Monday, 9 March 2020

Free Press, 9 March 2020


A Government-In-Waiting Emerges

Our National Party friends want a ‘common sense test’ on new laws. We couldn’t agree more. In fact, we have the legislation ready to go. ACT’s Regulatory Constitution started life as Rodney Hide then Sir Roger Douglas’ Regulatory Responsibility Bill. Then it reemerged as the Regulatory Standards Bill. Why all the reinventions? Of course, the then-Nats wouldn’t agree to any version. Too bold! But times change. If the new Nats have changed with them, then ACT is ready to provide the substance.

How Does It Work?

All laws are theoretically subject to basic questions such as ‘what problem are we actually trying to solve here?’ and ‘what will be the costs and benefits of the government’s intervention?’ and ‘are we impairing anyone’s property rights, if so, can the impairment be justified?’ It’s not radical stuff, but it would wipe out most of the current Government’s laws that are so deadly to human prosperity. If governments fail to follow this law, the courts can declare they have been negligent in making a particular law.

What Happens Currently?

Governments currently do Regulatory Impact Analysis, the problem is they ignore it. The most recent example is the Government’s hare-brained laws for petrol companies. As reported last month, Regulatory Impact Analysis says it will likely push prices at the pump upwards. Great analysis based on some great economics. The problem? The Government is ignoring the advice.

The Vultures Are Circling

Over the years Winston Peters has fallen out with more of his own MPs than he’s remained on good terms with. David Farrar has the analysis. One can only assume that his bullying such as that of former MP Brendan Horan and constant threats of litigation have protected him against tell-all-style attacks. No more. Starting with the leak of New Zealand First Foundation documents in a wine box last year, the vultures are circling.

Wild South

Anyone who’s watched nature programs on TV knows how unforgiving and cruel the world can be. Once weakened, the victim finds the vultures circling, and that appears to be happening with Peters. Stuff’s reporting of former Peters booster, hippy-basher, and one-time politician Ross Meurant’s tell-all on Peters is brutal.

What Does Meurant Say?

Basically, that Peters got a cheque and a set of allegations that led him to kick off the Scampi Inquiry. Then he got some more cheques from people who didn’t want the Scampi Inquiry. So, he sabotaged his own inquiry! He tried to divert it towards problems with the hoki fishery. Then he got a bollocking from someone else in the hoki business. That person had also given cheques and he changed his tune on that, too! The allegations are explosive, but they also suggest a truly weak character. To paraphrase another Winston, if these allegations are true then we know what he is, it’s just a matter of price. Full story courtesy of Stuff here.

Politicians’ Hypocrisy On Climate Change

Every Party except ACT voted for the Zero Carbon Bill. The ACT Party knows that the same legislation in the UK has been ineffective at reducing emissions but giving more power to government Ministers is never a good idea. What’s interesting is how MPs actually behave. The hypocrisy of the Green Party being Parliament’s biggest flyers has been laid bare yet again in the latest report.

A Simple Suggestion If They Really Cared

In our country’s colonial history, MPs used to go by ship to sit in Parliament for several months on end then travel home. The modern era of flying in and out of Wellington for a couple of days would be foreign to our forebears. There is no reason for Parliament to sit two and a half days a week. ACT has a simple proposal. Instead of sitting 30 weeks per year for two and a half days, it could sit 22 weeks per year for four days. We’d get the same number of sitting days but reduce trips to Wellington by a quarter. The fact Parliament could easily reduce carbon emissions by a quarter, and doesn’t, shows that deep down politicians think climate change is a hoax.

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