National leader Simon Bridges would light a 'bonfire of regulations' if elected PM

National leader Simon Bridges has unveiled the first part his five-part economic plan, which includes lighting a "bonfire of regulations" - such as repealing some workers' rights. 

If the National Party is elected to power in September, a Minister of Regulatory Reduction would be appointed to cut back on "unnecessary red tape and regulation". 

"Our bonfire of regulation will ensure we get rid of 100 regulations in our first six months and that for every regulation introduced, two are removed," Bridges said on Monday. 

The plan to cut back on regulations has already been touted by National, back in August 2019, when Bridges released the party's economic policy discussion document

It promised the repeal of 100 regulations in its first six months in office and that it was looking to increase the retirement age from 65 to 67 starting in 2037. 

National MP Paul Goldsmith, the Opposition's finance spokesperson, has released a list of the first 29 regulations National plans to axe if it regains power. 

They include "burdensome and unnecessary" rental standards, such as requiring landlords to supply heaters and rental standards that don't coincide with the Building Code. 

National also wants to axe rules "making it difficult to remove problematic tenants" and new provisions that would mean landlords may only raise rents every 12 months

National also wants to scrap a yet to be introduced rule allowing tenants to add minor fittings and improvements to rentals without landlord permission. 

National wants renters to be allowed to have pets on a property without the landlord's permission, too. 

Some of the other regulations National wants to axe include updating New Zealand's restrictions on the use of biotechnologies in consultation with Kiwis to "bring them into line with the latest science". 

The 30-day-rule that forces new employees to have a union contract when they begin employment would be scrapped, and employers would be allowed to deduct pay for workers on a partial strike. 

National leader Simon Bridges and National's finance spokesperson Paul Goldsmith.
National leader Simon Bridges and National's finance spokesperson Paul Goldsmith. Photo credit: Newshub / Zane Small

National also wants to restore "flexible" rest and meal breaks, repealing the Government's law change giving workers more rights to rest, and all employers would be given the ability to utilise 90 day trials again. 

"National will remove barriers to new entrants to the market and streamline unnecessarily slow and expensive bureaucratic procedures," Goldsmith said. 

"Having a concrete policy of eliminating two old regulations for every new regulation introduced will incentivise officials to look at ways of reducing regulations before they impose new ones."

He said the Government's reforms to the Residential Tenancy Act "reduce property rights of landlords, increase costs, discourage the supply of rental properties and increase rents for low income households". 

He said that's "not good for the landlord or the tenant".

ACT Party leader David Seymour agrees. He says new tenancy laws "burden landlords with silly new rules and push rents up". 

Bridges delivered a speech last month outlining National's economic plan, promising a "package of policies leading up to the election which will address tax, regulation, infrastructure, small business and families". 

He promised in his speech to keep taxes low, keep debt low, create more jobs, and lift New Zealand's GDP, among others.

Finance Minister Grant Robertson described the speech as "vague and empty" and accused the National leader of "repeating buzz-words and tired old lines".

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