Rodney Hide delivered his Forward Thinking for New Zealand speech at the Crowne Plaza Auckland, this morning.
It’s just the kind of speech that ACT needs to set the tone for the next three years. ACT’s principle’s are laid out in practical terms and there’s good advice for Don Brash, on how to keep his leadership of the National Party.
A key feature of the speech was something that should have gained much more media coverage during the election. That is, Rodney’s “Taxpayers Bill of Rights”.
We have limited politicians’ ability to debase our money with the Reserve Bank Act. We have limited their ability to run budget deficits with the Fiscal Responsibility Act.
We need too to limit politicians’ ability to ever-expand government.
That’s why we need a Taxpayer Bill of Rights. That Bill of Rights would provide a strict Parliamentary test or a reference back to taxpayers for increases in real government spending per kiwi.
Under Helen Clark government expenditure has increased in real terms by $3,000 a year for every man, woman and child in the country. That’s a huge increase. Helen Clark did that without debate. And without consent.
A Taxpayer Bill of Rights would impose spending caps to lock government expenditure at present real levels per capita.
The cap would enable government spending to increase to compensate for inflation and population growth. But that’s all. Expenditure increases beyond that would need 75 per cent support of Parliament or a referendum.
That’s as it should be. Proper debate. Proper consent.
That would set a firm fiscal discipline on politicians that’s now totally lacking.
If we had had that fiscal discipline these past six years a family of four would be $240 a week better-off. The economy would be in much better shape.
And what family has seen a $240-a-week improvement in government service? None. Their money has all been wasted.
The Taxpayers’ Bill of Rights is an example of the practical, principled policy we need to deliver our vision of a free and prosperous New Zealand.