NBR Editor Nevil Gibson on the National/ACT Government
The pre-election commentators, and there were a lot of them, who ridiculed National as being Labour “lite” and incapable of bringing change, must be left wondering where they went wrong.
It’s not as if the Key-English team were fudging their agenda – only that many in the media preferred to think the election was just about changing the faces but not the policies.
National has scored some big hits and the buzz is strong that the public – including many Labour supporters – like what they see: an end to cronyism (out goes Mike Williams); a Reserve Bank finally told to do what it should have done months ago (and tell the price hikers in the banks, power companies and local government to follow suit); no more nanny state (no bans on smoking in cars or what kind of shower head or bulb you can use); and a raft of legislation that will undo most of Labour’s worst laws.
This is includes changes to the Resource Management Act, repeal of the Electoral Finance Act and employment laws that were at the dictat of the unions.
The freshest air is being breathed over the hidebound local government sector with Rodney Hide in charge. A few mayors have welcomed the change, notably Michael Laws in Wanganui, John Banks in Auckland City and Hutt City mayor David Ogden, who showed in the NBR last week that the rate-capping plan can work.
From being a laggard, Hutt City now has rates that are 2% below those of comparable councils and its 10-year plan shows that it will continue to hold its rate increases to the rate of inflation and population growth while still making significant investment in new infrastructure. Funny how you never hear or see from Mr Ogden in the media.