ACT is welcoming Social Development Minister Carmel Sepuloni’s admission that New Zealand faces a cost of living crisis.

“ACT acknowledged there was a cost of living crisis back in December last year when we released a plan to deal with it”, says ACT Leader David Seymour.

“Jacinda Ardern and Grant Robertson won’t admit to a crisis, but the Social Development Minister has.

“Sepuloni told RNZ’s Checkpoint: ‘I think to many families it would feel like, and would be, a crisis…I think for many families it is a crisis.’

“She is right. The cost of living for New Zealand families is through the roof. Rents are up, mortgage rates are on the rise, the cost of food is up, petrol is up - but wages aren’t keeping up. It’s time Kiwi battlers got some relief.

“The Government’s relentless borrowing, spending, taxing and regulating has added to the cost of just about everything.

“Locking the economy down and borrowing $50 billion so far has left us with a mountain of debt and rising prices. The Finance Minister is taxing Kiwis at a record pace to pay for Labour’s pet projects. The Government’s hostility to business means they’re spending more time complying and less time producing, pushing up prices.

“Labour’s chickens have come home to roost with a mountain of debt and rising prices, and Kiwi Battlers are finding it difficult to make ends meet. We want to get ahead, but we’re falling further behind each day. We can’t afford to continue like this.

“Politics isn’t working. We need straight talk and common-sense solutions if hardworking Kiwis are to have the future they deserve.

“ACT doesn’t just oppose, we propose. We’re offering ideas and solutions to manage rising prices and reduce the tax burden on hardworking Kiwis. We would:

Deliver a middle-income tax cut:

  • Reduce the middle-income tax rate from 30% to 17.5%. Our plan will allow the average full-time worker to keep $2,000 more a year to help deal with the rising cost of living. That’s almost $40 more a week in the pockets of hardworking taxpayers to help them with the cost of life.

Skills and immigration:

  • Dump MIQ immediately and allow travellers with a negative test to enter New Zealand
  • Allow existing student visa holders and their partners to apply for the 2021 Resident Visa
  • Allow offshore work visa holders to apply for the 2021 Resident Visa.

COVID-19:

  • Dump MIQ immediately and allow travellers with a negative test to enter New Zealand
  • End the traffic light system and restrictions on gatherings
  • Immediately remove vaccine mandates in favour of allowing businesses and other organisations to make their own rules
  • End the ban on importing rapid antigen tests approved in Australia, the UK, and similar jurisdictions
  • Adopt 72-hour isolation periods that end with a negative test
  • Drop the requirements for businesses to display codes, have people scan, and contact trace cases.

Real housing reform:

  • Create a dedicated public-private-partnership (PPP) agency to get things built
  • Introduce a GST-sharing scheme to fund infrastructure remove artificial restrictions on land use so the next generation can build on their land reform building materials regulation remove barriers to finance for build-to-rent schemes
  • Introduce building insurance to replace regulations in the Building Act
  • Create enduring RMA reform that respects property rights and recognises the need for continuous improvement in environmental management.

Workplace relations:

  • Repeal the Matariki public holiday, new sick leave entitlements and the soon-to-be-introduced centralised wage bargaining (so-called “Fair Pay” Agreements)
  • Reinstate 90-day trials for all businesses
  • Pause minimum wage increases
  • Reform the Employment Relations Act to ensure workers and employers have clearer dispute resolution rules without needing to resort to the Employment Relations Authority.

Support rural New Zealand:

  • Push for regional freshwater rules over bureaucratic, one-size-fits-all regulation
  • Repeal the ‘ute tax’
  • Repeal the Zero Carbon Act
  • Remove the requirement for councils to identify Significant Natural Areas.

“ACT’s package of solutions will make life more affordable for middle New Zealand. Parents shouldn’t have to choose between swimming lessons for their kids and tank of petrol. We will keep listening to the concerns of New Zealanders and pushing for better solutions to make life more affordable for Kiwi families.”