Rules reduction task force launched

October 21, 2014

Local Government Minister Paula Bennett has launched the Rules Reduction initiative, opening the way for people to submit examples of property regulations and local rules that don’t make sense.

“People can now head to http://www.govt.nz/rulesreduction, to start telling us what bugs them when it comes to loopy rules and regulations,” says Mrs Bennett.

“I’m also pleased to announce the Rules Reduction Taskforce will be jointly chaired by Jacqui Dean MP, Parliamentary Private Secretary for Local Government, and Michael Barnett ONZM, Chief Executive of the Auckland Chamber of Commerce.

“Both Jacqui and Michael bring with them a strong understanding of the local government and business sectors and will be well placed to guide the Taskforce in its work to cut red tape.

The remaining members of the Taskforce will be appointed within the next month, and will include central and local government experts, and specialists from the building and trades sector, with further announcements to come on the timeline for the Taskforce’s work.

“I’m asking property owners, builders, tradespeople and businesses who have experienced the issues caused by irrelevant or unnecessary regulations, to help draw these to our attention,” says Mrs Bennett.

The information gathered will inform the Taskforce, which will consider submissions and ultimately recommend any necessary changes.

“Central and local government need regulations which are effective, and help get the job done – not get in the way. Regulations that frustrate property owners and business people also suck up councils’ precious resources in administration time and effort.”

“We need to hear from New Zealanders about examples that have got in the way of their building, renovation, landscaping, and home improvement plans, so that we can cut the red tape where it needs to be cut, to help them get on with the job.”

The submission form can be filled out online at http://www.govt.nz/rulesreduction

Facebook (facebook.com/cutredtapenz) and Twitter (twitter.com/CutRedTapeNZ) will be used to spread the word and encourage submissions via the online form to the Taskforce.

When we were altering our home last year, our builder told us he reckoned legislation, most of which was unnecessary had added about $20,000 to the cost of a new home.

Some rules are necessary for safety’s sake and to protect people from shoddy standards.

But this task force should have no shortage of rules which at least need to be simplified and probably could be done away with altogether.

And building won’t be the only area where fewer rules could reduce costs without causing any harm.


Better not in race

October 20, 2014

Labour’s leadership race is gathering momentum as the four candidates travel the country at the taxpayers’ expense seeking support.

Matthew Hooton opines that none of the contenders will be Prime Minister.

I agree for two reasons.

First, Labour’s problems are far deeper than its leadership and until it shows it can run itself it won’t convince enough voters it can run the country.

Second, none of the candidates stands out from the other and all are more distinguished by what they lack than what they offer.

It’s possible the winner could grow into the role, but that would take time which the party doesn’t have.

Whether there’s someone better suited for the role in the current caucus is debatable, but if there is he or she is wise to stay out of this race and prepare for the next one.


Challenge is trade

October 18, 2014

Prime Minister John Key was asked about advice for other leaders and said:

I think the big challenge for everybody is international trade,&rdquo he says. If you want to look at what drives economic outcomes, it is access to markets, it is education – the skill base of your people – and flexibility of your labour markets. All the other factors will take care of themselves.” . . .

This explains the government’s prioritising free trade agreements, education and labour law reform.

The quote is a small part of an interview in The Telegraph headlined: John Key: the poor boy who saved New Zealand’s economy.

I recommend reading it in full.

 

 


Labour pains, National delivers

October 17, 2014

Trans Tasman on Labour’s pains:

