Politics can be strange and few rituals are stranger than Hoardings Day. The Electoral Act says political parties can erect signs up to three metres high once it is nine weeks from election day. That means at midnight on Friday night, political activists up and down the country start erecting their hoardings. ACT’s volunteers put up thousands of magnificent magenta hoardings from the Cape to the Bluff, you can’t miss them.


Tuesday is 60 days until the election, 48 until you can cast an early vote. For the next nine weeks Free Press is switching up its format to talk about the election. The issues, the policies, the polls, and why most of all you should give your Party Vote to ACT (for real change based on fresh new ideas).


By getting the National Party to publicise their potential policy of taking GST off fresh fruit and vegetables, Labour was able to poll and focus group a widely known idea without announcing it themselves. It’s probably the cleverest thing Labour has done in six years. The polls showed Labour that mutilating the best GST system in the world is more popular than they are, so they announced it’s their policy after all.


A regular Free Press reader asks “I have just eaten a very nice pizza with lots of fresh tomato & basil on top. Please tell me Minister if that is subject to GST or not?” We don’t know. GST still applies to anything ‘processed’ but there’s no definition of processed. In his angry interview with Heather du Plessis Allan, Grant Robertson shouted “plants are out!” so we think the basil would still be taxed. It’s still too early to say on the tomato. But a tomato’s also a plant. We give up.


The Tax Working Group said that when sales taxes have been removed offshore, typically only 30 per cent was passed through to the customer. Labour said that a household would save $4.25 per week from their policy, but if the customer only gets 30 per cent of the windfall, that’s 57c per person.


ACT’s Alternative Budget would let the average earner, someone on $78,000, keep around $2,200 more of their own money each year. That dwarfs the benefit consumers get from Labour’s policy, and it’s possible because it involves reducing vast amounts of wasteful spending.


The whole spectacle is pitiful. Grant Robertson doesn’t believe in the policy, which Labour last promoted in their 2011 election loss. They’re only doing it because it is more popular than they are at the moment, it is just populist politics. In short Labour is out of ideas, out of Ministers, and running out of other people’s money.


Right now there are bats with more vision than Labour. Jacinda’s vision was fake and, as we’ve found out, very expensive, but at least she could get the ‘team of five million’ out to the polls with ‘100,000 houses’ and ‘nuclear free moments’ bathed in ‘kindness.’ Now Labour are saying if you vote for them they’ll bugger up your tax system for 57c a week.


ACT, on the other hand, continues to pump out policy. In the past week, the party explained how it would cut a billion dollars of waste on the first day of a new Government. It showed how New Zealand could stop rejecting health professionals that other developed countries are happy to have, with a health workforce policy designed to get more nurses and doctors. And it showed how changing the Principles section of the Sentencing Act would put the victim, rather than the offender at the centre of justice.


Nearly every poll now shows ACT and National winning 61 seats, that’s a change of Government with the new Government being more than a quarter ACT. We are on track to deliver such a Government, but ACT’s goal must be to break fifteen per cent so it makes up a third of the new Government and real change becomes a real reality for New Zealand.

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