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Hon Rodney Hide, ACT Leader,Budget Speech 2010

Hon Rodney Hide, ACT Leader,Budget Speech 2010

The ACT Party is proud to be a part of this Government, and to support it on Confidence and Supply.

We are pleased that we have a government that is addressing the scandalous abuse of taxpayers we saw over the past decade.

We are pleased that we finally have a government that understands that every dollar that government spends comes from some hardworking taxpayer; or if not, is an attempt to put the tab on our children and grandchildren.

We are staggered that after nine years of grotesquely wasteful spending, the Labour Party members have the cheek to stand in this house and urge yet more spending and borrowing.

The answer to the debt problem is not more debt - yet that’s Labour’s only response.

We are pleased that we are seeing action across a wide range of portfolios.

The last government did nothing about leaky homes, even when the global boom blessed us with fiscal surpluses.

This government is trying to fix the problem.

• We are fixing the financial crisis in ACC;

• We are getting better value for money in Health;

• We are addressing our poor infrastructure, building the roads that are essential to move our people and our products around;

• We are looking at commonsense options to utilise our mineral resources better, to give jobs and wealth to New Zealanders, and to help fund our essential social services;

• We are cutting red tape;

• We getting more transparency and accountability in local government.

This government is addressing long-standing problems in Auckland - issues the previous government ducked. We are creating one strong voice for Auckland.

Due to ACT's 3 strikes legislation, we are sending a message to the small group of violent criminal offenders that this society will stand up to them. This government will work to keep our communities safe from such violent predators.

This Budget is a welcome attempt to get New Zealand's fiscal problems under control. The finance minister is to be commended for his attempts to restrain spending.

In just one term of government he will leave NZ in much better shape. The previous finance minister's legacy turned out to be a tsunami of debt.

As the cyclical economic decline came, Labour increased spending at an even more frantic rate to forestall their political decline. It was irresponsible, it was foolish, it was reckless - and it was entirely typical of Labour.

I commend the moves to structure the tax system to encourage work and savings.

The ACT Party would prefer to do more.

We would prefer we attacked wasteful spending more vigorously, because there is still plenty of it.

If we did so we would not have to be matching income tax cuts with tax increases elsewhere, and all NZ households would be much better off.

We need more competition and choice within the vast, creaking and crumbling state monopolies that dominate our health and education sectors.

We could look to the new British government, which is about to introduce ACT's education policies.

But while there is much to commend in this Budget, and much more yet to do, there is one gross and glaring failure.

One elephant in the room. And it threatens to undo all the good work that is being done.

Here we are, tuning up the car for peak performance, new tires, tank full of gas, any aerodynamic impediments removed. But some silly bugger has locked the handbrake into place.

The handbrake is the emissions trading scheme.

The rest of the world has the handbrake off, and we have it locked on.

We are the only country with an all-gases, all-sectors ETS. The only good thing you can say for it, is that it isn't as daft as Labour's one.

But it is still a damaging and incomprehensibly foolish imposition on our fragile economic recovery. It will slow our ability to create jobs, and to generate higher incomes for working people. It will stop us catching Australia.

This is a folly on the scale of past National-inspired disasters. This is up there with Rob Muldoon's attempts at central planning. It matches and surpasses Bill Birch's disastrous think big.

The ETS is an act of financial folly.

It will take over a billion dollars from struggling households and businesses, and bestow that wealth on forest owners whose forests were planted long before the ETS was even contemplated.

Have the foresters had too much influence? Has the fox been in the henhouse?

What we know for sure is that the farmers are in the outhouse.

The costs are about to hit on July 1 this year. The ETS is an assault on the agricultural sector.

Higher energy costs will bite deep into farm profitability.

Higher energy costs will bite deep into the profitability of our processing industries.

Higher energy costs will bite savagely deep into NZ households, which will also be facing higher GST.

The ACT Party opposes, and will continue to oppose the ETS.

Our trading partners are not proceeding with ETSs. The Australians have dropped theirs. The Europeans have an ETS in form only, but not in substance.

We are the odd ones out.

We are sacrificing international competitiveness for the sake of nothing more than empty posturing and strutting on a now empty world stage.

But I must say, Mr Speaker, that I have been pleased to see that core National Party supporters have more sense. They are joining with the ACT Party to oppose the ETS.

Two weeks ago, at the Central North Island National Party conference attended by 300 delegates, they passed a remit to defer the ETS. Manurewa and Tamaki electorates are proposing a joint remit for the Northern regional conference of the National Party, to defer the ETS.

I say to those National Party members, good on you. Keep at it. Make your employees in Parliament listen.

We can stop this madness, this self-inflicted wound, this handbrake on growth and jobs and incomes.

And I say to you brave, decent and honest National supporters, who are simply urging your Party in government to do what it promised in opposition to align with the Australian ETS, but not get ahead of it - that we in ACT are with you.

In fact, if you give your support to ACT you might even start to get the National Party you want.

Mr Speaker, the ACT Party commends the general direction of this Budget, and will vote for it.

We will vote for it not just because we have pledged to support this government on confidence and supply, but because for the most part it is moving the country in the right direction, if not yet at the right speed.

If ACT, together with the support of the numerous National supporters urging us on, can convince the government to defer the ETS, then NZ really will be on the road to recovery.

We will have the handbrake off.

ENDS

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