National’s tax plans
To many voters, Christopher Luxon’s promise of a tax cut obviously has appeal. But if he and Nicola Willis are so sure about its viability, why have they dodged the question of the housing sell-off and its probable effect on house prices and rents? It appears that has not been studied. Although there may be thousands of eager non-resident buyers of luxury homes, how many willing sellers are there? Having sold, will sellers leave for Australia or buy a less expensive home? That the base for their proposal is as low as $2 million suggests there will be much activity in a lower section of the market. But a chronic housing shortage means that some - or many - renters will be displaced. Inadequate housing has long been a driver of physical and mental ill-health, poor educational achievement, etc. – problems which he wants to eliminate! So where else has thought not been given to possible problems in areas he vows to improve? There’s difficulty finding prison staff now - where will he put boot camps and find suitable staff who can make a difference, and severance pay for the thousands of government employees made redundant? Surely a smart businessman would want to know of all possible snags. “Trust me, I know” is not good enough. That Labour’s troubles of unfulfilled housing promises turned out to hound them should be a warning.
P. Belsham, Mt Albert.
I am not sure how closely Christopher Luxon and Nicola Willis follow overseas news, but surely they must be aware that recently, the bottom has fallen out of the Chinese property market. Many developers have gone into liquidation on a scale simply unimaginable in New Zealand. It seems to me that in that environment, not many wealthy Chinese people will be in the market to buy houses anywhere, let alone in far-off Aotearoa/New Zealand. Maybe I am wrong, but I just do not believe that wealthy Chinese buyers are going to ride to our rescue, like the US’ 7th cavalry, anytime soon.
John Austin, Grey Lynn.
Feeling buoyant about the prospect of driving economic policy in any Act/National government, David Seymour now vows to allow developers and builders to opt out of council building consents on new constructions. He wants to scrap the reformed Resource Management Act to speed up house construction. In other words, he wants to shed oversight of what can be built and how on a grand scale. The last time this was done, we had the whole leaky building fiasco, which devastated the lives and finances of thousands of homeowners. As someone caught up in it, I know how terrible it is. If developers and builders are allowed, with no consent oversight, to put up anything they want, we all know what happens. Too often corners are cut, inferior products are used and best practices are ignored in order to cut costs and hasten construction. Then we will have a whole new generation of buildings which will require major remedial work after a relatively short time. Sure, it may hasten more home construction, but at enormous cost down the line. The fact is, we need even tighter construction rules and oversight given that climate change is going to grow to be more devastating. Instead, Seymour is proposing another round of a deregulated construction Wild West, despite the fact the last bout of this neo-liberal foolishness caused so much damage. The only winners will be the unscrupulous developers and the contractors who get all the remedial work. Isn’t the definition of madness doing the same thing over again, expecting the result to be different?
Jeff Hayward, Central Auckland.
Chris Hipkins has created a rather large workload for himself this week by starting to re-announce policies/promises made previously but not (yet) delivered on. Over the weekend, it was the extension of the breast screening scheme (promised in 2017). He has ample choice to continue with. Maybe reducing the number of children in poverty by 100,000 per annum? A tram to Mt Roskill (by 2019)? Better healthcare access (and lower hospital waiting times)? Reducing the social housing waiting list (that has exploded in the last six years) or building 100,000 Kiwi-built homes over 10 years? Planting 100,000 new trees per annum? Responsible fiscal policy? He could even consider promising kindness in politics. Indeed, there seems to be quite a lot he can re-announce.
Lucas Bonne, Unsworth Heights.
