Parliament

Gordon Campbell | Parliament TV | Parliament Today | Video | Questions Of the Day | Search

 

Prebble's Letter from Wellington - 24th October

Richard Prebble's

Letter from Wellington

Tuesday, 24 October 2000

The coalition hopes this week's business meeting in Auckland will enable the government to re-launch itself. Ministers intend to grab the initiative and silence their critics by outlining pro-business initiatives like compliance cost reform, export assistance and tax breaks for R&D. The list of invitees has been carefully managed. By refusing to invite leaders from the Employers' Federation, Business Roundtable, or Manufacturers' Federation, government ministers hope the attendees will not have enough experience to challenge them.

Business Conspiracy?

The Labour leadership is convinced that business leaders have never given the coalition a chance. Helen Clark complains that when she is overseas influential members of the financial community are hostile. Michael Cullen reports that his meetings with the World Bank and IMF have also been difficult. The government protests that it is a moderate centre-left government, that has been misrepresented internationally by business organisations. What neither the Prime Minister nor Finance Minister seem to understand is that re-nationalising accident insurance, lifting personal tax rates, halting tariff reform and labour market re-regulation, are not considered moderate measures in the twenty-first century. They are considered discredited dogma. Today there is a free global market in capital, and an increasingly free market in skill's. New Zealand's disadvantages of size and isolation are no longer compensated by superior policies. New Zealand is the last bus stop - to attract capital and skill we need to be more attractive - comparable policies are just not good enough.

Tariffs

The coalition's decision earlier this year to freeze tariffs now looks very silly. The drop in the dollar is giving local manufacturers far more protection than a tariff freeze. Tariffs, plus the low dollar, mean the costs facing families for children's clothing and shoes are artificially excessive. If Cullen is looking for measures to persuade business that the coalition is flexible and at the same time ease the mounting pressure on household Xmas budgets - why not tell the forum that all remaining clothing and shoe tariffs will be removed?

Waitangi Woes

The Waitangi oil claim has been divisive for the coalition. Associate Energy Minister, Paul Swain, on advice from officials, issued an official Labour/Alliance policy statement: the Crown owns minerals and regardless of any tribunal recommendations the Crown will not recognise a Maori claim for petroleum. After all, if Maori can claim mineral rights, then what about the rights of non-Maori landowners? Labour's problems stem from their backdown over the radio spectrum. Prior to the election Labour stated it did not recognise Maori claims of electro-magnetic spectrum ownership (the light from the stars). The government then flip-flopped and gave away a valuable spectrum parcel. Ministers said it was not a Waitangi settlement but part of the unethical 'closing the gaps' policy. Unethical because Maori most likely to reap the benefits, as Simon Chapple points out, are Maori with above average incomes, education and job prospects. Alliance MP, Willie Jackson, and Labour's, John Tamihere, are confident that after their hijacking of the spectrum policy, overturning the minerals policy will be a walk in the park. If Clark does not back Paul Swain one hundred per cent on the issue, any remaining claims of prime ministerial loyalty will be derisory.

The North

ACT has just completed a four day, Far North report back tour. The good news is farmers are positive, although they recognise a low dollar is not panacea. Two problems repeatedly surfaced amongst locals: Employment and the Resource Management Act.

Employment

Long term unemployment in the North rose on average eight per cent this year, so the ACT MPs had expected to be questioned on solutions. Instead, we were told of chronic labour shortages. Farmers said they had given up. Forestry said it was a bigger problem than the roads. In Dargaville, a clothing factory closed last week - not because of tariffs - as there is no shortage of work, but due to an inability to find staff. The locals consensus? Staff can 'earn' more on welfare doing nothing.

The Resource Management Act

The RMA produced horror story after horror story. The new port in Whangarei has spent $6.5 million gaining resource consents, yet Ken Mair and his rent-a-mob are still planning demonstrations. Developers told of pro forma objections to every proposal they submit. When National introduced the RMA, Parliament was told it would lower compliance costs, speed up consents and make for better outcomes. But as objectors, both environmental and Maori can testify, it has made their job a whole lot easier.

