Friday, 8 November 2019

Politics in Full Sentences: An Opposition of One?

Muldoonism in environmental drag

This week, Muldoonism reappeared in environmental drag. The Zero Carbon Bill – which gives the government massive power over the economy and inexplicably forces New Zealanders to offset their emissions in New Zealand only – was supported by every party except ACT.

Why ACT opposed it

The legislation requires the Climate Change Minister to plan how and where emissions will be reduced, in every sector, and this plan can be changed any time. It’s a return to the bad old days of central planning the economy from Wellington. David Seymour proposed an amendment that would have taken this power off the Minister, but it was voted down by every party, including National.

ACT’s other amendment voted down

The legislation also says that New Zealanders can only offset their emissions domestically. But it shouldn’t really matter if trees are planted in Northland or in the Amazon. Mr Seymour also proposed a change that would have allowed New Zealanders to achieve emissions reductions at the lowest possible cost by purchasing overseas units as well. This was also rejected by every other party. ACT could have supported legislation that allowed New Zealanders to reduce their emissions at least cost with minimal bureaucracy, but Parliament voted for expensive reductions with maximum bureaucracy.

Most expensive legislation in history

The New Zealand Initiative says the requirement to offset emissions in New Zealand only could add $300 billion to our emissions bill, reduce incomes by 6 per cent, and lead to higher emissions. It will mean higher fuel and food costs. The Initiative called it the most expensive piece of legislation in our history.

An opposition of one?

ACT often votes against the entire Parliament, 119-1. In ‘Red October’ last year, it voted against giving massive powers to bureaucrats at the Commerce Commission to demand sensitive commercial information from entire industries. It voted against the Prime Minister’s child poverty legislation which focuses almost entirely on inequality (and therefore suggests income redistribution as the ‘solution’) rather than child poverty itself. It also opposed ‘equal pay’ legislation which gives courts the power to decide how much workers in entire industries get paid.

A year of freedom fighting

This year, ACT has been the only voice against new restrictions on what New Zealanders are legally allowed to say. Only ACT said ‘no’ to the first tranche of firearms legislation because it treated firearms owners with contempt and because rushed law is bad law. Later this year, only ACT will oppose the Associate Health Minister’s bizarre plan for a “vape-free” New Zealand. This innovative and life-saving technology could help 500,000 smokers kick the habit.

UMR poll has ACT rising

Voters are responding to ACT’s principled positions. According to Matthew Hooton, ACT is close to three per cent in Labour’s latest internal poll, conducted by UMR. This would give the party four MPs and, potentially, a kingmaker role in the next Parliament.


This week on the podcast, there was a fantastic discussion with insolvency lawyer Brent Norling and ACT’s Deputy Leader Beth Houlbrooke. The theme was: Why don’t Labour, the Greens and NZ First understand small business? Brent is the author of a wonderful open letter to Jacinda Ardern on behalf of small business owners. If you haven't seen it, the piece is well worth a read. You can watch the podcast here and listen here.

Support ACT

ACT is taking principled positions on issues of social and economic freedom. Our poll numbers are rising. We are actively running a number of social media campaigns. David is getting out and meeting Kiwis from Whangarei to Invercargill. But freedom ain’t free. If we are to take the fight to the Government and put forward an agenda of our own over the next 12 months, we need your support. Can we count on you to support us?