Free Press, 10 September 2018
Twyford’s PR Stunt
Housing Minister Phil Twyford claims a new housing development in Mt Roskill will help solve the housing crisis. The government plans to build 10,000 new homes over 15 years by demolishing 3000 existing state homes. That works out to be 466 additional homes a year. New Zealand has a housing shortage of 71,194, and 44,738 are needed in Auckland alone. This development will hardly make a dent in the housing shortfall.
The Underlying Issue
The Resource Management Act helped create the housing crisis through its several hundred pages of bureaucratic processes, red-tape, and anti-development bias. It blocks developers from building the new homes Kiwis desperately need. With so little land being freed up for development, the cost of housing has ballooned and has widened the gap between those who own houses and those who don’t. The poorest New Zealanders spend 54 per cent of their income on housing – up from 27 per cent before the RMA was passed.
What Would ACT Do?
ACT has consistently advocated for creating separate urban development legislation, prioritising land supply, and reducing red tape on developers. New Zealand has reformed its resource management laws every 25 years for a century – in 1926, 1953, 1977 and 1991. We’re now overdue for fundamental reform. The current Government was elected to solve the housing crisis. Twyford needs to get on with solving the underlying issues, rather than posing for photo opportunities.
Compulsory Te Reo Māori
The Greens want to force every child in state schools to learn te reo Māori. At least two Labour Party Ministers have said the same. One media personality pointed out recently that kids need to have the Māori language forced down their throats or it will die. This gets to the heart of the argument. The Left want to use kids as a means to achieve their ideological goals.
Getting the Basics Right
The point of education is to equip children with the basic skills to succeed in life. Many kids already struggle with basic reading and writing skills. In one reading literacy report, Year 5 students ranked 33 out of 50 countries, and last out of English-speaking countries. Another found that, of Year 11 students with NCEA Level 1, only 49 per cent achieved the international reading benchmark. Forcing kids that have enough trouble with English to learn te reo Māori as well could see them fall even further behind.
Government Waste #1
It was revealed last week that the cost of the Government’s much-vaunted ‘Justice Summit’ had ballooned from $700,000 to $1.5 million. What did taxpayers get for that money? Are New Zealanders any safer as a result? Of course not. It was a feel-good talkfest. Nothing concrete has emerged from it. ACT can feel vindicated by the fact that it was the only political party not to attend the summit.
Government Waste #2
More than 10 months into its tenure, the Government has a Minister who is paid $290,000 a year, but has a role without a job description. Kelvin Davis is the Crown-Māori Relations Minister, but we don’t know what he does. After being asked last week what his job entails, Kelvin said ‘an announcement will be made soon’. That is completely unacceptable and shows what a shambles this Government is.
Smaller Government Bill Needed
We have a bloated Executive of 31 highly-paid Ministers and Undersecretaries. Many of them hold unnecessary portfolios and haven’t achieved anything concrete in ten months. The Fourth Labour Government enacted the most far-reaching economic reforms in our country’s history with a smaller Cabinet than the current one. ACT’s Smaller Government Bill will deliver fewer politicians and more accountability. New Zealand needs smaller, smarter government.
Government Waste #3
Taxpayers have given $2.4 million to create just three jobs at a tourism hub in Kawakawa. That’s $800,000 a job. Official documents show this was a shocker of a decision. The hub’s revenues are overstated and it will cannibalise other businesses in the area. The Friedensreich Hundertwasser-themed hub didn’t even have the rights to put the artist’s name to it. Shane Jones’ officials told him not to approve the funding but he signed the cheque anyway.
Standing Against Government Waste
Taxpayers are being forced to pay for wasteful projects to ensure NZ First’s political survival. Shane Jones needs to spend $2 million a day to get through the $3 billion Provincial Growth Fund, so the waste is sure to continue. The Fund is a continuation of National’s corporate welfare policies. Only ACT stands on the side of taxpayers in opposing wasteful politicians and bureaucrats.