As a probation officer way back in the 1970s and ‘80s, I remember well the sentence of ‘corrective training’ - designed to provide a “short, sharp shock” to young offenders at risk of descending into more serious crime. The three-month regime involved discipline, life skills training and rigorous outdoor activities in a remote location. The trainees, on release, had to report regularly to a probation officer for the next 12 months. Invariably, we were surprised to find what good shape these young men were in when they first reported to us. They appeared physically fit, and with positive attitudes towards their future. Despite the encouragement we offered when they reported to us, old habits and attitudes often returned, and many eventually re-offended. The corrective training sentence was later judged to be less than effective and phased out. I believe, however, that the sentence itself was a good thing. It needed to be coupled, though, with a much more structured programme post-release to build on the real positive gains offenders make while in custody. The National Party is proposing ‘boot camps’ for youg offenders, and I agree that these are needed in the current situation, where we constantly hear of situations where our laws have failed to stem the rise in all sorts of crime. Alas, New Zealand has become a place where wrong-doers face only minimal consequences for their bad behaviour. We have become too tolerant, too kind to offenders, and too accepting of pathetic excuses for serious criminal behaviour.
Derek Bean, Hillsborough.
Enough robbing Peter to pay Paul. We need a Mary Robinson. Ireland drove their economy to new heights. Open technical colleges to train urgently needed skills. Offer tax reductions to start-up companies and major international companies. Open trade schools for builders, electricians, plumbers, mechanics, etc. An urgent need for tradesmen can give an opportunity to non-academic students. The rewards for Ireland were a booming economy, with it being the number-one country in Europe wealth-wise. We need a change, a radical change. Where are you, New Zealand’s Mary Robinson? Your services are urgently required.
P. Sinclair, Mairangi Bay.
What visitors see
Homeless people, some sleeping, some begging, and some of them drinking, was the scene that greeted tourists and passers-by, myself included, with my wife and two young grandchildren, on the Quay Street pavement and in some of the business/shop doorways opposite where the Coral Princess was berthed on Saturday morning. Adding to this rather grim atmosphere were a good number of yellow rubbish bags awaiting pick-up - one would have to say it was a rather grotty and disgraceful scene. Fifty-four cruise ships are due in Auckland this summer, and if this is the best first impression Auckland can generate, it certainly doesn’t says a lot for our biggest city. Come on, Mayor Wayne Brown - let’s sort this out.
Randal Lockie, Rothesay Bay.
Interesting to hear the mayor talking on Q&A about traffic solutions in Auckland. Only 50 years ago, I regularly drove through the great conurbation of Germany’s Ruhr - Cologne, Essen, Dusseldorf. Traffic lights were co-ordinated, and if all read ‘50′, a speed of 50km/h guaranteed green lights all the way. Simple. I’m hopeful that the introduction of artificial intelligence will hasten the introduction of this stunning innovation in traffic management.
DB Hill, Central Auckland.
All these hecklers that storm party events do themselves no favours, and only serve to show themselves to be rather childish and shallow. We all know that these protesters actually achieve the complete opposite of what they seek to achieve. For all of that heckling, the Act Party received more publicity than they thought they might get in a normal news bulletin. No one minds someone having an opinion, but it’s best delivered in a constructive, not destructive manner.
John Ford, Napier.
Digging a hole
Heather du Plessis-Allan is perhaps wrong in suggesting that David Seymour should stop making panic-inspired statements against National Party policies. I believe he should be given every chance to disillusion what followers (and candidates) Act has left. He’s digging a large hole in which to bury any chance of becoming influential in any way in Parliament’s next term. Any party which implies that abolishing the Human Rights Commission, the Ministry for Women and any aspirations Māori have believed are theirs as a guiding voice in government is acceptable in today’s world should be given bigger shovels to dig a hole large enough to cover any remnant of it. The only respectable members of this party are those five who have left over the last few months. May many more follow their lead. A vote for Act is a vote for racism, sexism and disenfranchisement.
Jeremy Coleman, Hillpark.
