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Politics in Full Sentences, 29 November 2019


The Podcast
This week on the podcast, we heard from former ACT MP and Federated Farmers President Owen Jennings about the Government’s attacks on the rural sector, why ACT was right to oppose the Zero Carbon Act, and why the National Party has been missing in action. You can watch here and listen here.
A New Bill
It’s hard for any society to problem solve without civilised disagreement. The politics of offence is one of the biggest problems we face. Luckily, we fund whole institutions so students and academics can debate difficult issues. Those institutions get our money and the law requires them to uphold academic freedom. What could go wrong?
Take the Money and Censor
But now there is a growing trend of controversial speakers being shut down to appease left-wing activists. David Seymour plans to introduce legislation that would cut funding to universities that fail to protect free speech. As a taxpayer, you shouldn’t have to fund institutions that are part of the problem. You can find our campaign website here.
A New Poll
A new Stuff/YouGov poll this week predicted ACT would get a second MP if an election was held today. Several recent polls have now suggested ACT could get between two and four MPs next year. This is a testament to the tireless work of David Seymour. If you would like to see more ACT MPs join David in 2020, you can support our growing movement here.
Is it Credible?
Poll bashing is rife. It’s true that the polls have failed to predict some results such as Brexit and Trump, but those results were so close no poll could have predicted them. It’s the difference between precision and accuracy. A poll can be accurate, but not precise enough to call a close race. Meanwhile, New Zealand polls have been accurate to date, and international polling guru Nate Silver rates YouGov.
Strike Force Raptor
Our big issue with Labour is that its ideas sound really good, but don’t work very well. Could National’s ‘Strike Force Raptor’ clone be a bit like that? Everyone likes beating up on gangs, but is that actually our goal? Rational people should want to be safe more than they want to punish the ‘baddies’.
Did it Work in New South Wales?
National’s policy is to copy New South Wales. What’s interesting is whether people there got safer over the ten years they’ve had this special gang Police unit. One easy way to test the idea is to see if NSW became safer than other states that didn’t have Strike Force Raptor. For example, out of eight states and territories, NSW was the third worst for car theft in 2009. By 2018 it was the fifth worst, so doing better.
What About Other Crimes?
NSW also went from third worst to seven worst in attempted break ins and sixth equal to seventh worst for assault. For every other crime category, NSW either stayed the same or got worse. This is a pretty rough and ready analysis, but basically it did not become safer for the average person due to Strike Force Raptor.
Corporate Welfare: Part 1
On Tuesday, the Government gave your hand-earned money to a privately-owned skincare company. By all accounts, The Herb Farm is doing very well. Why, then, couldn’t it get a loan from the bank, as its competitors do? We can only assume it has been given more favourable terms by the taxpayer than it would get from a commercial bank. Of course, we will never know on what terms your money has been loaned.
Some Objections to Corporate Welfare
There are many objections to corporate welfare, but here are just two. As a result of corporate welfare, the tax burden is several billion dollars higher than it needs to be, New Zealanders will work, save and invest less, and the economy will be smaller than it otherwise would be. We all lose as a result. Second, who is likely to get a better return on investment: Shane Jones, who needs to spend several million dollars a day in the lead up to an election at which his party might go under 5 per cent? Or someone in the private sector spending their own money on a business they know more about, and who is at risk of losing their shirt if it goes wrong? We all know the answer. Corporate welfare is deeply wasteful, and nobody spends money better than the person who earned it.
Corporate Welfare: Part 2
Rio Tinto is back in the Beehive after being given $30 million by taxpayers in 2013. Labour rightly called that a “brazen exercise in corporate welfare”. But today’s Labour Government, in the form of Megan Woods, has very politely entertained its request. She should have sent them packing. ACT says that private firms must stand on their own two feet and taxpayers should not be forced to subsidise particular jobs, firms or industries. We will not become a wealthier society by taxing productive firms and workers in order to subsidise the rest.
Greens’ Paternalistic Waste Tax
Wednesday’s landfill tax was the eighth time the Government has introduced a new tax or hiked an existing one. Jacinda Ardern’s promise of “no new taxes” in 2017 seems a long time ago now. This isn’t about simply covering the cost of landfills. The Greens want to change your behaviour with a six-fold increase in the landfill tax. It’s classic paternalism. But it will also have the unintended consequence of encouraging the illegal dumping of waste. It’s also a regressive tax, hitting poorer households harder. ACT’s view is that councils should be allowed to charge for landfill on a cost recovery basis, rather than being dictated to by a paternalistic central government.
Support Our Growing Movement
ACT is fighting on your behalf in Wellington. We have been a principled voice of opposition to rushed firearms legislation, the flawed Zero Carbon Act, and hate speech legislation. We’ve also put forward a positive vision for New Zealand, including one low rate of tax and letting parents control the education budget.

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