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The Government's Weird War on the Poor

Free Press Monday 2 April 2018 -The Government's Weird War on the Poor

ACT’s regular bulletin

Chaos in the Beltway

The Media are hysterical over the Government’s various disasters from the Curran-Hirschfeld debacle to the absence of Russian spies in New Zealand, and New Zealand First heavying opposition MPs over Regional Growth Funding in their electorates. The honeymoon is over early and Easter weekend political columns read like bitter break up letters to Jacinda Ardern. We doubt that much of it will affect polling in itself but, make no mistake, the Government is facing the beginning of the end at its beginning.

Real Issues

Governments don’t win and lose on issues that beltway journos love. Nobody who’s listened to Red Radio will be surprised that the Radio New Zealand’s director of programing had a cozy relationship with a left-wing Minister who wanted to give them money. If there were only two ‘undeclared intelligence officers’ in Australia, who would be surprised if the Russians couldn’t afford to send one here? The real issues are about economic opportunity.

The Government’s Weird War on the Poor

The strangest thing this Government is doing is systematically attacking the people who voted for it. This week Free Press lists the many and varied ways that the Government is attacking the poorest New Zealanders. It seems that Wellington bureaucrats cum politicians who misunderstand economics are accidentally knee capping their own constituency.

Why Should You Care?

Even if none of these policies directly affect you, you’ll pay for them. This Government has never seen a problem it couldn’t solve by taxing you more and giving the money to those affected by its various other failures. For example, transfers to help people afford housing in an overheated market were already over $2 billion under National, they are forecast to grow at over $100 million per year minimum.

Partnership Schools

Free Press readers know that Partnership Schools were an ACT Party labour of love. We used our free market principles to give choice and opportunity to those who might not be able to afford to move into a different school zone or send their kids to an independent school. They became official policy of the Iwi Chairs Forum, and now the Government is abolishing them while suppressing taxpayer funded reporting on their performance.

Minimum Wages

On the subject of ignoring advice, a taxpayer funded report told the Government that raising the minimum wage would destroy 3,000 jobs. They will be lost to exactly the people whose best hope of upskilling was a start in the labour market. The Government would rather they sat at home on a $200 per week benefit than earning $15.75 an hour.

90 Day Trials

ACT’s policy of a 90-day trial has given thousands a start in the labour market when employers mightn’t have otherwise taken a chance on them. As if hiking the minimum wage didn’t destroy enough opportunity, the Government has removed 90-day trials from any workplace with more than 20 staff.

Petrol Tax

The Government’s 10 cent petrol tax will hit; those who live in farther out suburbs with longer commutes and less reliable public transport, those who drive older, less economical vehicles, and those who have less disposable income the hardest.

Ring Fencing Property Tax Losses

The Inland Revenue Department has announced initial discussions on ring fencing tax losses on investment properties. Negative gearing is, for better or worse, a massive subsidy to renters. Unless the Department knows how to reduce landlords’ costs somehow, then ring fencing their tax losses will give landlords only one option: put up rents.

Capital Gains Tax

The Capital Gains Tax (sorry bright line test) was introduced by National. ACT predicted that the two-year bright line test would be extended when the Government changed. Here we are. Watching National try to argue that Labour have introduced a Capital Gains Tax by extending their own policy would have been amusing if it wasn’t so serious. Needless to say, in a tight market, the cost will be passed from the owners of investment property to their tenants.

Free Tertiary Education

As a general rule, kids from wealthier homes are more likely to go to school, succeed at school, graduate to tertiary education, and do more expensive courses once they get there. The biggest beneficiaries of free tertiary education will be wealthier kids (until they have to pay higher taxes for the rest of their lives).

Meanwhile at ACT

If you are an ACT Member in Christchurch, our next regional conference will be on April 22nd. We have had very successful and well attended conferences in Auckland, Wellington, and Hamilton, and the Christchurch will be the last in the series. At the completion of this member consultation, we will be going into phase II of our Party Relaunch. If you are a member in the South Island and have not received an invitation to the April 22nd Regional Conference, please contact


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