ACT's Response

ACT MP Owen Jennings has won the ballot for his Bill to amend the RMA. Owen's Bill aims to stop the problem of landowners discovering their land has been designated of "significant national interest". Such a designation can be devastating - in effect your land becomes a park and the landowner's only 'right' is to maintain it and pay rates. Owen's Bill requires pre-consultation. The Bill is needed. Rodney Council is designating a new plan and some 100 landowners will be stunned to learn they now own a new park.

Dumbing Down New Zealand.

The latest immigration figures confirm that we are dumbing down. The year ended September is the worst year ever for the loss of skilled professionals (19,335), while only 13,863 skilled immigrants came into the country. The number of immigrants with no work skills continues to climb, 11,403 more than last year. National's immigration policies were inadequate. Winston Peters scared off quality Asian immigration and Labour does not appear to accept how serious the problem really is. ACT believes immigration is a very important issue. If one projects our skill loss/skill gain ratio into the future, we are well on course to become a third world nation.


ENDS

© Scoop Media

 
 
 
Parliament Headlines | Politics Headlines | Regional Headlines

Gordon Campbell: On National’s Rampant Pandering To The Farming Vote

What on earth has happened to the political parties n the centre-right? Once upon a time in the US, the party of Lincoln was a respectable political party before it devolved into the cult of Trump. Here at home, the National Parry used to be able to manage and administer the economic orthodoxy in a reasonably competent fashion. Now it can barely do simple addition and subtraction. Something must have gotten into the water, and not simply out on the farm... More>>

 

Winston Peters Speech: The Gathering Storm Clouds: Ihumatao

Frequently around New Zealand you hear people say that politicians are all the same. It’s a convenient way to dismiss any careful investigation of the truth of that statement. New Zealand First since its inception has been committed to ‘one law ... More>>

ALSO:

National Agriculture Policy: Will Restore Farmer Confidence And Pride

A National Government will reduce regulatory burden and give farmers confidence for the future. Leader of the National Party Judith Collins and Agriculture spokesperson David Bennett announced National’s Agriculture policy in Gisborne today. “Agriculture ... More>>

ALSO:

Shaw: Wealth Tax Not A Bottom Line For Green Party But They Will Push For It

Green Party co-leader James Shaw says one of his senior MPs misspoke under pressure when she said a wealth tax was one of the party's bottom lines. More>>

ALSO:

Government: More Border Exceptions For Critical Roles

The Government has established class exceptions for border entry for a limited number of veterinarians, deep sea fishing crew, as well as agricultural and horticultural machinery operators. “Tight border restrictions remain the backbone of the Government’s ... More>>

ALSO:


Gordon Campbell: On Last Night’s Leaders Debate

Do political debates change voter intentions, and cause voters to switch sides? According to a 2019 Harvard Business School study conducted across 61 elections in nine countries involving 172,000 respondents, the answer would seem to be a resounding ... More>>

ALSO:

Dunne Speaks: The Election Campaign Just Grinds Slowly On And On

With just over three weeks until the General Election, the release of the first major pre-election opinion poll this week confirmed what was already being reported about this year’s campaign. Although the gap between Labour and National has narrowed ... More>>

Electoral Commission: Candidate And Party Lists Released

17 registered political parties and 677 candidates will be contesting the 2020 General Election Nominations have now closed and the Electoral Commission has released the electorate and party list candidates for 2020 online at vote.nz . Advance voting ... More>>

National: Plan To Restore NZ’s Prosperity

National’s Economic and Fiscal Plan carefully balances the need to invest in infrastructure and core public services while also reducing tax pressure on Kiwi families and businesses. National Leader Judith Collins and Finance spokesperson Paul Goldsmith unveiled National’s ... More>>

ALSO:

NZ First: Party List

New Zealand First has a proven twenty-seven-year history of bringing balance and common sense to our government. Amid the continued setbacks of COVID-19 restrictions, New Zealand First has once again sustained its profile by selecting a strong team ... More>>


 
 
 
 
 
 

LATEST HEADLINES

  • PARLIAMENT
  • POLITICS
  • REGIONAL
 


 

InfoPages News Channels