The Election Aftermath: Winners and Losers
New Zealand has spoken. As the vote stands it’s looking increasingly likely that National will govern, whether that’s with ACT or with ACT and NZ First, writes Ben Tutty.
18 October 2023
And, with that in mind, we’ve summed up who stands to win and who will lose when and if their policies come into force.
National are planning to cut red tape and have promised to remove two regulations for every regulation introduced to the agricultural sector. Agriculture will also be added to the Emissions Trading Scheme much later in 2030 (instead of 2025).
National does not plan to take GST off fresh fruits and vegetables, unlike Labour. Regardless, it’s unclear whether or not this Labour policy would actually have made a material difference to prices. Some economists say it would have been absorbed by supermarkets.
Winner: Homeowners and property investors
National are peeling the bright-line test back from 10 years to two, restoring interest deductibility for property investors and removing the requirement that the Reserve Bank consider house prices when making OCR decisions.
Loser: 2 to 3-year-olds (and young families)
National will not be instituting Labour’s policy to extend 20 hours’ free early childcare education to 2 to 3-year-olds (it’s currently for 3 to 5s).
90-day trials are being reinstated under National. Don’t like your new employee? This is your chance.
In 2019, the Labour Government pegged benefits to wages. National plan to reverse this and again peg benefits to inflation. As a result, by 2029-30 someone on the Jobseeker will be about $50 a week worse off and someone on a Disability Benefit will be $60 worse off.
Winner: Car owners and ute drivers
Fees for the most polluting vehicles are currently up to $6,900. National would scrap the fee, as well as the clean car rebate, cancel the Auckland regional fuel tax and prioritise building roads over public transport.
Loser: Three Waters
Goodbye Three Waters. National will give responsibility for water infrastructure back to councils, set strict rules for investment in infrastructure and require that infrastructure be financially sustainable. Critics of their policy say that council control is the reason our water infrastructure is in such a state in the first place.
Winner: EV drivers
Drive an EV? You’re in luck. National plan to deliver 10,000 electric vehicle chargers by 2030. Aspiring EV drivers are not as lucky: National plans to cancel the clean car rebate.
In December 2021 the Medium Density Residential Standards (MDRS) were voted in unanimously by both parties. This new law aimed to prevent urban sprawl and prioritise densification of existing urban areas. National has changed their tack and stated they would scrap the MDRS in favour of greenfield development (development further out of centres on previously undeveloped land such as farms).
Winner: “The squeezed middle’’
A family with kids on the average income of $120,000 will receive an extra $250 per fortnight under the new National Tax Plan, according to the party.
Try the National tax calculator to find out how much you’ll save.
Loser: “Back-office workers”
National is expecting to cut 6.5 per cent of costs across the public service, including large cuts to “back-office workers” and consultants. Critics of this policy say it will mean cuts to frontline government services.
Winner: Foreign buyers
National will allow foreign buyers to buy NZ property with a value of $2 million or more, provided they pay 15 per cent tax on the purchase price. They say this policy will net taxpayers $740 million a year, but critics have pointed out that to raise that amount foreign buyers will need to buy between 30 and 50 per cent of all property above $2 million. In 2018 (before the ban) they took part in under 3 per cent of all sales, according to The New Zealand Herald.
Loser: The climate
National plans to scrap clean car discounts, cancel high-profile public transport projects and end the Government Investment in Decarbonising Industry Fund, which gives millions from the Emissions Trading Scheme to help the private sector decarbonise. They also plan to raid funds from the Climate Emergency Response Fund and ETS to fund tax cuts.
The one bright spot in National’s policy is that they plan to cut red tape and consenting time for renewable energy projects down to one year (down from eight, according to National).
National ran on a platform of sound fiscal and economic management, blaming Labour for the cost-of-living crisis and the state of our economy. Over the next three years we’ll see if their credentials and claims during this campaign stack up.
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