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Free Speech Space with MJ - Andrew Bayly

“New coalition Formed & There’s Much To Do!”

MJ: Hi, everybody, and welcome back to the free speech space with MJ. And today Andrew Bayly MP. He has had an astounding victory in the region of Port Waikato in the by-election and the National Party would be lost without you, mate. Four terms. This is coming up to your fourth term, isn’t it? You know, just brilliant.

AB: Yeah, it is. It seems a long time now, but not really, because it was a vote for a local MP as opposed to necessarily being for a party, but a bit worried about the turnout initially. Most people, when I stood on their doorstep, said, well, I voted for you, Andrew. Do I have to vote again? And then we had a pretty good start to the voting. And then middle bit, for some reason, the Electoral Commission discontinued some of the voting booths. So, people didn’t turn up and vote, and or couldn’t vote, but on the final day a lot turned out. So, I’m very happy and very grateful to the good people at Port Waikato.

MJ: Well, they obviously, you know, think the world of you. Look at the numbers. I mean, they’re just staggering, right? It’s just brilliant. So, you’ve done an awesome job. That’s all I can say that the proof is in the pudding.

AB: Well, people have asked me and media have asked me, and you know, it’s not about the campaign. I always say, look, if you’ve done the work in the period leading up to the election, that’s what counts. Have you been out? Have you met with people? Have you helped people? And if you’ve done that, that’s what gets you over the line. It’s not the last few weeks running around and standing on someone’s doorstep trying to convince them.

MJ: Absolutely right. But the most important thing is you’ve done a good job. That’s the thing. That’s the great thing. So now listen, your new position, well it’s not new because you have a Minister of Commerce and Consumer Affairs, Minister for Small Business and Manufacturing and Minister of Statistics. Now a couple of those you’ve always had. So, you’re hitting the ground running. The other thing is the last six years have been, and the last three in particular have been a frightening place. And everyone that I’ve talked to is just like the relief.

AB: There’s no doubt over the last few years, the level of division in New Zealand, I’ve talked about this for a lot and for a long time, the level of division in New Zealand, I think, is palpable and very unwelcome. And, you know, we’ve got racial tensions, particularly between with Māori, which I think is outrageous.

You know, New Zealand has many people in it, and we need to respect people. But where the debate ended up on that, on the issue of people, whether it’s not a COVID injection or they didn’t, or whether people are older and own houses and other people don’t, or whether they’ve ruined the environment, or that’s the allegation. And because you’re younger, you’re going to have those problems. That all that sense of division that runs through the economy and all through society now is just so damaging to New Zealand. And the worst thing is we’re sort of almost still talking about what went on. Why are we not talking about where do we want to go? Where do we want to be in 10 years time? New Zealand has this wonderful potential, but no one seems to be saying, what are we going to grow into? Where do we want to see ourselves in 10 years time? And forward thinking, and that’s what we’re missing. And that’s what we want to do as a government is.

Yes, try and deal with some of that division, but actually start, and part of that is actually start talking about where we want to go as a country. Because we can be great, but you know, right now a lot of people getting on the plane and going to Australia, and in many cases it’s understandable why, why they’re doing that. And we need to make a case why you want to stay in New Zealand, why you want to have children and put them through a good school, have good health, hospital services for all the people. That’s the type of stuff that we need for New Zealand.

Just get the basics right. But why, gee, we can be dynamic.

MJ: We certainly can. We’ve got this mentality, the number eight wire mentality, if we’re allowed to do it. But if you tell somebody, hey, listen, you can’t make any number eight wire anymore, and why not, because we say so? Well, that just cuts you off below the knees. And this is what’s been happening, isn’t it?

AB: Well, that’s right. Yeah, certainly, and I’ve got this small business and the brand-new portfolio of manufacturing, the first time we had a minister for manufacturing. And when I talk to small business owners, and of course, I was one, I owned a lot of businesses, but the restraint on people, the time commitments and compliance, all that sort of stuff, and then this cost structure that’s been overlaid on top of it.

We just want to try and make people’s lives easier, because it’s already really hard to set up a business, employ people, do all that sort of stuff, put the money on the line, put your house on the line. We want to try and strip that back as much as possible, and let people, as you say, get on with their lives. And actually, we should welcome people creating jobs, creating successful businesses, because by the way, when they do that, there’s a whole lot more taxes for the government, and guess what pays for new road, new schools, new hospitals, all the things that everyone wants. That’s why you must have a successful economy. I think from memory, we have the second highest deficit now. And I started raising this issue with the Reserve Bank, because I sat on the finance and expenditure committee for the last nine years, and it started to show up about, or about two years ago, and I started asking Adrian, the head of the Reserve Bank about it and he tried to allay my concerns rather patronisingly and I’ve got to say it is bad. New Zealand has got one of the highest deficits.

MJ: How are we going to get out of it, Andrew?

AB: Well, it’s about growing the economy. So there’s that part, and then there’s a bit about this societal thing that we were talking about, that deep division. But the economy, I think, will get that back on track. Obviously, we’ve just had a feeding frenzy on spending money, but unfortunately, what a waste of money. So just to put in context, our net debt’s gone from about five billion bucks to now well over 100 billion.

So if you sat back, and it was quite strategic, because that started to happen before COVID. If you sat back now and said to New Zealanders, look, we’d like to spend 100 billion as a government on your behalf, what would you like to do with it? Now, some of the money that the government spent during COVID was perfectly fine. We supported it, the wage subsidy for example.

These types of things would cost about $25 billion. But let’s say we’d spent $35 billion. We’ve still got $65 billion to spend. Now imagine we said to New Zealanders, what would you like to do with that? What could we do with $65 billion? Well, I’ll tell you what, if we lived in Auckland, we could do it across the harbour tunnel. That cost estimate let’s say 15 billion. Okay, so there we are, we’ve just blown a big chunk.

Let’s go and deal with all of Wellington’s transport needs for the next 30 years. I think the estimate for that’s about 7 billion, 6.5 billion, let’s say 7 billion. So we’ve got Wellington sorted. We’ve got a whole lot of roads that have national significance. Maybe let’s chuck in another 10 billion for that. So what am I up to? I’m up to 15.

And then they’d say, well, what else might we do? Well, let’s build some new hospitals. So, the big hospital underneath and the brand new one we’re building is about $1.4 billion hospital. So, let’s chuck in another, we need some in West Coast, we need one in Whangarei, we need some other ones like Wanganui upgrade, let’s check in five billion bucks for that, right?

So you start to tally all that up. So let’s be clear, 15, 10, six for Wellington or seven, 10 for that, so what are we at about 30, 32 billion? We’ve still got another 20 billion to spend. So what can we do with that? Well, we can upgrade the defense, we’ve got a whole lot of courthouses that need doing, we’ve got prison corrections. Imagine how you could have strategically spent that money. Now that’s what I’m trying to demonstrate.

That is such a load of money that strategically could have set New Zealand up for the next 20 years of investment. So we’ve got the level of services that people so desperately require and think that New Zealand should be achieving. But all we’ve done in the meantime is spend all this money but with no real gains. Watch the Video to hear the rest of the conversation….

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elocal Digital Edition – December 2023 (#272)

elocal Digital Edition
December 2023 (#272)

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