Principles

An open and benevolent society in which individual New Zealanders are free to achieve their full potential.

ACT was founded in 1993 as the Association of Consumers and Taxpayers by Derek Quigley, a former National cabinet minister and Sir Roger Douglas, the former Labour Minister of Finance. Since we became a political party in 1994, we have consistently been the party of ideas, advocating for expanded personal freedom and responsibility.

Rules 6 - 9 of our Constitution lays out our party's fundamental principles.

Our Statement of Identity and Purpose 

"ACT, as a constructive and solutions-focused political party, exists to promote and implement better policy for all New Zealanders, particularly through reducing the role of government and increasing the role of free markets. To this end, ACT puts up candidates for election to the House of Representatives, who are selected by the procedures set forth in rules 122-141".

ACT Believes:  

That it is inherent in the nature of human beings as individuals that they are the owners of their own lives and must be free to act according to their own judgments so long as they accept and respect the like freedom of others;

Freedom of thought, conscience, religion, belief, and expression including the right to adopt, hold opinions, and express those opinions, is essential to a free society and must be promoted, protected, and preserved;

That the proper purpose of government is to enact and enforce laws, and to take such action as may be necessary to secure freedom of the individual from the actions of others, including those others who constitute the government, which could constrain individuals from exercising ownership of their own

The Party subscribes to values and subsidiary principles following from and consistent with its principal object and the fundamental principles, including but not limited to:

  • No one is above the law; all are subject to the same law administered in the same way;

  • Laws must be objectively justifiable and objective in their application, implementation and administration;

  • Regulations and other delegated legislation must be scrutinised and subjected to recall or cancellation if they are not able to be objectively justified;

  • Each person must be judged as an individual by reference to the person’s own personality, character and actions and not as a member of a group defined by race, gender, sexuality, religion, political belief or other group characteristic;

  • Disagreements must be resolved by dialogue and the application of reason, not by physical force or actions which although falling short of physical force aim to prevent a speaker from being heard;

  • Voluntary choice and agreement should be the way in which people deal with each other in everyday life and in the economic market place;

  • The Treaty of Waitangi is an agreement which should be viewed as intended to set an honourable course for the future interaction of individual Māori with individual non-Māori.

The Party’s policies must be developed from time to time within the prevailing social, political and economic environment. Whilst they must be consistent with the Party’s principal objective and fundamental principles, and accord with the Party’s values, by their nature they cannot be part of the operative and binding provisions of the Constitution. This clause, which is not binding, gives by way of example some indicative concrete expressions of the principal objective and principles, and values.

  • Like the New Zealand House of Representatives, only the democratically elected members of councils and other local authorities should have the right to vote;

  • Any person seeking New Zealand citizenship or permanent residency should be required to affirm that they subscribe to the democratic and civil rights enunciated in sections 12-18 of the New Zealand Bill of Rights Act 1990;

  • Income taxes should be levied at one flat rate and capital should never be taxed.

  • Neither central nor local government should own, operate, invest in, loan to, or make grants to any entity that seeks to compete in the private sector;

  • Employment should be by private contract between employee and employer, and membership of any association of either employees or employers should be entirely voluntary;

  • Foreign investment should be restricted only if an investment threatens national security;

  • Trade should be free of tariffs and non-tariff barriers other than those necessary for national security and biosecurity;

  • Pollution and natural resources should be managed with free-market solutions such as polluter-pays and tradable quotas;

  • Wherever possible, conservation measures should be undertaken by private means rather than by government programmes;

  • Every child should be allocated an education account through which they may direct all taxpayer education funding to their choice of public or private provider;

  • Welfare entitlements other than for sickness and disability should be time-limited and thereafter should be in the form of managed assistance.

Our Constitution

The Party's Constitution lays out its fundamental mission and principles detailed above. In addition, it contains the rules under which the Party operates.