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National commits to creating a 'Regulatory Reduction Minister' portfolio to manage two-for-one regulation reduction policy

National commits to creating a 'Regulatory Reduction Minister' portfolio to manage two-for-one regulation reduction policy
Simon Bridges, Paul Goldsmith

National is committing to creating a new ministerial portfolio to manage the “bonfire of regulations” it will light, should it be elected into government.

A senior Cabinet minister, known as the “Regulatory Reduction Minister”, will oversee the scrapping of 100 regulations in National’s first six months of taking office. These will be replaced by 50 new regulations.

The two-for-one regulations approach was taken by US President Donald Trump when he came into power.

National has unveiled 29 regulations it will get rid of, but hasn’t specified what they will be replaced by. It will, for example:

  • Enable landlords to raise rents more than once a year
  • Reduce the level of ministerial decision-making in the Overseas Investment Act
  • Allow businesses to use 90-day trials
  • Allow business to deduct pay for workers on a partial strike

National is also committing to introducing a National Policy Statement to give industries like banking, law and real estate, guidance on interpreting anti-money laundering legislation in such a way that reduces compliance costs.

It wants to apply a “common sense test” to health and safety regulations, which makes sure the benefits of each regulation outweighs the costs and makes health and safety regulations easier to implement.

Finally, National has reaffirmed its commitment to replacing the Resource Management Act with transitional legislation, as it writes a new "development-friendly" law. Judith Collins discussed this plan with interest.co.nz in more detail in December. 

Regulation reduction is one part of National's economic plan, which includes tax relief, an infrastructure package, a small business package and a families’ package.

See this document for more on its regulation reduction policy, and this document for a list of the 29 regulations it will scrap.

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88 Comments

35
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The stupid is strong on this one!

12
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This article would not have been out of place in The Onion (even though most readers of TO would have no idea who SB is).

14
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I've managed to get some toilet papers over the weekend and am more than happy to send Soymon Brufges a pack of 8.
Just so much crap coming out of this guy!

26
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Hay Simon, the 90's called and they want their policies back.

lol - I love how art imitates life - Back to the Future anyone? Or maybe Benjamin Button.

34
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National is also committing to introducing a National Policy Statement to give industries like banking, law and real estate, guidance on interpreting anti-money laundering legislation in such a way that reduces compliance costs.

So, something closely modeled on their previous approach of "don't ask, don't tell."?

Given that they passed the current AML laws, I'm sort of curious what you mean by this.

Oh really. You mean that law which was pretty much forced on New Zealand?
Don't kid yourself that it was JK holding a press conference one day saying "Ya know what, I've been talking to the guys in the Koru Club and they reckon we really need to tighten up on all those cash cow operations we have going on."

The alternative if it wasn't passed was weren't going to be able to play in the yard with all the other big boys. Which is pretty much what happened a couple of years before it came into effect.

You really are reaching to try and have this both ways. They're not talking about repealing the laws. If your point is really just "National bad!!" then just say so.

My point was they did nothing until their hand was forced by the EU.
Not really bastions of compliance in the financial sector, so forgive me for assuming reducing compliance costs means less oversight.
Bankers ask for forgiveness, not permission. They only get forgiveness if they get caught.

Yep, gotta wonder what donor asked for this!

Why do governments regulate, or need to regulate?

What makes regulation better then legislation?

Is seems legislation goes through parliament screening. Regulation is a hand on a pen (individual minister), no screening.

How does this make regulation better better for us?

12
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Henry do we really need to explain the not so long ago Global Financial Crisis to you? Yes, Governments need to keep an eye on banks and other financial institutions otherwise they get up to all kinds of corruption that massively increases risk and is detrimental to our overall economy.
Take a recent example such as Westpac and it's facilitating money laundering and a number of other things. They're now in hot water and need to be regulated to stop them from facilitating corruption and putting their customers at risk.
Herald article: Aussie regulator orders Westpac to set aside extra $500 million in capital. https://www.nzherald.co.nz/business/news/article.cfm?c_id=3&objectid=122...

