ACT tackles the cost of living crisis

Mon, 13 Dec, 2021

“The cost of living for New Zealand families is through the roof. Rents are up, mortgage rates are on the rise, the cost of food is up, petrol is up - but wages aren’t keeping up. It’s time Kiwi battlers got some relief,” says ACT Leader David Seymour.

“ACT doesn’t just oppose, we propose. That’s why today we’re releasing a discussion document with positive solutions, including a tax cut for middle New Zealand.

“The Government’s relentless borrowing, spending, taxing and regulating has added to the cost of just about everything.

“Locking the economy down and borrowing $50 billion so far has left us with a mountain of debt and rising prices. The Finance Minister is taxing Kiwis at a record pace to pay for Labour’s pet projects. The Government’s hostility to business means they’re spending more time complying and less time producing, pushing up prices.

“Kiwis Battlers are being squeezed from all directions. We want to get ahead, but we’re falling further behind each day. The risk is that, when we emerge from COVID-19, young Kiwis decide to leave for greener pastures. We can’t afford a brain drain.

“Politics isn’t working. One party leads by PR spin, the other opposes through negativity. New Zealanders get forgotten in the mess. We need straight talk and common-sense solutions if hardworking Kiwis are to have the future they deserve.

“New Zealanders need someone fighting in their corner to make life more affordable – ACT is listening. We’re offering ideas and solutions to manage rising prices and reduce the tax burden on hardworking Kiwis.

“ACT has a range of solutions to the cost of living crisis. We would:

Deliver a middle-income tax cut:

  • Reduce the middle-income tax rate from 30% to 17.5%. Our plan will allow the average full-time worker to keep $2,000 more a year to help deal with the rising cost of living. That’s almost $40 more a week in the pockets of hardworking taxpayers to help them with the cost of life.

Skills and immigration:

  • Open the border to full-vaccinated international students at the same time as Australia so our education sector can compete
  • Allow fully-vaccinated tourists from low-risk countries to enter the country to save our tourism and hospitality sectors
  • Allow existing student visa holders and their partners to apply for the 2021 Resident Visa
  • Allow offshore work visa holders to apply for the 2021 Resident Visa.

COVID-19:

  • Move regions to the correct traffic light colour, so regions with no cases, or regions that are among the most vaccinated places in the world, are in Orange or Green
  • Dump MIQ for fully vaccinated travellers immediately so that businesspeople can travel and renew connections, and staff can come to fill skill gaps
  • Legalise rapid antigen testing for all New Zealanders immediately
  • Ensure the vaccine passport will be ready to go for future vaccines and boosters
  • Design the Major Events Insurance Scheme so events with fewer than 5,000 people can benefit.

Real housing reform:

  • Create a dedicated public-private-partnership (PPP) agency to get things built
  • Introduce a GST-sharing scheme to fund infrastructure remove artificial restrictions on land use so the next generation can build on their land reform building materials regulation remove barriers to finance for build-to-rent schemes
  • Introduce building insurance to replace regulations in the Building Act
  • Create enduring RMA reform that respects property rights and recognises the need for continuous improvement in environmental. management

Workplace relations:

  • Repeal the Matariki public holiday, new sick leave entitlements and the soon-to-be-introduced centralised wage bargaining (so-called “Fair Pay” Agreements)
  • Reinstate 90-day trials for all businesses
  • Pause minimum wage increases
  • Reform the Employment Relations Act to ensure workers and employers have clearer dispute resolution rules without needing to resort to the Employment Relations Authority.

Support rural New Zealand:

  • Push for regional freshwater rules over bureaucratic, one-size-fits-all regulation
  • Repeal the ‘ute tax’
  • Repeal the Zero Carbon Act
  • Remove the requirement for councils to identify Significant Natural Areas.

“Labour’s chickens have come home to roost with a mountain of debt and rising prices, and Kiwi Battlers are finding it difficult to make ends meet. We can’t afford to continue like this.

“ACT’s package of solutions will make life more affordable for middle New Zealand. Parents shouldn’t have to choose between swimming lessons for their kids and tank of petrol. We will keep listening to the concerns of New Zealanders and pushing for better solutions to make life more affordable for Kiwi families.”