Over 600 people crammed into the SkyCity Theatre today to demand real change as ACT MPs and candidates outlined a fresh vision for New Zealand.

“The size of this crowd, and the enthusiasm they showed for ACT’s people and policies, shows that this is a country crying out for real change,” said ACT Leader David Seymour.

“In every area that troubles New Zealand, the pattern is the same. The problem is decades in the making. Labour promises to make it worse faster. National promises not to rock the boat.

“The question is this: do we want to be one of two first world nations in the South Pacific or do we want to carry on with the same old two-party solution, and be a factory supplying our best young talent on a one-way conveyor belt to Australia?

“ACT will bring consequences back for crime, building a new prison and putting youth offenders in Corrections’ custody so people who break the law are held accountable for their actions. You can’t rehabilitate someone if they are running around committing more crime.

“ACT will reintroduce the Three Strikes law and lock up the worst of the worst if they continue to commit serious violent crimes.

“We will also ensure there’s more rehabilitation in jail. Letting criminals out before they’re rehabilitated is pointless and cruel. We will make self-improvement a condition for early release.

“ACT will end the divisive policy of co-governance – a policy New Zealanders weren’t consulted on – and we’d define the Treaty principles openly and democratically. We would also take Treaty references out of legislation. ACT would tell bureaucrats that treating people differently based on race, not need, is lazy and divisive.

“ACT will tackle the cost-of-living crisis engulfing our nation. Only ACT has a fully costed plan to cut waste from government and return that money to New Zealanders through lower taxes and targeted, sensible spending on core public services. More money for GPs, excellence payments for teachers, and GST refunds for councils so they can build more public infrastructure to support housing.

“One of the reasons we have so many problems in New Zealand and such a high cost of living is that Labour has wasted billions, delivered little, and made life more expensive and tedious through their addiction to red tape and regulation.

“Most of New Zealand's problems can be traced to poor productivity, which can in turn be traced to red tape.

“ACT in Government would draw a line in the sand. We would insist on the Regulatory Standards Act being passed, and we would refuse to vote for laws that fail three simple tests:

1. Is there a problem to be solved?
2. Do the benefits of the law outweigh the costs?
3. Are the costs and benefits of a law shared fairly?

“Applying these tests will need someone committed to doing the work. ACT would redeploy MBIE and Treasury staff who are already tasked with keeping a watch on regulations into a new Ministry of Regulation with a new Minister of Regulation.

“Their sole responsibility would be to police the rules and regulations Ministers are constantly foisting on unsuspecting Kiwis just trying to get ahead.

“If these tests were applied, half the laws this Government has passed would be left on the cutting room floor.

“The new Minister would carry out rolling red tape cuts sector by sector. The Minster of Regulation would ask people who work in the sector affected by the rules and regulation what is getting in their way. They would test the rules against the Regulatory Standards Act and make a list of rules to axe.

“They’d present that list to the Minister responsible for, say, Primary Industries, and challenge them to justify the rules the people want gone. If they couldn’t, the red tape would be cut.

“The other parties like to dream up ways to spend your money and make new rules. ACT thinks about how we can get out of your way so you can earn more money and get on with your life.

“To anyone thinking about leaving this country, I say this: Never give up on New Zealand.

“Yes, the problems are large. Yes, they have built up over a long time. But they are also solvable. ACT has the ideas and the will. Kiwis have always shown that, no matter the scale of the challenge, we can meet it.

“We can again build a country united behind good ideas. Everyone, together, will be better off with ACT in Government this year. We need real change now.”

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