Yes, and there is legislation and entities with supervision and regulatory power, sometimes there is deferral to Australian regulators.

Why have govt cutting across those.

Reform those institutions, put considered legislation through parliament. Kick the regulators along when not doing their job. But don't sidestep parliament and let politically charged or politically activist ministers regulate so they feel good.

Especially when COL govts have ministers off the list, never voted for, with personal agenda that the people did not support. Legislation and the things ministers try to regulate, they both need be put through parliament. How else do we keep representation?

So cutting through the waffle; are you basically in favor of letting National remove banking regulation as they suggested?

No. (your using so is the give away).
Banks need be on a short rein. Hidden commissions and brokers not needed to put client circumstance first is terrible.
Set rules for banking through legislation, and activities of policing, or regulating banks is RBNZ and Treasury, and APRA in Aust.

I am suggesting regulation is too important to be left to a one minister regulation criteria need be put through the parliament or delegated to the regulating body that is then held accountable to parliament committees.

Here is an example.
In Australia there is legislation that then refers to kpi type of numerical points of regulations that are like an appendix/term sheet. The appendix, or term sheet is put as regulation that the minister sets. It's terrible, because the legislation settings (now in the appendix), the teeth never need parliamentary approval, can be changed anytime by lobbyists, lobbyingthe minister. There is no oversight.

Henry, The devil is in the detail. Go and look at National's so called economic plan "Regulation Reduction Package" (There's a link to it in the article).
One that really stood out was this quote; "National will reduce the compliance costs of AML (Anti Money Laundering) regulations by providing guidance to industry, via a National Policy Statement, on how to comply in a less costly manner, while continuing to meet our international obligations".
All they're going to do is relax regulations to the point of where they are completely ineffective, just like the did before!
Notice there's no information on how they're going to enforce their "National Policy Statement".

"Why do governments regulate, or need to regulate?
What makes regulation better then legislation?"

Short story:

1. Regulation is the operational form of legislation (it's basically a play book) - it tends to be defined by technocrats with a degree of expertise in their field rather than politicians
2. It can be enacted by a number of state / local body actors, but is bound by legislation
3. If every piece of regulation had to go through Parliament, the country would grind to a halt.

Fair point. We are both suggesting that the minister should not set regulation.
When the technocrats set regulation (that they were delegates to do so), they do & are accountable to parliamentary committees.

Your confidence is rather touching and to your credit. However, the technocrats will present a carefully curated set of options based on their own preferences. A lot of it is unconscious bias in favour of their own tribe and its concepts. They will frame the debate by excluding alternative frameworks, so that the politicians have only different flavour options within the same conceptual framework.

Ministers don't set regulation - they take advice from Public Sector policy wonks and in effect rubber-stamp their findings.
Minsters tend to influence the bounds of the conversation though (i.e they tend to offer ideological guidance to the Public Service so as not to be presented with something they would outright reject).

Basically, you need to treat the two things as separate.
Legislation sets the boundaries of what is legal and can only be established by Parliament which has primacy.
Regulation is the practical application of legislation set by Parliament and as such, tends to be more malleable / subject to change by policy.

In answer to your first question, because people are a..holes to each other, given half a chance, even WITH regulations

I don't think he makes the distinction - as for the few bits he has listed, most will require legislative change.

20
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"Remove the regulation-making powers to stop the government prohibiting sales incentives (used by the likes of banks and insurers". This is exactly why they had a Royal Commission of Inquiry in Australia into banking sector.

18
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Electable only in a banana republic.

Or electable, if you want to live in a banana republic half-owned and half-run by the CCP.

Banana republic also seems to encapsulate their approach to donations and influence.

But I'm sure given the way National slashed regulation during their last nine years that they'll get it done this time :-|

Simon Bridge is counting his days in the National party as a leader.

I am sorry to say this but it is time to have a new guy to do everything a bit more strategic and subtle.

Sorry, did I miss something....has Simon's BFF turned against him....or do they want a better return for their money.

Let the sink costs sink.

new investment is underway.

