Like many Kiwis across New Zealand, we were shocked to find,
yet again, that the Government have not been doing their job to keep
our border secure.
After all the carefully choreographed public
reassurances and spin, we find that a border worker went
without mandatory testing for six months, 450 workers in the last two
weeks have not being regularly tested, and 85 of those 450 may have
never been tested at all. And no one knew about it. Even
though mandatory fortnightly testing has been legally required since
More troubling is that the Border
Worker Testing Register was only established in February 2021, it
wasn’t compulsory (but will be from end of April), and the testing
data only started to be analysed two weeks ago. And the only
reason we know any of this is because Chris Bishop asked the right
questions of officials in a Labour-led Health Select Committee
hellbent on stopping him.
To end this complete and utter
shambles, National has called for a return of the Epidemic Response
Committee to ensure the Government, and its departments, are held to
account for their promises, scrutinise their decisions, and help
deliver better public policy and action.
→ You can watch more from
Chris Bishop here, and read more from Judith Collins
Build, not tax, our way out of a housing
We don’t share Labour’s view that you can tax your way out of a
building shortage, so National have proposed an alternative
solution that will urgently address the country’s land supply problem
and help councils fund supporting infrastructure.
Judith Collins has drafted legislation that would:
- Put in place emergency powers similar to those used to speed up
house building in Canterbury following the 2010 and 2011
- Require all urban councils to immediately zone more land for
housing – enough for at least 30 years of expected growth.
- Ensure the Resource Management Act (RMA) appeals process would be
limited to ensure these new district plans can be completed and put in
- Provide a $50,000 infrastructure grant to all local authorities
(urban and rural) for every new dwelling they consent above their
five-year historical average.
Response (Urgent Measures) Bill gives councils permission – in
fact it requires them – to say ‘yes’ to housing development and to get
as much new housing built as they can as soon as is
National’s approach worked in Christchurch
where increased housing supply saw affordability improve, while
deteriorating across the rest of the country. House prices rose by 7.4
per cent annually across New Zealand from July 2014 to March 2019, but
only 2.9 per cent in Christchurch.
Despite Labour’s big
promises prior to the 2017 election, the median house price jumped
from $530,000 to $780,000 between October 2017 and February 2021, a 47
per cent increase in just over three years.
National is the
party of home ownership. We are committed to sensible solutions that
will get more New Zealanders into their own home without hitting them
with more taxes.
Most ‘transformational’ Government failing across the
Health: Wait times have ballooned under Labour.
Despite making several announcements about their investments, the
Government have severely underspent on their promises and in some
cases has spent not a single dollar on announced projects.
Tertiary Mental Health Fund, announced in July 2020, has not spent a
single dollar, and officials are still in disagreement about who is
responsible for the money, and how to use it.
Education: There are
17 schools where fewer than 20 per cent of students are attending
school regularly in another illustration of the magnitude of New
Zealand’s attendance crisis. Four schools have fewer than 10 per cent
of their students attending regularly.
The research is
unequivocal, student learning progress is set back every single day a
student is absent. Chris Hipkins’ only response is to try to shift the
blame to the previous Government. In his fourth year in the role, it’s
time he took responsibility.
Social Development: The number of
New Zealanders out of work has grown by more than 80,000. That is
roughly the population of Palmerston North.
Most concerning is
that the number of long-term beneficiaries is increasing; 119,073
people on Jobseeker have been on the benefit programme for more than
12 months. For comparison, fewer than 70,000 people in the December
The best path out of hardship is through paid
employment. We need a Government that knows how to manage the economy
so there are more job opportunities for New Zealanders.
members of the Education and Workforce Select Committee voted against
Erica Stanford’s motion to open an inquiry into migrant issues caused
by Covid-19, the closed border, and Immigration New Zealand’s
At last week’s Reunite Families protest, National MPs
heard the heart-breaking stories of maths teachers, engineers and
nurses who had not seen their young children for more than 400
Clearly Immigration Minister Kris Faafoi has no desire to
answer for his lack of action. He turned up for only 20 minutes of the
half hour he was invited to brief the committee, and he and his
officials provided no meaningful answers for split migrant
Hate speech laws a step too far
Reports of the Government’s proposed new hate speech laws go a step
too far and risk sacrificing the freedoms New Zealanders enjoy. The
reforms are supposedly including protections to every ground listed in
Section 21 of the Human Rights Act. That includes political
If these reforms pass, then insulting
communications from a different political party could land you in
jail. Freedom of speech in a democracy means having to tolerate the
expression of diverse views, but there are some things like violent
hate speech that are never acceptable.
We need to be
treading carefully when legislating against people’s thoughts. It
shouldn’t be the Government’s role to dictate what people can and
can’t say. Free speech works in both ways, you are entitled to your
views and others are entitled to criticise those
Legislation around hate speech can’t be rushed. We must
do everything we can to suppress hate, but we can’t sacrifice our
freedoms in doing so.
→ You can read more from
Simon Bridges here.