Free Press: ACT’s regular bulletin
ACT’s regular bulletin
This week, National is working with the Māori Party to pass weak reforms to the Resource Management Act, adding bureaucracy and pandering to iwi interests.
What do the Reforms Do?
Within six months of a local body election the Council must identify Iwi in its jurisdiction and make an Arrangement for planning. So after the democratic election comes an undemocratic one. National will try to play down the significance of this move, but if you’re on the fence you need only ask yourself: Why have the Māori Party been prepared to walk away from Government to achieve it?
One more ACT MP could have stopped this legislation from being possible. Instead, National is now voting down ACT’s proposals to abolish iwi provisions, cut red tape, enshrine property rights, and prevent ministerial overreach.
Supporters Let Down
National is meant to be the party of property rights and equality before the law. Their choice to back the Māori Party and Iwi Participation Agreements instead of working with ACT and United Future is dumbfounding. Free Press understands National supporters are dumbstruck at how their party is pandering to the Māori Party and are giving National MPs heaps at party meetings.
The RMA debacle is a disaster for National supporters and a disaster for anyone affected by New Zealand’s housing shortage. It’s the perfect example of why New Zealand needs a stronger ACT after the election: with just one extra MP, ACT would have the leverage to block National from making deals with the Māori Party.
Talkback Running Hot
The media can’t keep this issue quiet. David Seymour joined the debate with Leighton Smith on Mondayand explained the political and personal forces that led Nick Smith’s deal with the Māori Party. You can listen here, with David joining five minutes in. If you’re interested in the policy debate, here’s David in the House.
A Victory for Freedom
In more positive news, the Government has agreed to allow the sale of nicotine e-cigarettes tax free. Tobacco taxes have more than doubled over the past six years, impoverishing poor communities and especially Māori, 36 per cent of whom still smoke. ACT has long campaigned for a tax-free nicotine alternative, sensible policy has finally prevailed.
Free Speech in the News
Former Muslim, now critic of Islam Ayaan Hirsi Ali has cancelled her speaking tour to New Zealand and Australia due to security concerns. David Seymour, who had tickets to hear her speak, said “Nobody should have their freedom of speech shut down in the face of violence.” Whatever has been threatened in Australia, in New Zealand we’re proud to live in a free society where we battle with ideas, not threats of violence. Let’s keep it that way.
A Heartening Response
Then, yesterday, an open letter was released by 27 prominent New Zealanders defending free speech, including the important of debating controversial views on university campuses. ACT applauds this initiative.
ACT Lays Down a Challenge
In a full-length interview with The Nation on Saturday, David Seymour laid out ACT’s challenge for 2017: To hold the balance of power after the election, stop New Zealand First, keep Labour, the Greens, and Mana out of power, and hold National accountable to taxpayers. The full interview is here.
A Cause to Support
We have already received donations on account of this interview. Kind commentators have said Seymour is as masterful as John Key in this interview. Less kind commentators have compared him to a young Winston Peters. ACT has a mission, and needs your support. If you already support ACT, thank you, your support will make a bigger difference now than ever. If you have not supported ACT before, please consider contributing to our 2017 campaign.
The Fiscal Framework
Labour and the Greens have promised not to raise taxes, and to reduce Government debt to 20 per cent of GDP two years later than National would have. As the NBR’s Rob Hosking points out, the left can no longer complain that the Government has a debt problem when they see repayment as a lower priority than the right does. More importantly is the spend up they are promising.
Huge Spend Up
The Treasury is forecasting $20 billion in surpluses over the next four years. Labour and the Greens’ promise not to raise taxes and slow the repayment of debt can be looked at another way: even they don’t think they can blow $20 billion in the next four years. The political contest is whether that money will go into extra spending, or whether the people who earned the money will be able to keep it. ACT will be releasing its tax policy in the run up to the Budget.