24
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Wow. This makes me sick. More removal of power from individuals, to be handed to big corporates and international criminal groups. What is the end goal here?

30
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the purpose is to make it easier for his Chinese, party funders to 'do business' in NZ

15
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We all know the 'business-friendly' Key-English government left a bunch of public agencies (FMA, Labour Inspectorate, TEC, Worksafe, Immigration NZ, ComCom) cash-strapped to prevent them from roadblocking dodgy yet profitable practices of low-value business.

These agencies have brought their heads barely above water but SB wants to tip the balance of power back to the side of NZ Inc.

16
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My god, political suicide in the current environment IMO. Workers looking at losing their shirts in the incoming recession and National wants to remove more rights for them?

They also had 9 years of big talk (pre 9 years) about reforming the RMA and did absolutely nothing. Why would anyone believe they are going to do anything again now?

Or is it a calculated bet that there are enough people dissatisfied with the current government's inability/inaction/ideology to vote them in as the lesser of the two evils?

You seem to have a computer programming error. National are trapped in a bad policy corruption loop, which keep producing fatal errors.

Fatal errors? I prefer to call them 'undocumented features' :-)

18
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So your 'lesser of two evils' is a political party that favours foreign ownership of critical assets and infrastructure, believes capitalists need protection from labour and not the other way round, and looks to one of the worst global political figures in decades for policy inspiration.

To some voters that will be preferable to the current government - would-be foreign owners, capitalists wanting protection, from your comment above for example. Others will have issues with their pushing of what they feel to be ideological agenda on climate change, gun ownership, freedom of speech etc. Don't underestimate the numbers.

And to clarify, I'm not making any excuses for National at all: I see this as a sick re-hash of yesteryear policy by cynical opportunism, and we as a country deserve better.

Pretty sure this is going to be the ultra rich and the conspiracy theorists out there duped by facebook social media posts of dubious origin. Thankfully that is a small percentage of the population and we live in a democracy.

Not sure about that - I know several people who are implacably opposed to Labour because they see their policies as attacking the very tenets on which the country was founded. They don't fit the above categories at all but are adamant this government needs to go and aren't so much 'voting for National' as 'voting against Labour'. Time will tell I guess.

Can't be more business friendly than these. Time to change the name to Business Party ?

So you think extending the ponzi game is business friendly? I'd say pricking the housing bubble and kicking the CCP for six as better business strategy that would empower young entrepeneurs out of the mortgage trap so they can risk capital in startups. Startups that create meaningful jobs, not the crap immigration has brought us.

Reduce immigration gives potentail to reduce house prices and then those young Kiwi entrepeneurs are more likely to stay in NZ and build NZ businesses. There are many great Kiwi entrepeneurs and managers living and working overseas.

As a young kiwi investor I can tell you that house prices have little to no impact on my decision to create productive enterprises in NZ. Excessive regulation and compliance costs however have tanked a business or 2 in their early years. The high corporate tax rates and extremely high staffing costs, would rank as the 2nd and 3rd biggest factors in relocation metrics (for specific roles as well as entire business).

"As a young kiwi investor I can tell you that house prices have little to no impact on my decision to create productive enterprises in NZ"

No, but they do influence in a number of ways.

1. Banks are far keener to lend on a sure thing (property collateral) rather than risk (a business) which skews /shallows the capital market
2. High house prices and commensurate high cost of living lead to a skilled labour shortage / wage inflation.

Also, Corp taxes aren't particularly high in NZ.
The OECD average and median is about 24% once all additional sub-central govt levies (i.e. state taxes) are included.

Lastly, compliance costs don't sink businesses.
That's the same as claiming taxes sink businesses (which is nonsense).
Poor business planning, poor cashflow, lack of market analysis and inadequate capitalisation sink businesses.

I have found your second point to be manifestly untrue. I would go so far as to contend that lower house prices correlate to a more acute shortage of skilled labour in NZ.

