Can someone tell me the difference between 'gut' and 'abolish'?
Rodney Hide says ACT will "unshackle New Zealand business from the red tape that is strangling them." Great. I wonder what the details are?
First, ACT's press release doen't promise to to reduce compliance costs, they promise "fewer compliance costs." Uh huh? And their policy release argues that "lower taxes also mean lower compliance costs." Huh, really?
Second, Rodney promises to "Gut legislation that imposes the greatest level of compliance costs on business, including the Resource Management Act, the Employment Relations Act, the Health and Safety in Employment Act and the Holidays Act."
"Gut." Not abolish. 'Gut' is better than ACT's previous promise of 'radical reform' or to 'confine the RMA to its original purpose,' but is there any reason at all to retain any of these Acts?
Rodney promises to 'gut' them "by returning to the basic principles of the sanctity of private property rights and the freedom to contract." Great. But as always with ACT's promises, there are no further details.
The truth being avoided with these broadbrush promises is that you can't return to the basic principles of the sanctity of private property rights and the freedom to contract if you retain any of these Acts - you can only do that if you abolish and start again.
In the case of the Resource Management Act (RMA), you can only return to the basic principles of the sanctity of private property rights if you abolish it and return to the basic principles of the common law. The common law has seven-hundred years of sophistication in dealing with the issues and conflicts the RMA purports to deal with; the RMA has just over ten. Why would you retain it at all?
I've made these arguments before, most recently here and here. We know Ken Shirley and Rodney Hide read them, because they went on to plagiarise them in subsequent speeches. Here's Ken's. Now that's fine, that's what our ideas are for, but unfortunately, they left out the conclusion. They always do.