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Letter From Wellington, Monday 17 July 2000

Last week the Government took a week off. This week Parliament is in recess, so again liberty and property are safe. The Letter will focus on issues in more depth, to properly examine the enormous damage the OECD’s most extreme left wing government is causing.

The Cost of Socialism
The radio spectrum auction flop represents the high cost to New Zealand of a left wing government. The auction for third generation (3G) frequencies was publicly expected to raise $600 million, privately Treasury expected over $1b. The United King-dom 3G auction raised $NZ67b. To date bids have reached $38m.

The most concerning aspect of the auction is the reluctance of telecom-munications companies to invest in New Zealand. Billions in investment is needed if New Zealand is not to become a technological backwater.

What’s Gone Wrong?
New Zealand has become a very risky place for telecommunications investment. On top of ACC changes and the Employment Relations Bill is the ministerial inquiry into telecommunications. The inquiry’s recommendation iqs that government regulate telecommunications, and establish a Telecommunications Commission to decide what can be sold, who to and at what price. There is no right of appeal to the courts, no criteria for decisions and no respect for property rights. Who can blame investors for being nervous?

Telecommunication regulations cost Australians $1.27b a year, while our light handed regime has made New Zealand the most connected country in the world.

Regulations: Today’s Socialism
Socialist theorists say you can achieve socialism despite, privatisation, through the use of regulation. Let business bear the cost of ownership and use regulation to achieve socialist outcomes.
The coalition breeds regulations. First was ACC and the Employment Relations Bill. Then a Parental Leave Bill; minimum wage regulations; and equal opportunity legislation. Soon a new Health and Safety Act and a Commerce Act where business is guilty until proven innocent.

The Telecommunications Commis-sion will be followed by re-regulation of the electricity sector. And if An-derton has his way – the banking and the finance sectors will be next.

Regulation is an addictive popularity tool for politicians, as they clamour to guarantee fixed cheap telephones for ‘pensioners’. Before telecommunica-tions were de-regulated some 70,000 people in New Zealand had “free” ‘phones – starting with the MPs.

ACT Leading the Fight
ACT is leading the fight against socialism by regulation. National is compromised by its record. The 3G spectrum auction should have been two years ago. We could have third generation technology today. Instead National delayed the auction because of a bogus treaty claim.

Their failure to reform the Holidays Act – as promised in two elections to stop bogus personal grievance cases - discredited the Employment Con-tracts Act.

It took the election of ACT MPs to get National to introduce choice into ACC. If they had done it seven years ago rather than last year, Labour would not have been able to repeal the legislation.
Bulk funding in schools is a half-hearted measure. Even Tony Blair’s Britain has charter schools. Why have a targeted entitlement scheme that lets only 120 lucky, low income chil-dren go to the school of their choice – when National could have given every child a choice

PM Upsets Richest Man
Helen Clark has made another high profile faux pas in an interview with Britain’s Financial Times. Clark told the Financial Times that APEC had run out of steam and would make no progress under Brunei’s stewardship. As well as causing several near heart attacks at MFAT, Helen Clark has had to personally write to the Sultan of Brunei apologising for her actions. Ms Clark must have forgotten that the foreign media aren’t subject to her whims.

Reds Control the Greens
The Greens hold the balance of power. The government’s socialism by regulation programme is only possible because of Green support. Jeanette Fitzsimons holds a ‘National’ seat – the farming and tourism elec-torate of Coromandel.

If she wants to be re-elected, she must say no to the ERB. ACT is starting a campaign in Coromandel to force Fitzsimons to put her electorate first. It will be interesting to see how the Greens react.

Government Stalled
The coalition is finding Government more difficult than they expected.

The internal disputes are growing. The competition to be the next Min-ister of Maori Affairs is an all out war. Both sides have tried to give ACT dirt on the other.

Once stalled in government it is hard to get momentum. This looks in-creasingly like a one term govern-ment.

ACT Three Day Caucus
This week the ACT MPs meet in Auckland for a three day retreat, to plan strategy. The media and the coalition agree that ACT has been the effective opposition. Michael Cullen claims ACT is the reason so many people oppose ACC nationalisation and Employment Relations Bill!

The ACT Caucus is considering a bold strategy to capture the agenda by launching policy initiatives over two years before the next election.

New Zealand needs to see that at least one Party has a vision for the country’s future.

Chamber Of Commerce Speech
Richard Prebble will be speaking to the Auckland Chamber of Commerce on Wednesday. The topic is the ERB and he will be detailing the Bill’s current situation and a strategy to ensure that it’s defeat. The speech is a must for all people affected by the ERB. Enquiries to 09 302 9910.

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