Free Press, 23 July 2018


2018 Annual Conference


Freedom, Choice and Responsibility – Does it exist under this Government? That’s the theme of this year’s ACT’s Annual Conference on Sunday, 12 August. Please register here for the most thought provoking political conference of the year.


Stellar Speakers


ACT has always been the party of ideas. Just look at politics today: The current socialist government has kept all of National’s policies. It is ACT’s contribution to the previous Government, Three Strikes, Charter Schools, 90-Day Trials, that are controversial. The speakers at this year’s conference continue our tradition as the party of ideas.


Speaker 1


Lecretia Seales re-sparked the Assisted Dying debate in New Zealand by bravely challenging the prohibition on getting help to end your life even as she suffered the pain people should be able to avoid if they choose. Her husband, Matt Vickers, has carried on the campaign an is a strong supporter of David Seymour’s End of Life Choice Bill. He’ll be giving a first-hand account of why this freedom issue matters.


Speaker 2


Lindsay Mitchell, who blogs at, is New Zealand’s foremost welfare commentator. She is across all the numbers and details. She is the architect of ACT’s policy of income management for those who have extra children while on a benefit or claim more than four years of unemployment benefit. This year she will shake down what this new Government has done to change welfare, and how the welfare rolls are already expanding.


Speaker 3


After 30 years of Tomorrow’s Schools, the NCEA, and the New Zealand Curriculum, it is possible to graduate high school without ever sitting an exam. Our NCEA results keep going up while New Zealand children’s scores plummet in international comparisons. Briar Lipson of The New Zealand Initiative passionately argues that we’re selling our kids down the river with the soft bigotry of low expectations, and we need to rethink curriculum and assessment or they will be toast in the 21stcentury.


More to Come


There are more speakers to be announced, if you haven’t already registered, please do so here. The earlier you register, the easier it is for the ACT office team to get organised.


New Evidence Teacher Unions Hurt Children


Last year ACT campaigned to raise teacher pay by $1 billion, but only if teachers left the unions and went on individual contracts. We have always said teacher unions are among the most insidious institutions in New Zealand. A new paper from the National Bureau of Economic Research has provided more evidence that we are right.


What is the Research?


Two economists took income and employment data from across the United States then compared it against whether people went to school in a state that had compulsory union bargaining at the time. They found that compulsory bargaining reduced students’ income in later life by an average of four per cent. For comparison, the CPTPP was supposed to make us 0.9 per cent wealthier. Getting rid of compulsory teacher union bargaining would make Americans four per cent wealthier.


The Biggest Free Trade Deal of the Decade


Capitalism and Freedom are on the march in… Africa. Completely ignored by the New Zealand media, the African Continental Free Trade Agreement effectively turns the continent into a giant free trade, free movement area of 55 countries and 1.2 billion people. While President Trump is starting trade wars and the British are playing chicken with their neighbours, Africa has an agreement that boffins calculate may double the value of trade on the continent. Charities want us to think Africa is a basket case of distended stomach, but it is set to go off like a rocket thanks to free markets and free trade.


Meanwhile, Closer to Home


ACT campaigned to pare back Working for Families in favour of lower tax rates. National did nothing about it, Labour are now expanding it. Who is left to push back the creeping socialism where people who work harder and get a $16,000 pay rise keep only an extra $2,500 in the hand after they pay tax and have their various accommodation subsidies, childcare subsidies, and Working for Families credits reduced for earning too much?