Tuesday, 8 September 2020

Free Press, 8 September 2020


The Debt Destroyer

ACT has always had a bigger mission than popularity for its own sake. The party exists to shake up the establishment and put forward better roadmaps for our future. Enter ACT’s interactive ‘Debt Destroyer.’ It puts you in charge of the kinds of choices the whole country faces over the coming decade. Click here to check out the site and see if you can balance the budget.

La-La Land

We face an economic and fiscal crisis and Labour’s big idea is a new holiday. We do not need a new holiday. We need this Government to take a holiday. For at least three years.

Iceberg, Right Ahead!

We’ll never know why James (or was it Jack?) Shaw signed off on $12 million for a private school. Free Press predicts it will finish the Greens off. No party that’s been a smaller partner in Government has made five percent at the next election. Labour have their ‘greenest’ leader. This latest blunder will secure a three party Parliament.

Tip Of The Iceberg

Shaw’s blunder was just the worst example of a stupid policy. The $12 million was a tiny fraction of $3 billion (3,000 million dollars) of infrastructure projects announced as part of the Covid Recovery Fund. The premise of the policy was not ‘make sure capital is deployed to maximise productivity’ but ‘spend it quick and spread it across the regions.’

Debt’s Under The Surface

As Free Press has lamented many times, the Government has taken on $140 billion in debt to pay for Covid. Net public debt will reach $200 billion this cycle. For a family of five that is $200,000. For many, the biggest debt they have will be what the Government borrowed on their behalf.

Fiscal Child Abuse

Children currently at intermediate have no idea what’s being done with their futures. They will have to pay more tax or lose government services because of decisions they were not aware of. As a country, we really ought to think harder about what we’re borrowing. How can a $3 billion infrastructure fund with so little oversight be justified?

There’s Got To Be A Better Way

ACT has presented an alternative plan that would see us return to surplus by 2024 instead of the currently forecast 2028. It would reduce government debt by over $70 billion. This is the kind of thinking ACT brings to the table.

More Thinking: This Time Mental Health

Government spends nearly $2 billion per annum on mental health and addiction services, but the results satisfy few. The money trickles through 20 DHBs and the Ministry of Health. Providers face a disorderly and stilted mix of funding streams. Consumers face a web of unequal service and limited choice depending on where they live.

The Core Of The Problem

Nobody in the system is asking the question: ‘what are the objectives and which services achieve them with the best value for money?’ Unsurprisingly, results are varied at best and objectives are unclear.

ACT’s Solution

ACT would put the funding in a specialist agency, Mental Health and Addiction New Zealand. It would put mental health and addiction on the same level as physical health. That’s where New Zealanders increasingly see it. It would also mean that someone was watching the public purse, measuring the success of different interventions to make the mental health and addictions dollar go further. It would increase choice for consumers and certainty for providers.

More Where That Came From

ACT has always been a party of ideas, and we need to think hard as a country to get through the current situation. Thankfully, more and more people agree and ACT is on the rise. Today the election is 39 days away and advanced voting begins in only 25 days. Your support will make a bigger difference than ever, please give generously.