Politics in Full Sentences - 19 August 2019

Mon, 19 Aug, 2019

The Podcast

In last week’s episode of Politics in Full Sentences, David, Brooke and Ruwan discussed why Jacinda Ardern has been lecturing our friends overseas, why Andrew Little called ACT's three strikes law “fascism”, whether he will give prisoners the right to vote, and ACT’s new campaign for Fair Firearm Laws. You can listen here and watch here.

PM Gives Up on Domestic Problems, Lectures Foreigners Instead

Last week, the Prime Minister was on the international stage and in the glare of global media where she normally excels. But she seriously stumbled by lecturing our friend and closest ally, Australia, about their climate change record. (This follows her earlier criticism of Australia’s immigration laws.) She also had a crack at our Pacific neighbours for not electing enough women to political roles. Why is the Prime Minister concerning herself with the domestic policies of foreign countries, especially when matters at home aren’t exactly rosy?

Economy in Trouble

While Jacinda Ardern is happy to travel overseas and lecture other countries about climate change and identity politics, New Zealand’s economic growth is slowing, and her Government’s policies are making the situation worse. Labour has introduced or increased at least five taxes. It is stifling freedom and opportunity by shutting down charter schools, banning offshore oil and gas exploration, and forcing entire industries to sign up to collective employment agreements. The wastefulness coming out of Wellington is worse than it has been for years – there’s free university for kids who don’t need it and Shane Jones is spending almost $1,000,000 to get each ‘neph’ off the couch (See below.) If New Zealand is to survive the next recession, government must get back to basics. Labour doesn’t know how to manage the economy. ACT has a plan to keep the economy growing with one low tax rate, by restraining red tape, and by cutting wasteful spending in Wellington.

‘Buy-Back’ Gets Old, Low-Powered Guns

We’ve crunched the numbers and it appears the Government’s gun ‘buy-back’ is failing. ACT understands only 15 per cent of military style semi-automatic owners have attended a buy-back event, and in some cases they’ve only handed in some of their firearms to test the water. According to Police:

7573 firearms owners have been processed, handing in a total of 10,844 prohibited firearms and 46,129 parts and accessories. The amount compensated to firearms owners is a total of $22.4 million.

According to the buy-back price list, the average part in ‘new or used condition’ is $179. If Police paid the average for parts, then $8.3 million was spent on parts. That leaves $14.1 million to buy 10,844 firearms, or $1,300 each. According to the price list, however, the average centre-fire semi-automatic rifle – the type used in Christchurch – costs $2,556 in used condition. The conclusion is that the taxpayer is buying old and low-powered firearms in poor condition. The buy-back is not attracting high-powered firearms at all. In addition, the numbers suggest most people are handing in only one firearm. But if estimates of 1.5 million firearms and 250,000 licensed firearm owners are correct, the average person has six.

Fair Firearm Laws

Last week, ACT launched a new campaign to restore dignity to our democracy. The Government’s rushed, undemocratic gun laws treated 250,000 firearm owners with contempt. ACT has done what the Government should have – we consulted with experts and the gun community to come up with sensible changes that balance the rights of law-abiding firearm owners and the need for public safety. More than 1,000 people signed up to the campaign in the first 48 hours. This support is critical as we build toward the 2020 election. Please share our campaign with your networks so we can turn 1,000 people into 10,000.

$1,000,000 a Job

We’re used to politicians being wasteful with your money. National, under Steven Joyce and Simon Bridges, built a formidable corporate welfare machine. But Shane Jones is on another level. He has to spend $3,000,000 of your money every single day to get through the $3 billion Provincial Growth Fund. Over the weekend, Jones said he had created “well over” 1000 jobs. If we assume 1500 jobs have been created, and with $1.38 billion of taxpayer money committed, you are paying almost $1,000,000 for every job created through the PGF. Jones promised to "get the nephs off the couch", but we suspect that, with ACT’s 17.5 per cent company tax rate, firms could do a much better job at creating employment.

Bureaucratic Madness #1

It’s déjà vu. The 2019 Rugby World Cup schedule means some games will be played outside bar licensing hours. Pubs and clubs are having to apply for special licenses but are being turned down by licensing committees. It seems wrong that they should have to apply for a special license and be knocked back when we know from 2015 that people watching the rugby at their local are not troublemakers. David didn’t enter politics to be the MP responsible for letting people watch rugby at their local every four years. But, if absolutely necessary, ACT will challenge Parliament and the Government to change the law so common sense can prevail.

Bureaucratic Madness #2

Francie Perry is a constituent of David’s in Epsom. She has grown strawberries for 40 years and employs 1200 Kiwis. Her business requires overseas workers to pick berries because New Zealanders won’t do the work. The problem is that the immigration bureaucracy has blocked her from bringing workers into the country – even though this could put her out of business. This case encapsulates the disconnect between business and bureaucracy. Bureaucrats with power but without accountability can destroy livelihoods, killing off the entrepreneurial spirit our country depends upon as they go. TVNZ and Mike Hosking have covered the story.