Television viewers in New Zealand are currently being bombarded by advertising by the NZ Taxpayers’ Union which claims that NZ’s government debt, as a result of excessive Government spending, is getting out of control and affecting every family in New Zealand. In actual fact, compared with the rest of the world, NZ’s level of government debt compared to GDP, at 37 per cent, is at the lower end of the scale at 37th place out of 172 countries, and compares well with such countries as Canada at 66 per cent, the UK at 101 per cent, the US at 123 per cent and Japan at 224 per cent. Therefore, the message being conveyed by this advertisement is very misleading.
David Mairs, Glendowie.
Lack of priorities
The fact that the Ministry for Pacific Peoples spent nearly $53,000 to promote Labour MPs in a post-Budget breakfast and a $40,000 farewell party for its chief executive recently shows a complete lack of empathy towards the people they are supposed to represent and advocate for. Unfortunately, Pacific people tend to languish at the lower end of the housing, education and health spectrum and suffer exponentially during a cost of living crisis. All this shows a lack of priorities and also highlights the lack of constraint that has been evident throughout Government departments during Labour’s tenure in office. Chris Hipkins has a desire to get ‘back to the basics’, ‘take care of bread and butter issues’ and ‘be in it for you’, but perhaps he needs to add another political catchphrase, such as: ‘Take care of the pennies so that the pounds will take care of themselves.’
Bernard Walker, Papamoa.
Short and sweet
On Simeon Brown
I watch with interest all the MPs who will be in Cabinet should National win the election. Without a doubt, the outstanding candidate is Simeon Brown. Not only is he young and energetic, he attacks the Labour Party in a constructive and devastating manner. He has all the attributes of a PM-in-waiting.
Dr Alan Papert, Queenstown.
In sports, “winning is everything”. Australia, with their loss to minnow Fiji in their Rugby World Cup pool game, will set Australian rugby back years.
Larry Mitchell, Rothesay Bay.
TV camera operators don’t encourage streakers at sports matches by filming them. But when politicians are going about the business of democracy, these same camera operators do film protesters’ disruptions. Why? Do they want to encourage them?
Nick Hamilton, Remuera.
A statesman is defined as “a highly respected and influential political leader who exhibits great ability, integrity, and devotion to public service”. The last one we had was many years ago, and I fear it will be a long time before New Zealand sees another one.
Ian Doube, Rotorua.
Why do some whose political views are polled believe so much of what others see as an orchestrated litany of lies?
Kevin Moncur, Sandringham.
On rugby league
For those of us who were fortunate enough to watch the Warriors’ brilliant game of rugby league, I was left wondering why the All Blacks can’t take a leaf out of the league book and produce an exciting 80 minutes of most scintillating entertainment such the game which was played on Saturday night? If this was the case, then the crowds may return to watch rugby as it should be played.
Ross Harvey, Remuera.
On the Greens
Given their understanding of the economy, the Greens should go for the ultimate vote-winner and campaign for 52 weeks of paid holiday time.
K H Peter Kammler, Warkworth.
The Premium Debate
I’ll take tension over incompetence any day. Much ado about nothing. Richard Y.
We’ll find out in just four weeks time just how important (or not) the Act-National differences are. Grant R.
Both parties are led by intelligent and pragmatic people. They will work out an agreement that works for all. If you think National and Act would have difficulties, consider trying to work out an agreement between Labour, the Greens and Te Pāti Māori. Hard though it might be to imagine it, Labour would be the sensible ones at the table. John K.
Lol, they’re not even in government together yet and they already dislike each other. Aotearoa will not benefit from a National-Act coalition. $200,000,000 is to be taken from the climate change ‘war chest’ to give minuscule tax cuts. Act want to unwind environmental protections. Climate change and the very near decimation of our society from its effects is the GIANT, GIANT ELEPHANT IN THE ROOM when it comes to National-Act, but Kiwis will sell out any possibility of hope for a few extra weekly coins. Max K.
Perceived tensions may be National keeping the slate clean and Act being used as the attack dog. Christopher Luxon and David Seymour talk often and get on very well together, so maybe there is a very structured campaign plan at play here - and I must say, if this is the case, it’s working very well. David S.