Members of the party of co-operation, collectivism, and fraternal brotherhood and sisterhood were all over the media this week publicly knifing each other. This is to say nothing of the usual susurration of behind the scenes snarkiness from the various sides of the Labour Party factions. We can expect to hear much, between now and the leadership ballot next month, about “Labour values.”
One can’t help but get the feeling this does not mean what Labour’s activists think it means.
Certainly the last leader but one, David Shearer, did not seem to be full of the milk of human kindness for his fellow party members. Shearer called on his successor, David Cunliffe, to withdraw from politics completely now Cunliffe has ruled out another leadership bid. This looked like a brief outburst – and certainly the party’s organisational wing would be horrified at the prospect of a by-election in New Lynn or anywhere, given the current state of Labour’s funds.
But Shearer did not just say this once. He went on radio and also spoke to journalists outside the party’s caucus room. Revenge is a dish best eaten cold, they say, and Shearer was tucking in to a very large ice-cream tub of the stuff. Mostly, Shearer says, he is concerned Cunliffe’s supporters will undermine whoever gets the leadership in the same way they undermined him. It is not a bad assumption to make. The Labour Left still – somewhat bizarrely – see Cunliffe as a champion of red blooded socialism and if their second choice, acting leader David Parker, doesn’t get the job they will turn feral.
But Cunliffe isn’t going anywhere, it seems. . .

While Labour is engrossed in its own pains, National has negotiated coalition agreements, its ministers have been sworn in and are already working for New Zealand.


NZ wins UN Security Council seat

October 17, 2014

New Zealand has won a seat on the United Nations Security Council:

New Zealand has just won its bid for a seat on the United Nations’ Security Council in 2015 and 2016.

More than two thirds of the General Assembly voted for New Zealand in the three-way contest for two non-permanent seats.

It won on the first ballot, obtaining 145 out of the requisite two thirds of votes cast, 129.

A second ballot is now being held to decide whether Spain or Turkey will take the other seat for the grouping known as Western European and other states. . .

This is the culmination of a 10 year campaign.

New Zealand won’t just be representing itself, it will provide a voice for all small nations.


Mahuta aiming for deputy?

October 15, 2014

Nania Mahuta says she’s in the Labour leadership race to win:

Senior Maori MP Nanaia Mahuta insists she’s “absolutely” in the race to win the Labour leadership. . .

But is she really aiming for deputy?

But not all in the party are welcoming Ms Mahuta’s candidacy with some saying it’s PC gone mad that the next deputy must be a woman or Maori. . .

She is both a woman and Maori but neither one nor both of those should trump merit for either leader or deputy.

If she is the best candidate, she deserves to win and given it’s not a particularly strong field she could be.

But if she isn’t the best and wins it could do more harm than good to her, women, Maori and her party.

Labour has more than enough problems without adding to them by adding to it’s reputation for focussing on what doesn’t matter to most people.

Update:

The four nominees for the leadership and those nominating them are:

Andrew Little
(nominated by Poto Williams and Iain Lees-Galloway)

Nanaia Mahuta
(nominated by Louisa Wall and Su’a William Sio)

David Parker
(nominated by Damien O’Connor and Jenny Salesa)

Grant Robertson
(nominated by Kris Faafoi and Rino Tirikatene).
The election will now proceed, with ballot forms being distributed electronically and by post from Monday 20th October onwards. Voting closes and the result will be announced on Tuesday 18th November.


Cunliffe leaves race backs Little

October 14, 2014

David Cunliffe has pulled out of Labour’s leadership race and is backing Andrew Little to succeed him.

He says the decision to withdraw was a difficult one, and says he had been “under a lot of pressure to keep running”.

Mr Cunliffe will stay on as an MP in Parliament and made the decision to pull out last week. He said his decision was final.

“I believe I still have a useful role to play in the party and in the Labour movement and as MP for New Lynn.

I’ve really enjoyed the election campaign. I can look myself in the mirror and know that I gave absolutely everything to it and left it all on the track, and that’s what I think the party deserves.”

He says Mr Little has a strong vision for the party, and will bring “greater cohesion”.

“I have enormous respect for Andrew. I believe he is the right man for the job.”

Mr Cunliffe believes pulling out of the race is in the best interest of the Labour Party.

“I will be staunchly supportive of the party whoever the leader will be.” . . .

I’m not sure Cunliffe’s chances of winning the leadership contest were very good but had he done so it would have been a disaster for the party when so few in caucus supported him.

Whether those who don’t support him will take any notice of his support for Little will remain to be seen.

With three candidates remaining, Little, Grant Robertson and David Parker, and both David Shearer and Stuart Nash having contemplated running, that’s nearly a fifth of caucus with leadership aspirations.

The first challenge of whoever wins the race will be uniting his colleagues.


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