Sound bites v Policy

Hon Richard Prebble

Sunday, 13 August at 11.15 am
Zarbo Delicatessen Cafe & Catering, 15 Morrow St, (off Broadway) Newmarket

“Gresham’s law is a monetary principle stating that “bad money drives out good”. When the government debases the currency by say adding copper to gold, then all the pure gold coins disappear.

“Well it’s the same in politics.  When all that is said are meaningless sound bites, then real policy is driven out.

“The only way to restore faith in the currency is to withdraw all the fake coins and put out genuine.

“So too with politics.  Replace the slogans with policy.

“David Seymour has broken with all rules of political campaigning and put out a serious policy book, “Own Your Future”.  Practical workable solutions to the country’s real problems.

“David Seymour has set out way to solve the housing crisis that does not involve billions of dollars of taxpayer money.  He points out the housing crisis is not a market failure it is a failure of regulation.  Fix the regulations and the private sector is able and willing to build the houses we need.  Local bodies are incentivized today to create a housing bubble because as house prices increase so does rates.  So, councils are incentivized not to zone new land for housing.  Seymour’s solution; give local bodies half of the GST on new housing and local bodies will have an incentive to encourage new house building.

“David Seymour points out that when the government has a surplus it just means we have been over taxed.  Only ACT says that is the taxpayer’s money and should be returned to the people who paid the tax.  ACT is the only low tax party.  National promises lower taxes every three years and then let inflation increase the tax we pay.

“I recommend you read what David says about education.  David Seymour has been the Under Secretary for Education for the last three years.  This is the opinion of the person who knows.  David Seymour, the Under Secretary for Education, says our education system is broken.

“It is a considered view that we dismiss at our peril.

“And let me pay a tribute to David Seymour.  He has had the courage to introduce the End of Life Choice Bill.  I said to David I thought it was a huge risk but he is in politics not to be popular but to make a difference. I attended the funeral of some one very dear to me last week so I have been thinking about mortality.  I have reached the age when I have a fear of Alzheimer’s especially when I cannot find my car keys.  Then I remember I have been losing my keys all my life.  I would rather die when I still recognize the people I love than for them to become strangers.

“David has quite properly sought to make his bill not party political but it is.

“The fact is ACT is the only party in parliament that will raise the difficult issues.  Even if you are against his bill you should vote ACT.  Parliament desperately needs the ACT Party that will raise the difficult questions.  But it is more than that.  ACT is the only party humble enough to believe we do not know all the answers.  ACT believes you know far better the choices that are best for you.

“I have to make a contrast between our leader and Labour’s new leader.  David Seymour has a degree in engineering and has worked in the world’s leading policy think tanks in North America.  When he arrived in parliament he was one of the best prepared MPs for the serious business of government and he had won Epsom an impressive achievement. Yet he turned down the chance to be a minister.  There may be another MP who has turned down the ministerial office but I do not know of one.  David said he did not have the experience.  He would like to learn the job of being a minister in the junior position of Under-Secretary. It is one of the reason that even ACT’s many enemies agree David Seymour has been a success.

“Jacinda Ardern is a good TV performer.  The sound bite queen.  It is also true she is the most unqualified candidate for Prime Minister that any major party has put up ever. Nothing to do with gender.  She has done nothing.  An unimpressive university degree in communications which qualifies her to do PR.  Her CV is being a full time student politician with Socialist Youth International.  Most of you have never heard of the Socialist Youth.  When I was an 18 year old, in the Labour Party I had the opportunity to join.  The perk is free overseas travel.  But even as a teenager I thought Socialist Youth was a most immature silly organization and a huge waste of time.  They spend their time passing totally unrealistic motions giving instructions to the President of America.  I doubt if any President has ever heard of Socialist Youth let alone read the silly press statements they release.  A total waste of time.  Ms. Ardern not only joined this useless organization but spent years being its fulltime president.  Socialist Youth are in favour of assisting the third world but they do not actually live there.  The President resides in London enjoying a very good life.   When asked what qualified her to be Prime Minister Jacinda said because she had been President of Socialist International.  It should disqualify her. She could not win Auckland Central.  When I was MP for Auckland Central I had the biggest majority in the country.  How could she lose twice?  Jacinda has never had a real job.  No life experience. At 38 she is totally unqualified to be Prime Minister.

“Learning to be Prime Minister on the job will be very expensive for the nation.

“Already just a week into the job she is the most expensive Leader of the Opposition ever.

“Ms. Ardern is proposing to tax fuel and water.