The substantially increased cost of compliance here relative to Singapore makes it so that my competition would always have a pricing edge which all other things being equal effectively sinks my business (unless I send the whole operation offshore, with foreign ownership. Ie. the concept and design work that I do myself happens in NZ for “free” with everything else happening in a cheaper jurisdiction. Profits being overseas also allows me to wait for a more favourable regime prior to repatriating them.) I also take your point that NZ corporate tax is 15% ((28-24)/24) higher than average, as a business owner I am more interested in the difference to the bottom decile than the average.

Comparing NZ to Singapore is basically comparing apples to octopuses.
Singapore is extremely unusual in that:

1. It's a highly compact, family run city state, smack bang in the middle of SE Asia - as such it can take a multi-generational view to governance and policy
2. Singapore was on the bones of it's arse for years as it had no natural resources, thus created an incredibly liberal business regime / ruthless anti-union bent fueled by cheap labour to compensate and became a key trading hub
3. 75% of land is owned by the SLA, with the large majority of the remainder owned by other government departments. As such the SLA is Singapore's only effective landlord.

Re tax deciles, yes NZ is at the bottom of the the upper quartile (equal to Greece, below Belgium) but if you want to compare it to the lower, then you'll need to trade in to the former Soviet states, Ireland or the UK.

Also re housing in NZ , I should have been more clear. Housing costs relative to disposible income create a skilled labour problem.

If my primary competition is based in Singapore I don’t really get a choice as to whom I compare myself against.

By your reasoning with regards to house prices I should be better able to find skilled labour (in my case software developers & data scientists ) in Timaru / Invercargill than Auckland. I still disagree.

Thats a pretty facile point re Timaru.
You aren’t competing against businesses for skilled labour in Otago and Southland (presumably).

And if you were, you’d actually be surprised at the availability of talent down there.
I have highly skilled engineering and consulting colleagues in Invercargill and Dunedin delivering multi-million $ / pa managed services trade.

One of my best security consultants just transferred to Dunedin in fact, because it affords his family a better lifestyle. Same wage as Wellington for his highly sought after skills.

14
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Just a rebranding should do it.
How about International Party Of NZ Inc
or IPONZI for short..

My vote is generally available to be bribed off me. The last lot failed to deliver the light rail from the city to my house and then on to the airport by 2021 that they promised (I was sceptical but I lived in hope). Regulatory reduction sounds like a bigger bribe than the light rail was ever going to be and I am actually reasonably confident that this lot can deliver it.

16
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The problem with common sense is that it's not common. That's why H&S regulations are needed.

Turning off the methane gas alarm sensors because they kept going off, requiring the mine to be evacuated and halting work that was endangering their production quotas, was not common sense, but that's what the miners at Pike River did.

Nothing to do with the hollowing out of the skills base by 50 years of anti-mining propoganda, legislation and regulation then? This was a systemic failure on every level.

Yes, which is why H&S legislation is required - to ensure companies put in safe systems of operations with the threat of large penalties if they don't.

That way regardless of how unprofitable or inefficient the company is due to a hollowed out skilled base, at least they won't kill or maim their workers.

The hollowing out was in the inspectorate and the government processors and DOC personnel as well as in the workforce, management and external consultants. The best miners work to very high standards, that's why it is usually the local mines in incompetent provinces that collapse, flood, blow up, or have tailings dams break when "unexpectedly high" rainfall occurs. Its always about having truly capable people at every level. Nothing else works.

I was reasonably close to people involved in Pike River prior to its opening. One line that has stuck with me from then was "Unions will not be welcome, this is to be a non-union mine".

Individual human beings exhibit common sense.

Limited Liability entities will not. Common sense would see reduction in profits for most scenarios.

This is why regulation exists.

18
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I think a common sense test should be applied to Mr Bridges himself...does he have any? Unfortunately Simon, as 30 years of relentless deregulation has shown us, sadly it doesn't work. Why does business NZ not try applying the same energy into actually creating businesses that succeed by being run professionally and profitably instead of taking shortcuts like moneylaundering and killing staff at work to make a business model work?

Cue Lefty Outrage.

