Ok, here is my report card for NZ's National Party....I got a bit bored going through this list....but it gives them something to start on.
See this policy list from the National Party - reading this I am inclined to think that there is a lot being done. What is wrong with it? Firstly I am inclined to say that the National Party is not doing a very good job at getting its message out to the public. This is a document that needs to be dispersed. But it really is so anti-intellectual in the realm of welfare policy, education. It simply resorts to paying off the Maoris; as if that will advance welfare. There are huge opportunity costs by not acting.
1. Future fund – good stuff
2. Road development – why does the govt need to develop ‘new’ roads; or is this merely ‘justified’ maintenance.
3. Road arteries – why does the country need to invest in new arterial roads when oil prices are high and the population is static. Is there any return on this investment?
4. Regional road infrastructure – probably justified
5. Regional rail infrastructure – probably justified
6. Regional infrastructure – probably justified
7. Regional rail infrastructure – justified in the context of higher oil prices
8. Auckland rail infrastructure – justified in the context of growing population and higher oil prices
9. Inter-island terminal – they are studying the value of a terminal at Clifford Bay. This would avoid the mountains around Blenheim and Kaikoura. Container terminal on the south island might make sense, but is this a govt project? And its already fairly close to Christchurch. The market appeal could only be for local trade? Why not a connection to Australia?
10. Broadband – worthy spending
11. Rural broadband – not a priority beyond the major towns; at least not off main trunk lines and towns under 40,000.
12. Digital switchover – fine
13. Network for learning – fine
14. National grid – fine, the network is not terribly stable, so needs upgrading, though they need to fix the pricing model for electricity.
15. Home insulation – sensible intent, the problem is the subsidy just forces up the installers fee. I would also add that it contradicts global warming. Insulate houses and people start heating homes, stop wearing woolen garments. i.e. they buy cheaper Chinese cotton, stop buying expensive NZ wool.
16. Upgrade state housing – better still fix the economy so they can buy the home, and given them incentives to do so.
17. Health expenditure – There is an expectation of the latest medical technology; this requires more spending in this area. Popular policy; but priority beyond immediate maintenance? Maybe it makes more sense to send people over to Australia? I wonder if shared infrastructure with Australia is a better model?
18. Schools upgrade – Probably justified, but the problem is that the biggest issue is school ‘content’ not infrastructure. Kids don’t learn to think at school. So this is a very anti-intellectual policy…typical of a pragmatic govt.
19. Earthquake Recovery – Fair enough
20. Sports stadium – not sure why this is policy. Popular…but it doesn’t make money.
21. Resource consents – this is very important policy – reasonable expectations
22. RMA streamlining – this is very important policy – reasonable expectations
23. RMA council punitive fines – this means the rate payer pays right? Well, I guess they get the investment, and can spurn council?
24. RMA streamlining – fine
25. Natural hazards – RMA consideration of natural hazards. Really? This is new?
26. Fresh water policy – fine, but is it a priority?
27. Simpler plans – sometimes simple is not the issue.
28. Trial employment – I don’t agree..employers will just pay staff to leave earlier, so its just a cost. You can’t legislate common sense.
29. Personal grievance reform – This is probably the way to deal with last issue. Not compulsory labour costs
30. Holiday Reform – This is ok
31. Hobbit law – yep, keep the film industry happy
32. Youth wage – yep, kids need every opportunity to save money to leave the country.
33. Collective bargaining – End collective bargaining, its extortion; though you do have to offer people a union-based channel to take grievances to some objective employment court; or ‘grievance’ system (see #29)
34. Constructive dismissal – this ought to be part of #29.
35. Flexible worker terms – I understand worker needs for fixed roster, as well as corporate desirability for flexibility. i.e. Is this so hard?
36. Ban of lights & thermal power – There is no need for a ban on thermal power plant, as no one is going to build one now. Light bulbs issue; non issue.
37. State assets – selling power stations is not going to make them more competitive; in fact, you can expect greater extortion, as is happening by most of the larger businesses because there is no population growth, and inadequate regulation.
38. Utility competition – Making it easier for consumers to shift utility does not address the costs built into the system; that’s economic rationalism, but it does serve govts with an eye on asset sales.
39. Hedge market – sensible
40. Consumer compensation – sensible
41. Less regulation – cut bureaucracy but don’t abandon regulation
42. ACC funding – yep, needs to be sustainably
43. ACC ratings – yep
44. Employee levies – yep
45. Employer levies – yep
46. ACC choice – Any sign its over-priced? It might add to cost
47. ACC choice – Any sign its over-priced? It might add to cost
48. Mobile telecom termination – fine, but what about data??
49. Telco competition – fine
50. Productivity Commission – so late? Should have been done 2 decades ago…assuming that anyone will listen to it.
51. Mining & energy safety – good idea – 2 decades too late! Oh that’s right, Labour ditched it in 1993.
52. Fishing regulation – fine
53. Fast track building consents – good stuff
54. DIY reform – good stuff
55. Leaky homes – Drop this as installers just take the subsidy.
56. Building sector accountability – fine, but what about the extortion in hardware sector.
57. Financial sector reform of regulation – yeh, good one….you will never do it really. Or you will do it, then in 5-10 years you will undo it.
58. Financial service regulation – training is not the issue; ethics and responsibility are the issues, but you’ve spurned education, so toss that idea.
59. Kiwisaver investor – fine
60. Regulation of securities - fine
83. Water storage – yep, don’t build levy banks in Wanganui, build a river diversion scheme and generate more power.
84. Petroleum exploration – great stuff! You are listening to me. Personally, I’d be spending $100mil, not $40mil.
85. Environmental regulation – fine
86. Petroleum permits – fine, but retain a good state royalty; don’t give away all the ‘resource’ as you will end up with immensely rich people who did not earn it (all), and then the ghost of Helen Clark or Gillard (or you) will expropriate it.
103. Convention Centre – don’t use gambling to finance a convention centre. How silly is that. If it does not stand up on its merits, then don’t finance by appealing to ‘vices’. This is silly policy.
104. Air transport – What about air transport to Australia – open it up guys! I want to fly Wanganui to Newcastle or Byron Bay, not to Sydney.
This leaves me wondering what is missing – I would add the following:
1. Improve biosecurity – NZ food output is important, and so is Australia’s, so less please them to get greater access to the Australian market place.
2. Adopt ANZAC liberalization – open up deregulation of pan-Australian flights
3. Sell Air New Zealand – the enterprise is well-run, it will never be worth more than in a few years when the market recovers.
4. Adult education – What about intellectual literary and parenting literacy??
5. Local government reform - I don't see this on the list, but I understand some constraints are being placed on local govt...Good stuff.
6. Gas industry
Now, if we were going to be entirely honest, the National Party would also say that:
121. Prison construction - they are building more prisons because the economy is going to the dogs.
122. Taxation - they are building a $1 billion super computer to tax people better. i.e. More more pernicious form of enslavement because they don't know how to encourage people 'voluntarily', they feel compelled to tell us how its done.
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