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Free Press – 30/01/2017 | ACT New Zealand

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MIL OSI – Source: ACT Party – Release/Statement

Headline: Free Press – 30/01/2017 | ACT New Zealand

The Election is No Longer Next Year
That was our first thought on January 1st: election 2017 is upon us. ACT is better positioned than it has been for a decade. On the other hand, this will be the most fluid election since the pre-Key era (more on that below). Continued rational economic policy, let alone positive reform, will depend on ACT’s success.

Simple Formula
There is much confusion about how MMP works. First things first, the system is here for at least a generation after New Zealanders voted 58-42 in 2011 against even having a second referendum. Second, it always leads to coalition governments, and in a more fluid election ACT will be as critical as ever. ACT needs to win Epsom plus 1.4 per cent for two MPs, 2.1 for three MPs, 2.8 for four, and 3.5 for five, and so on.

States of the Nation
David Seymour’s State of the Nation was well attended in person, watched online, and covered by every major media outlet. The State of ACT is strong. David argued that the housing market underlies other 2017 issues of immigration and inequality, and presented three big fixes: new planning law for urban areas, revenue sharing to fund infrastructure, and privatising building consenting. The full speech is here. Not bad for a caucus of one.

Labour Green
By stark contrast Labour and the Greens combined to give a State of the Nation speech with no policies at all. Metiria Turei said the Green Party supports women, and Andrew Little said it would be nice to solve the housing crisis. We agree.

New Zealand First
NZ First have always done well when net permanent and long term arrivals at the airport have been high. Coupled with the worldwide movement toward nativism, it is amazing they are doing so poorly. The narrative is ‘Winston rising’ but here is, to borrow a phrase, an alternative narrative. He has timed his run too early and the electorate will tire of him predicting his own success, leading to a disappointing result.  For now, this is being masked by an incoming tide for his brand of politics.

The Māori Party
The Māori Party may well take several Māori seats off Labour, altering the course of the election. They pose dilemmas to both National and Labour. Will Labour relax its jihad-like opposition to Partnership Schools in line with its Māori MPs? More fundamentally, does Labour support poor kids with economic aspiration, or middle class union members and identity politics? However National face a different problem, the perception in the eyes of conservative voters that a National-led Government would be beholden to the Māori Party.

Bill English is more amenable to the real job of a politician – improving public policy – than John Key was. It is also true that no government has changed prime minister and won reelection since Michael Joseph Savage died and was replaced by Peter Fraser during World War II. More fundamentally, it is difficult for National to campaign on issues that they have had nine years to fix.

A Liquid Election
For three elections, John Key polled nigh on 50 per cent of the vote. He nearly governed like a FPP Prime Minister under MMP rules. Now we have the most boring Labour Leader since Geoffrey Palmer, and National attempting a risky mid-term leadership transition. We are about to return to MMP normal, where elections are fluid and uncertain, with coalition deals made after election day deciding the Government. Everything is up for grabs.

ACT’s Wider Proposition
A vote for ACT is a vote to maintain New Zealand’s world class economic policy, while dealing to those issues John Key neglected. New Zealand is judged the best place in the world to do business (World Bank), the third freest economy in the planet (Fraser Institute), and the most prosperous country on earth (Legatum). That is the Douglas-Richardson legacy, and it is worth defending.  However, it is equally important that we fix the housing market, education system, and anemic productivity growth with more bold reform, rather than continuing Key’s policy stagnation.

Register for our Conference
Show your support for ACT on February 25th by registering for the conference. It has a bumper line up of speakers besides David Seymour’s election year keynote speech.  Your presence shows your support for ACT’s proposition to the voter this year. Don’t delay.

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