Thank you to those who came out to the very short notice and very wet, but very well attended and very well reported rally to save Partnership Schools. We had always wondered how protests happened, when you get a passionate group of people they easily spill out and take over the streets. You can watch TV3’s coverage here.
Keeping the Momentum Going
The public backlash against closing Partnership Schools has been phenomenal. If you read Free Press, chances are you’re as outraged at the Government’s abrupt ‘lose all your freedoms or we close you’ approach to Partnership Schools as anyone. If you’d like to help the fight back, please sign and share this petition at www.savecharters.kiwi
Make the Government back off on closing charter schools. This Government is so excited about being in power they’ve forgotten who put them there. People who want a better chance in life for their kids. Some of them have relatives in Partnership Schools, most don’t, but this Government has just told all of us it doesn’t value children’s choices and chances. Sustained pressure can make them back off.
Hutt South National MP Chris Bishop has copped a hatchet job for communicating with teenagers on social media. Seasoned political journalists who Labour tried to shop the story to months ago think it was released now as a diversion from the pressure Labour is under on closing Partnership Schools.
Credit Where It’s Due
The Government’s housing report does one good thing, it acknowledges that there is a problem with housing. This is better than National were prepared to do, cynically pretending there was no problem in the belief that Governments get reelected when house prices rise. By Commissioning a report on housing supply, the Government have got National to admit the report is a ‘succinct picture of the housing market.’
Government is not the Solution to the Problem, Government is the Problem
…as Ronald Reagan used to say. Having realized too few houses being built, the Government has jumped to the conclusion that it should build them. This is nuts, if the Government can work out how to get around the RMA, lack of infrastructure funding options for councils, and long consenting times for buildings, why wouldn’t they do all those things for the private sector?
Government is the Problem No. 1
When the Resource Management Act made all property use subject to bureaucratic consent, the poorest New Zealanders paid 27 per cent of their income on housing costs. Today it is 54 per cent. If there is one cause of poverty and a lack of opportunity, that is it. Even the Ministry for the Environment thinks the RMA needs to be replaced but, like National, this Government will tinker at best. ACT’s policy is to replace the RMA, relying on the Productivity Commission’s Better Urban Planning report.
Government is the Problem No. 2
Fifteen per cent of a new build is GST, all the income tax paid by the builders and eventual residents goes to Government. Councils get only (restricted) development charges and rates, which are levied on existing voters and new owners alike. Consenting new builds is such a bad deal for councils it is amazing anything gets built at all. ACT’s policy is to give half that GST on new builds to the council issuing the consent.
Government is the Problem No. 3
When things go wrong, as in the leaky building saga, Councils are the last man standing left with the bill. No wonder Councils are gun shy about issuing consents, it is amazing they consent anything. ACT’s policy is to get councils out of the building consent business (why were they doing it in the first place?) and require mandatory private insurance on new builds
This is Why We Need an ACT Party
No other Party has given a clear and decisive plan to replace the RMA, give Councils a fiscal incentive to issue resource consents, and get Councils out of the building consent business. Free Press predicts that, unless there is a global financial meltdown, housing will be an even bigger issue in 2020.
The Greens’ Problem in a Nutshell
Green Leader James Shaw has tried and failed to get extra gender identity options added to the census for next month. Whatever people may think of gender politics, the saga shows the Greens’ problem in Government. Shaw has been Statistics Minister for three months and the census in electronic. Shaw protests that adding extra options is technically difficult, but Free Press suspects New Zealand First has objected. If the Greens can’t achieve this much in coalition, they’ll be in trouble with their supporters next election.
Meanwhile in ACT
Our first regional conferences are on this month in Auckland (24th) and Wellington (25th). If you are a member and would like to be involved in retooling and rebooting the party, please email firstname.lastname@example.org