“New Zealanders have shown they’re ready for real change at the next election, with 2500 people attending ACT’s Real Change events and $50,000 of tickets sold in the past three weeks,” says ACT Leader David Seymour.
“Parliament is coming to the end of a three week recess. While some politicians have been on holiday, ACT is listening. We are constantly travelling the country and hosting good old fashioned town hall meetings to hear the concerns of New Zealanders.
“At each meeting we heard from Kiwis who are being hammered by the cost of living crisis, who see crime getting out of control and who are watching as our democracy is threatened by co-governance.
“Getting out to places from Cambridge to Invercargill also allowed us to hear about the local issues facing New Zealanders that sometimes don’t penetrate the beltway. We packed out town halls around the county. In Nelson 275 people came to our public meeting while 230 attended our Cambridge meeting.
Here is some of what we heard.
“The standard of roads in the eastern North Island is at an all-time low. People at public meetings and on the street said driving around their country required them to dust off their childhood skills from driving dodgems. Post COVID, maintenance has fallen off a cliff.
“The Earthquake regulations are a sleeper issue. I never thought I’d get spontaneous applause talking about a building regulation issue, but people in provincial New Zealand are fed up with the costs they face. Provincial main streets have empty buildings that need strengthening, but the costs massively exceed the owners’ ability to pay, let alone the risks.
“Labour’s centralisation agenda is making itself known. In health, education, and council infrastructure.
“Nobody weeps for the loss of DHBs, but lots of people do ask ‘how will we get GPs in our town. What about a dentist?’ Healthcare is a crisis everywhere, but it’s much worse when you are a parent of small children who has to travel an hour each way to see a doctor because the doctor in your town won’t take patients.
“Te Pukenga, the centralisation of the country’s Polytechs, is enraging locals up and down New Zealand. Perfectly good institutions are being pulled down to mediocrity in a chaotic new super bureaucracy, to cross-subsidise underperforming organisations elsewhere.
“Three Waters, predictably, is a lightning rod of Labour’s centralisation and co-government agenda. People are saddened by the loss of local autonomy, and the politicisation of race relations that is inherent in the co-Government agenda.
“We also held not one, but three annual conferences this year in Wellington, Christchurch and Auckland - such was the demand for our events.
“We sold a thousand tickets, or $50,000 worth, to our Real Change annual conference events, the final one being held in Auckland today.
“ACT is offering real solutions. We are the only party to produce a fully-costed alternative budget that cuts wasteful spending and offers tax relief. This week we released a nine point plan to help Kiwis hammered by the cost of living crisis.
“We are offering practical and sensible solutions and we are listening to New Zealanders.
“After travelling the length of the country we will go back to Parliament this week and continue to hold the Government to account and propose better solutions for New Zealanders.”