kiwi FM have been tried before. No less than the Prime Minister’s partner was a key player in trying to get a Kiwi music station off the ground. It didn’t work and it’s difficult to believe the new initiative would. The answer is the internet. Young people don’t want to listen to a broadcast restricted to 1 per cent of the world’s music. The government starting an FM radio station for millennials is like the government starting a new website for Baby Boomers.

The PM Didn’t Know?

The Government usually uses ‘no surprises’ to control the civil service. It’s an excuse to be in constant dialogue with its departments and inserted in their decision-making. Given the PM’s personal interest in this topic (said to be a renowned DJ in her own right), it’s difficult to believe she didn’t know.

Arms Legislation Bill Report Out

The Government has powered on with its Arms Legislation Bill. The Select Committee considering the bill has made only minor changes despite a huge and constructive response from the community. Free Press suspected that NZ First might use their swing vote on the Committee to force more changes. A usually reliable source tells us the party is seeking donations while it contemplates pulling its support for the bill. The Select Committee report and ACT’s dissenting report on the process and outcomes (from page 25) can be found here.

Black Swan

The coronavirus could still be the black swan that turns the world economy. It is on the longest expansionary cycle since World War Two, and just about everyone and everything is more leveraged than ever. China is 17 per cent of the world economy and is essentially on lock down for the foreseeable future. New Zealand media are already reporting foresters in Gisborne out of work because the Chinese will take no logs. A slowdown, or worse, will change how the median voter sees the current Government’s fiscal extravagance.

Join Us

Regardless of the conditions, it is clear ACT will be a critical player. New Zealand needs a party in Parliament that stands up for the basic freedoms of citizens in our country. If you’d like to support ACT, please consider joining, donating, volunteering, or even being a candidate by enrolling in our School of Practical Politics.