Could go down well with anyone who thinks good kiwi practical common sense has been legislated and regulated away by the "We Will Control YOU" brigade of self righteous fanatical urban believers in fashionable ideas, ie the civil service and their sociopathic promoters, the trendy politicians.

Can he deliver the goods, though? After all, it's not just Labour, the Red/Greens and the Peters Party; previous National governments did their bit to create this mess, too.

There is a fair bit of resentment out there. Whether it's focus is on stupid house prices, overcrowding, homelessness, immigration numbers, or on cultural issues with immigrant groups who do not integrate, anti-car policies, gun control, foreign investment, kow towing to China, council rate rises, or whatever. Winston is now past it, maybe Bridges can position himself in his place, the champion of the average man or woman.

10
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Watched 60 mins last night. One of their segments was a 20 min real estate ad for a 200 odd ha block in Glenorchy. Nice place but why the free advertising? Talk was about how foreign prop investors bring so much to NZ. What?
Presume this will be one of the areas Ximon and head office in Beijing will be looking at removing needless hurdles.

I do think better, simpler regulation is desperately needed to free the productive base from the oppression of the Finance and Real Estate Promoting State. The malaise is deep though. We have all been indoctrinated to be suspicious of the private sector. The private sector responds to incentives. If those incentives are skewed then capital will still flow to wherever it is rewarded, stupid or not.

Very well put

Only way it was worth 20 million, is if they built a Smalltown...IE... if someone wants to launder money and subdivide to build their hearts desires....more Houses to sell to more invaders in Glenorchy regions... allowed by Simon & Co..
Or they would get a poor return on their Capital Expenditure...if trying to milk it, till the cows come home....to meat the market.
Plus if waters keep rising and rain keeps falling, it might even be underwater before even that. It may have supported one family for 80 years....but we is now at mercy of Climate Change....or has no one noticed....and told all those 4K hopefuls wanting to buy a Hobit House.

Wheres the evidence that good kiwi practical common sense has ever existed? In the absence of tight prescriptive legislation it certainly didn't show up in the construction sector in the 90s nor in the finance sector in the 2000s and look what happened there, complete disaster. I would surmise that it is infact a myth...like the Milford Moose...and thats why legislation is required.

My problem is that you are advancing the power of the manipulative and controlling state. You assume that:
1 There is no alternative.
2 The state is competent.
3 The state will not abuse its power.
4 The problems we face were not created by the state in the first place.

Rubbish. Likewise you think the private sector has a clean set of hands?

Did not know you could tell such great jokes. Beijing Bridges to sort kow towing to China? That bit has got me laughing almost out of control

"Yer gotta larf, else you'll cry". As they used to say. It is hard indeed to imagine Bridges managing much more than his own lunch money, and even that seems unlikely. Unfortunately, just having a reasonable chance of doing so seems to be sufficient to get the job.

Of course, I may be being unduly negative, grumpy and cynical. Maybe he has all the qualities and experience he needs to be a true "poacher turned gamekeeper". Not sure if that translates to the modern era, but he may have a deep and intimate knowledge of the flaws and weaknesses of the government machinery from his time as a state prosecutor and know exactly what is needed and how to get it done. There must be a reason the MPs chose him as National leader.

Poacher to gamekeeper? Yeah right. He might if he saw an advantage for himself, but that would leave him just as opportunistically liable to turn back to poaching any time he thought that would be more gainful for him.
Nats chose him as they thought they were toast at the time, now they are stuck with him for a while.
I do not trust conservative govts one lick, too inclined to slash and burn the environment and too inclined to try to tell people what they can and can't do with their private lives.

Are they running for election in a different New Zealand? Looks to me like they've continued to veer sharply right with their policy announcements.

I think they are confused. They can see some sense in past ideas but still believe in most of the nonsense that got us where we are. Like the last National government, which had some genuinely talented people in it, they are pulling in two or three different directions and their good ideas are outnumbered by the daft ones.

They can see that productivity enhancing investment is needed but think foreign capital inflows into property counts as "investment". Also they are happy to encourage us to join in the bank friendly leveraged buyout of our housing market (by ourselves, with yet more borrowed money) without seeing it is counter productive (it just increases the overheads, payable to the banks), ie it reduces our productivity.

