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A property ladder missing its bottom rungs, an underperforming education system, and a fear of foreigners doing business in New Zealand.
These were just some of the issues the New Zealand Initiative thought the next Government would need to tackle to create a better country for everybody.
The business-sponsored think tank has drawn on more than 30 reports it has published since 2012 to produce an election policy manifesto it said was aimed to better inform voters about the country’s challenges.
“Politics is far too important to be left to politicians,” New Zealand Initiative executive director Oliver Hartwich said.
“It is up to voters to ask political candidates what they are going to do if elected.”
The report, Manifesto 2017, addressed eight different areas which included an analysis of housing, local government, foreign investment and welfare issues.
Its recommendations included incentivising councils for housing development, abolishing the Overseas Investment Act, and improving teacher quality through better school management.
The report said the biggest wedge between economic performance and living standards was housing.
This was why affordable housing was important, it said, because the more affordable they were, the less households would struggle to make ends meet.
But escalating house prices had split the country into homeowners and those locked out of the housing market.
“The property ladder, which once allowed New Zealanders in their 20s to own a home, has lost its bottom rungs.”
It saw the issue being driven by a lack of supply in the market.
One of the think tank’s key recommendations for fixing affordability, therefore, was to incentivise councils for development by letting them capture the GST component of new buildings.
All rural-urban boundaries and height and density controls should be abolished as well, it said.
“Our recommendations for restoring New Zealand’s housing affordability are simple but require political courage.
“After a decade of rampant housing inflation, restoring housing affordability must be a top priority for the Government.”
The report also addressed foreign direct investment, particularly in the context of the increased global backlash against globalisation and free trade.
Free trade was accepted across the political spectrum, it said, but the country was not fully integrated into the world economy.
“In particular, New Zealand has still not shed its capital xenophobia, the fear of foreigners doing business here.
“We might accept the need for the Overseas Investment Act simply because it exists.
“But other developed economies like the United Kingdom do not even have such laws.”
Hartwich said the manifesto was a challenge to both the Government and the opposition.
“It is immaterial to the New Zealand Initiative which parties will form the next Government,” he said.
“What matters to us is who is going to take up the challenge to create a better New Zealand for all New Zealanders.”
Continue reading this article at the original source from Stuff.co.nz
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