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Muriel Newman Speech Property Investors Assn

Dr Muriel Newman Monday, 25 July 2005 Speech to The Wellington Property Investors Association, National Library Auditorium, Aitken Street, Wellington, Monday 25 July, 7.15pm

Residential property investors should vote for a change in government on election day if they want to retain rental housing as a good investment for their retirement. The changes that Labour are considering if they win a third term in office have the potential to dramatically undermine the attractiveness of residential rental property: capital gains tax, rent controls, the registration of every property, annual warrant of fitness check and an examination and registration regime for property owners, are some of the proposals being considered by Labour.

If you want to prevent Labour winning the next election, the question then becomes how would you vote not only to bring about change but also to protect your investment into the future?

Clearly, the contest for Prime Minister is between Helen Clark and Don Brash, but under MMP if their party wins the majority of the votes in Parliament that does not necessarily mean that they can form a government. Remember 1996 when the votes for National and Labour were so close that the outcome of the election depended on New Zealand First.

What a disaster!

Don Brash has already clearly stated that no one who wants a change in government should vote for NZ First or United Future. The simple reason he gives is that neither has ruled out supporting Labour. In fact, in a recent poll, 67 per cent of NZ First supporters said they wanted to work with Labour and according to another poll two thirds of NZ First supporters don’t want a National Government.

So what are the options?

Under MMP, nowhere in the world has a single party won enough votes to govern alone. A major party needs the support of smaller parties to either enable them to function as a minority government or to form a coalition.

That means that Don Brash will need a party to support him which believes in the principles and values that he is espousing. That party is ACT.

When Don Brash was elected to Parliament, he was described as ACT’s ninth MP. He believes so strongly in ACT’s principles and values that he has adopted many of our ideas as his own. That makes ACT and National very compatible: both parties are committed to lower taxes, less regulation, and welfare reform.

ACT will be pushing to use the record $7.4 billion budget surplus to fund major tax cuts: 15 cents in the dollar on earnings up to $38,000 and 25 cents above that. We want comprehensive welfare reform designed to cut out the widespread abuse of the system, and reduce welfare numbers by a third within a year and two-thirds over time, making lower taxes affordable in the long term.

ACT’s plan for small business growth would see company tax lowered to 25 cents in the dollar and the bureaucracy and red tape that are crippling small business cut to ribbons.

Small business is the engine room of our economy employing four out of five New Zealanders. Government should be making it easier for businesses to grow and create more jobs, not harder. ACT would repeal the Employment Relations ACT to re-instate flexible workplace contracting and grievance-free trial periods for new employees. We would reintroduce competition into ACC, dump OSH, and the RMA which have passed their used-by-date.

Not only is ACT the natural partner for National to work with after the election to make the changes that are so desperately needed, but a Party Vote for ACT is also the only way to ensure a change in government.

It is quite conceivable that after the election, even if National won the majority of votes, Labour could cobble together a government made up of NZ First, United Future, the Greens and the Ma"ori Party. While they may look to be unlikely bedfellows, it is important not to forget how desperate Helen Clark is to become the first Labour Prime Minister in our history to win three terms in office. She will do almost anything to achieve that goal.

The established parties, National and Labour, gain most of their MPs through winning electorate seats. At the last election it took 120,000 Party Votes to elect a Labour list MP, 70,000 Party Votes to elect a National MP and only 16,000 Party Votes to elect an ACT list MP. Any centre-right voter looking for change and wanting value for money from their party vote would be wise to consider voting for ACT.

A recent poll suggested that 30 per cent of National voters supported ACT as a trustworthy partner for Don Brash. Imagine what that would mean for the centre-right if those 30% of National voters, who want to see a Don Brash led government, gave ACT their party vote. Those votes would generate 18 ACT MPs. That would be more than enough to enable National and ACT together to form a stable government committed to freedom and prosperity through lower taxes, less regulation, and welfare reform.

Tax has emerged as a key election issue. Most New Zealanders realise that Labour has been greedy in collecting too much tax – whether through income tax rates which are too high, or through the other forty sneaky taxes like petrol tax – and they are demanding tax cuts. But under MMP, a change in government may not be enough to guarantee tax cuts. If National is forced into a relationship with NZ First, the money for tax cuts will be needed to fund increased pensions to satisfy NZ First’s promises to the elderly.

That is why under MMP only a Party Vote will firstly ensure a change in government, secondly give Don Brash a stable partner so he can get the country back on track and thirdly be your guarantee of lower taxes into the future.

In fact a Party Vote for ACT is your insurance policy to ensure that New Zealand gets back on a path to prosperity, and that you retain your freedom to go about you lawful life safe from interference of an overbearing dictatorial state.

One final comment. Of all the parties in Parliament, ACT has worked the hardest to protect the rights of private property investors. Working with property groups, we fought hard against the Residential Tenancies Amendment Bill which was designed to penalise landlords. To date – almost four years later – it has still not been passed, and if Labour is defeated, the Bill will be relegated to the dustbin of history.

ACT led two campaigns to help landlords: firstly to enable beneficiary tenants with money management difficulties to have their rent paid directly to landlords, and secondly to require the Department of Work and Income to release contact details to court bailiffs in order to serve court orders from the Tenancy Tribunal.

We also fought against Labour’s depreciation changes, and we have raised awareness of the draconian changes that Labour is promoting in the review of the Residential Tenancies Act.

ACT had fought hard to protect your interests over the years. In order to continue to do that, we need your help. On election day, please support us – and all that you believe in – by giving ACT your Party Vote.


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