26 Aug 2019

National committing to 'regulations bonfire' if elected in 2020

12:14 pm on 26 August 2019

The National Party plans to scrap 100 regulations and a number of the current government's policies if voted into power next year.

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National Party leader Simon Bridges. Photo: RNZ / DOM THOMAS

At an event in Auckland today the opposition party released a discussion document on its economic policies coming into an election year.

National is committing to get rid of two regulations for every new regulation introduced, Māori land reform and creating a voluntary initiative to make sure small businesses are paid on time.

National Party leader Simon Bridges said the party would also require all government departments and government agencies to pay their contractors on time and within 30 days.

"Getting paid on time is a big issue for New Zealand small business owners, long delays in payments can inhibit their ability to invest and expand," Mr Bridges said.

"In the past year, only half of all small businesses were cash flow positive in any given month."

Within its first six months in office, the party was also promising to repeal 100 regulations.

National's Economic Development spokesperson, Todd McClay, branded it a regulations bonfire.

"We want an operating environment where businesses can thrive and aren't strangled by red tape," he said.

The party is seeking feedback on removing the government's ability to give preferential pay agreements to union members during public sector wage negotiations and removing all remaining tariffs.

They're also sticking to previous promises of repealing the regional fuel tax and the ban on oil and gas exploration, overhauling the Resource Management Act and raising the retirement age to 67 from 2037. Former Prime Minister John Key avoided the retirement age policy during his time in office, but his successor Bill English campaigned on the policy in 2017.

National's Finance spokesperson, Paul Goldsmith, said the rise in retirement age would ensure the long-term sustainability of the superannuation scheme.

"When the current retirement age was set at 65 in 2001, a retiree could expect to spend about a fifth of their life receiving superannuation, that has since increased to around a quarter of their life, he said.

The coalition government shifted transport infrastructure focus from roading to public transport and rail, but National would be changing the focus back to roading, it said.

"The government has stopped or postponed a dozen roading projects, which were ready to get underway, and replaced them with projects that aren't ready to go and won't be for a long time yet," transport spokesperson Chris Bishop said.

Mr Bridges said National was doing work in opposition so it was ready to hit the ground running in 2020.

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