While the coalition government remains committed to vigorously taxing, spending and regulating, there’s still plenty for liberty lovers to be cheerful about. Free Press this week takes a look at some of the good news in New Zealand and abroad.

American Charter School Success

A new study out of the US shows just how important school choice is. The research looked at more than 1200 students who had applied to high-performing charter schools in low-income minority communities in Los Angeles through a lottery process. It turned out that the lottery winners used marijuana less often, went to school more often, had greater teacher support, better school environments, and spent more time studying than those who missed out.

Charter Schools by Another Name

The coalition government is now slowly acknowledging that a one-size-fits-all education system has failed, and that innovation and choice is needed. Not only has it allowed every former charter school to remain open, it is now seeking ‘expert providers to develop and implement innovative approaches’, ‘broaden the delivery of foundational curriculum’, and provide ‘culturally-responsive pedagogical practices’.

Sound Familiar?

That’s because charter schools were providing exactly what the Government says it now wants. In fact, charter schools were able to deliver these innovative practices by employing highly-skilled people who were not teachers, thereby taking pressure off the teacher shortage.

Strong Public Support for Assisted Dying

Public support for assisted dying continues to remain strong. Otago University has considered the responses of over 36,000 people from 26 studies over the last 20 years. 68.3 per cent of respondents were in support of assisted dying, 14.9 per cent were opposed, and 15.7 per cent were unsure or neutral. Despite the large number of submissions made against the End of Life Choice Bill, scientific polling shows that Kiwis remain overwhelmingly in support of assisted dying.

Tax Cuts Sweeping the West

Centre-right governments in America, the UK, and Australia are slashing taxes. Last December, Donald Trump and US Republicans cut individual and corporate taxes. Malcolm Turnbull’s Liberal government in Australia delivered tax relief in June. And, last week, the UK Conservatives had their turn. These developments are a bright spot in an otherwise ugly international environment.

What’s Happening Here?

New Zealand is headed in the other direction. Jacinda’s commitment to ‘kindness’ means Kiwis will be forced to fork out even more in taxes than they already do. The government will take about $860 million more in taxes each year by 2022. That’s even before the Tax Working Group makes recommendations on additional taxes early next year. ACT is the only party in Parliament that remains absolutely committed to reducing the tax burden on New Zealanders by cutting wasteful government spending.

TPPA Sees Tariffs Fall

One of the few sensible policies pursued by the coalition has been to continue the previous government’s approach to the Trans-Pacific Partnership. It continues New Zealand’s modern tradition as a flagbearer of free trade and openness to the world. New Zealand exporters will face lower tariffs from 30 December as the TPP comes into force, and further tariff cuts will take effect in January and April 2019. It is estimated that the TPPA will increase in GDP by 0.9 per cent by 2030.

Why Trade is Important

New Zealand is a small, open trading nation that needs greater access to overseas markets. When two countries trade, the people of both countries are better off. Trade opens new markets for our exporters. It introduces lower cost and better quality products, and brand new technologies, to Kiwis. Free trade also leads to greater competition for domestic businesses, encouraging them to focus on the needs of their customers.