No - it simply means they are not running for election on this website .

Are there any parties committed to proper regulatory reform, as opposed to simplistic Get Rid Of Regulation = Good for Business? Like that has true lasting value. No mention of construction & residential land regulations being simplified in an effective way, but Soimon Brudges will be keeping his own property portfolio in mind
Anyway, I suppose we're now due for all the stupid campaign slogans to start rolling in.

Safe pair of hands? Brighter Future?

"Better than policy. We have anti-policies."

Wow they are really missing in action here aren't they. As the main opposition party this is the best they can do differently to the Government after three years? Doing things such as abolishing the Tram Drivers Regulations?

What the actual?

This is actually more laughable then when Brash attempted to set up a 'Political Correctness Eradicator' in the mid 2000's.

Arbitrary, irrational basis for revisiting regulations by National. Should always be case by case. Nationals weakness has always been to be in opposition since anything positive costs money, and their base hate spending money.

This is just an embarrassment, I kinda feel sorry for him, in a 'laughing at them' sort of way.

It's a 'forgive them Lord, for they don't know what they are doing' moment.

He's the prime example of someone doing a job that is beyond his/her pay grade!
His nic name should be Simon Kamikaze Bridges

Absurd

Enable landlords to raise rents more than once a year
Reduce the level of ministerial decision-making in the Overseas Investment Act
Allow businesses to use 90-day trials
Allow business to deduct pay for workers on a partial strike
Remove the regulation-making powers to stop the government prohibiting sales incentives (used by the likes of banks and insurers)

Each regulation change should go through a social cost / benefit assessment to determine the best regulation for NZ Inc, the regulatory outcome should not be predetermined.

Duh. National is all about socialising the costs and privatising the profits. There is no way they would do any sort of social accounting on their policies or they would likely never implement anything!

Socialising the cost and privatising profits is the purpose of a socialist government.
In healthcare for example all the “profit” accrues to the Private person who is sick (drank too much?) whilst the cost is socialised via taxes.
You seem to imply that privatisation of profit is bad? Do explain why and how you believe that socialism works.

In the cause of healthcare for the individual, I think you are mixing up utility with profit.
Two quite different economic concepts.

The consumption of a utility (healthcare) by an individual is equivalent to that individual acquiring the profit that utility could have been sold for.

perhaps we should amend our phrasing so as to be more semantically accurate: “The privatisation of benefits and socialisation of costs is the purpose of socialist governments.”

"The consumption of a utility (healthcare) by an individual is equivalent to that individual acquiring the profit that utility could have been sold for."

Sort of.
By default, that reduces benefit to be a purely market driven calculation (which it isn't).
Obvious example: If not obtaining utility / benefit results in death, it can't reasonably be assumed that the actor is seeking to extract surplus for economic reasons.

It starts bad (wrong targets to get rid of) and ends worse - given he'll replace 100 old with 50 new. Do we need so many new? I recall Sir Geoffrey going on a Quango Hunt, but he for sure didn't couple it with a 2 (down) for 1 (up) deal.

https://www.grownups.co.nz/uncategorised/politics-quango-hunt/

National - No... just No... it just reeks of self interest with no real benefits to wider NZ

If anything it will make things worse with higher costs of living for most people and govt subsidies for those who don't need it

Their mantra seems to be
1. Sell NZ to foreigners
2. Remove rules intended to protect against abuse in many forms - when has that ever been successful long term?
3. Widen the wealth gap and keep the poor - well, poor...
4. Have the middle class pay the majority of taxes
5. Have govt subsidized rent increases for landlords - now twice a year...

Stupid knows no bounds

Well, it's official - Simon bridges is as subtle as a sledgehammer...
It is probably his style which is emphasizes over-simplicity - which is just driving nails into the coffin

To say we want to sell NZ to foreigners, raise the costs of living further and inflate property higher - which are all well-known hot points for common New Zealanders, is just like pouring petrol on hot bed..and then acting dumbfounded when it blows up in your face...