2017 Policy #14 – Better Business Policy

Our economy is not working. It’s not working for younger generations, it’s not working for the poor and it’s certainly not working for the environment.

TOP will turn this around by putting more money in workers’ pockets, encouraging more investment in businesses that makes us better off and making polluters pay for damaging the environment.

The Opportunities Party Better Business Plan will:

  1. Reform competition law to remove the power held by big business over workers and competitors.
  2. Reward hard work by dropping income taxes, halting immigration of lower skilled labour and reforming the benefit system to introduce an Unconditional Basic Income.
  3. Make housing affordable and create more good jobs by closing tax loopholes and giving a $35b boost to investment in infrastructure and R&D.
  4. Protect the environment by making polluters pay for their environmental damage and helping businesses wean themselves off fossil fuels.

Our economy isn’t working for workers

In dollar terms, New Zealand is richer than ever. However, that fact papers over a system with many cracks. We are only richer because there are more of us working longer hours, not because each individual is making more money. This is the legacy of decades of mismanagement from both National and Labour.

Globalisation, technology, greater power of big business and immigration are all keeping wages pegged down at the bottom end. When you include housing costs,  incomes are going backwards. On top of that, much of the recent growth we have seen has come at the expense of environmental damage.

Nobody’s making anything

The key to becoming better off in the long term is investing in assets that actually make us more productive. That way we can have higher incomes with less work, not more. Research and development funding is a good example of this kind of investment. It creates highly-skilled, high-paying jobs, and the benefits flow on to everyone.

Right now, New Zealand’s economy is geared towards speculation rather than productive investment. We barely tax property compared to the rest of the world. There’s no reason for a business owner to hire more staff and train them up when he or she can just buy another house instead. The result? Fewer good jobs for workers, and higher house prices to boot.

The same disease occurs in our biggest industry: farming. There, the lack of environmental controls encourage farmers to intensify in order to bid up land prices. That’s where the real money is made – but at the cost of the environment.

We need a new, sustainable way to make money without relying on buying houses off each other or stuffing the environment. To do that we need to invest in things that will make us all richer.

TOP’s economic policy is designed to increase incomes while ensuring that more people receive the fruits from growing our economy. We will level the playing field so that everyone has the opportunity to get ahead. This will ensure we have both a richer and fairer country.