“Labour’s transport policy to solve Auckland’s congestion is trams up Dominion Road and cancelling the East-West link.  I went to school via Dominion Road.  I am old enough to have gone to school by tram.  In the fifties trams caused transport chaos.  Our roads are just not wide enough.

“Today it is very difficult to travel east to West, from Mt Wellington to Mangere and people who live in Mt Wellington also need to get to the airport.  There are no east west roads.  Cancelling this vitally needed road will just ensure Auckland remains congested.  To add insult to injury the motorist has to pay for this lunacy.

“New taxes are acorns.  Its Prebble’s law.  New taxes grow from acorns to oak trees.  New taxes always grow.  When PAYE was introduced Labour and National both promised, income tax will not increase.  Most people like my father did not pay income tax when PAYE was introduced but by the time he retired, my father was paying income tax on his pension.

“I will bet my parliamentary super that if Aucklanders must pay fuel tax then soon everyone in the country will be charged the fuel tax.  Labour’s proposed fuel tax is so attractive to local body politicians.  They can spend the motorists’ money on anything even something as silly as trams up Dominion Road.

“Ms. Ardern’s second policy is to tax water.  In the middle ages kings would tax products like salt that everyone must use.  It is the worst tax there is.  It is the most highly regressive tax.  The poor drink just as much water as the rich.

“Prebble’s law.  A tax on farmers’ using water today will be a tax on everyone’s water tomorrow.  Again, Labour does not just want to use the water tax to clean up rivers but some of the money, undefined, will go to Maori.

“National maybe a frustrating visionless party but one thing they know about is government, they have had a lot of practice.  Charging international bottling companies for water may seem a no brainer so why has National been so hesitant?  Well, National knows if you charge for water you concede you can own water.  That raises the question, who does own New Zealand’s water.  Maybe it is not the government.  Maybe it is Maori.

“Labour created the Waitangi grievance industry.  Labour’s water tax will transform the Waitangi gravy train into an ocean going liner.  It is easy to predict that half of the water tax will go to Maori.

“The ACT Party is in favour of property rights.  If the country decides water can be owned then we as a party accept the results.  The courts may well decide Maori have a better claim than the government. Ownership of water will resolve allocation issues.  But Labour is a socialist party that does not believe in property rights so why is Ms. Ardern opening this Pandora ’s Box?

“The Clark government confiscated Maori seabed and foreshore rights that the courts said they owned.  The social discord was enormous and set back race relations decades.  Taxing water and then confiscating Maori property rights is going to be hugely damaging to race relations. Labour says taxing water is an environmental policy but by saying they are going to give some of the tax to Maori Labour thinks it will win the Maori seats.  Only a 38 year old with no life experience could propose such a dangerous policy.

“National is right to be careful. Labour’s water tax will become a huge racially divisive issue and a tax on us all.

“These water and fuel taxes are two biggest tax increases ever promised in an election campaign.  Ms. Ardern has only been leader a week.  What havoc would she wreck in three years as Prime Minister?

“It is scary just to think what Labour’s next week’s policy will be.

“It is what happens when we have a party leader who knows zero about economics.  This week the Reserve Bank put out its Monetary policy statement for August 2017 forecast, a must read for any serious politician.  The media asked Jacinda Ardern what she thought.  I saw a flash of fear cross her eyes as she confessed she did not even know the bank had released the “If she had read it and if she knew how to interpret the Reserve Bank’s language this sentence would have jumped out. “Numerous uncertainties remain and policy may need to adjust accordingly.”  The Reserve Bank is worried about the economy and is warning interest rates may change fast.

“I have like others watched Ms. Ardern give a number of interviews and what has been interesting is what she has not said.  Not one comment on the economy.  Not a word.

“The big issue in every election is the economy.

“What Jacinda Ardern is saying is she agrees with National on the economy.  Well why change government?

“To be fair Labour has said that unlike National it will not repay any debt and will spend every cent of the surplus.  That is Labour saying there will be no more recessions, the good times will roll on forever.  If you believe that you might as will believe in the tooth fairy.

“Again, ACT is the odd party out.  ACT says the economy is cyclical.  Recessions are inevitable.  After eight years we are overdue a correction.  I think whoever is elected will face an economic reversal.  If Trump starts a trade war it may come quicker than anyone thinks.

“We will look back and realise National has not been a good a steward.

“The economy is over regulated, over taxed and there is an alarming housing bubble.  Every bubble in history has ended badly.  National and Labour’s solutions to the housing crisis are likely to make the bubble worse.

“In the next three years, we are going to need some good policy.  And good policy is what ACT is good at.”