Tuesday, 21 January 2014

22 January 2014
Happy New Year! After the bumbling comedy show of political wannabes strutting their stuff over the holiday period the serious business of government is underway once again.
I am delighted to be returning as a Minister – to Internal Affairs which I last held 18 years ago, and to my more recent stomping grounds of Health and Conservation.
But let me be clear – with apologies to Emmerson’s Herald cartoon this morning – there are no strings attached. My opposition to the controversial government plans like changes to the Resource Management Act remains. So too does my opposition to legislation to override the Commerce Commission’s ruling on copper pricing. And I retain concerns about aspects of the proposed industrial relations changes. The Government will still have to negotiate support on a case by case basis for matters not covered by our confidence and supply agreement. And that is as it should be.
Having said that, UnitedFuture has been a reliable support partner for both this Government and its Labour predecessor for nearly 12 straight years now – a record no other party can emulate. Our commitment to ensuring political stability is thus proven, which perhaps explains why National remains keen to work with us, and why even Labour is not ruling that out either.
UnitedFuture’s opportunity is clear: to be the party voters feel most comfortable with as the support partner for the John Key Government. We have to show voters we are the party that allows the major party of government to get on with the job of governing while holding them to account as necessary in accordance with our liberal democratic principles.
In return, UnitedFuture looks to advance our policies of promoting public access to the great outdoors; giving more power to regions, communities and families over how they live their lives; supporting an open economy based on low, broadly based tax system without a capital gains tax; promoting partnerships between the government and non-government sectors in the delivery of health and education services; and, and upholding New Zealand’s independent foreign policy by being a good international citizen.
Recent events show 2014 has all the ingredients to be a fascinating and exciting journey. It will require steady hands on the tiller. Just as well I spent some time sailing over the holidays!

1 comment:

  1. Hi Peter,

    Can you please explain a couple of things:
    1. Your opposition to the govt moves re CC's copper pricing ruling: It is not that the CC is wrong as such - it isn't. It's the problem created by the current pricing regime for Corus. If the pricing rules are "arbitrarily changed" by govt fiat, then how can any enterprise (even a quasi-public one) possibly plan a viable investment programme? The fact is that Corus' investment in the fibre rollout is partially cross-subsidised by copper revenues. I have considerable sympathy for the Corus Board when the entire ground rules for that investment get up-ended and through no fault of their own. Why are you opposing the Nats for trying to preserve a viable and successful investment programme? A Corus that can't fund investment will kill off the fibre rollout just as its gathering momentum and that affects the productivity of the entire national economy.

    2. The Resource Management Act: There is broad public support for reform of this "out of control monster". The RMA is arguably the biggest legislative drag on the entire productive sector in the history of NZ and the council "taxes" that are levied on businesses and investors for its administration have contributed to bloated local government, higher housing costs through higher development costs, massive cost increases and delays to important projects for "no reason".. and that is just the tip of the iceberg.

    Far from being "far sighted legislation", this is an Albatross around the neck of the NZ economy. I'm not suggesting it be fully repealed - that is uncalled for and counter-productive. However, I would have hoped that your clear-eyed pragmatism and common sense would find a way to eliminate the worst excesses of this beast without actually killing it.

    Keen to understand more about your views on these matters.