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The New Government's First "Quick Win" Top Priority

Economists divide government intervention into two main areas

  1. Taxation and spending

  2. The regulatory state

The regulatory state is about the rules that govern our activities, together with their enforcement characteristics. They affect economic incentives. NZ must immediately unleash as much of the creativity and innovation potential that exists within our shores but which has been stifled by crushing regulation. If the incoming PM wants to move fast to shift the dial, then it should be in this area. Matters of taxation & spending involve taking money from one person and giving it to someone else so are fraught with often bitter disputes - changes in these areas can take time as those disputes are worked through.


So what should National & ACT do? As quick as they can, greatly expand the tiny existing group in the NZ Treasury that conducts Cost Benefit Analyses (CBA) to work out whether rules are justified. The White House has a dedicated outfit called the Office of Information and Regulatory Affairs that conducts these CBA's of existing and potentially new regulations implemented in the US (see the link below). We should have an equivalent office though located within Treasury to minimize additional bureaucracy.


My expectation would be that thousands of regulations in NZ are not justified since their costs outweigh the benefits, including many Health & Safety rules passed under John Key's government. Tear down those rules that are stopping Kiwis from being who they could be - we should be able to take risks, we shouldn't be patronized by public bureaucrats endlessly telling us what we can do and what we cannot. Aren't the New Zealanders of whom we are most proud the ones that took risks? Rules create great bureaucracies of administrators who implement and enforce them and penalize those who disobey them. It is the regulatory state that should be the main target in the first six months of office.


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