Retirement age, National and using ACT as a Trojan Horse

ACT Leader David Seymour is commending Retirement Commissioner Diane Maxwell for starting the conversation New Zealanders need to have about Super and retirement, and challenging other leaders to put their cards on the table for younger voters to see before next years’ election.

“ACT is the only party in parliament willing to have this debate, with every other leader running a mile from a sensible discussion,” says Seymour, “the figures Maxwell provides speak for themselves, with the number of over 65s doubling, the cost of super tripling, and the number of workers supporting each retiree falling from 4.4 to just 2.4 over the coming 20 years.”

Last year ACT proposed having a referendum on Super instead of the flag, but could not gain cross party support for taking on the issue.

“Ultimately this is about what sort of character we want in our governments. Do we want a Government that looks into the future and confronts difficult challenges, as the Retirement Commissioner is doing, or one that tells younger New Zealanders we’re not even allowed to discuss the future.

While there are a number of possible changes, ACT supports a gradual increase in the age of eligibility from 65 to 67, at a pace of two months per year every year beginning as soon as possible. Read more »


ACT want to get rid of ‘pretend’ ministries

Following from Rodney Hide’s column on ministries that serve no practical purpose:

Mr Seymour says he is “a little bit repentant” about having stated these ministerial roles serve no purpose, given former ACT leader Rodney Hide has subsequently noted in his NBR column that “they do play an important role – they provide somebody for the government to send to various events for photo opportunities…”

That aside, though, he insists they’re not roles that are “useful to the New Zealand people.”

Take the Minister for Women, for example, a role Mr Seymour singled out in ACT’s newsletter on September 19 (he rejects the idea as “cynical” that he was trolling in floating the idea on Suffrage Day).

He notes that “men are behind in almost all education statistics, most health statistics, men commit most of the crime but they’re also more likely to be a victim of a crime… Read more »


ACT: Turf out bad teachers by offering early retirement or retraining

bad teacher

Free Press writes

Teacher Unions’ Odd Position
Teachers will strike this week, forcing parents all over the country to make alternative arrangements.  Their concern?  That principals and boards of trustees will be given more flexibility in how they use their funding.  They believe this will lead to fewer teachers being employed, but why would that be?
How it Plays out in Partnership Schools
ACT’s Partnership Schools have total flexibility in their funding.  They have generally used this flexibility to economise on material things and employ more teachers.  It is not clear why the teacher unions believe state schools would use flexibility to employ fewer teachers, unless… Read more »


Good evening, this is your Under-Secretary to the Minister of Education speaking

David Seymour at Vanguard Military School-PHOTO Vanguard FB page

David Seymour at Vanguard Military School-PHOTO Vanguard FB page

By any objective measure, partnership schools have been a success for this government, and ACT specifically.  And now more could be on the way

Under-Secretary to the Minister of Education David Seymour has announced a fourth round of applications to establish Partnership Schools | Kura Hourua (Partnership Schools). The fourth round will open in August, with successful Partnership Schools opening in 2018. Read more »

David Seymour wants you to tell him stuff, and he even allows for trolls


David Seymour displays a sense of humour in his latest pop-survey.

Whaleoil readers have gone a little off the boil on ACT this year after a fairly solid 2015.  It’s been suggested Seymour has lost a strategist or advisor, and it shows. His parliamentary questions can be somewhat childish and aimed at trying to come across as a smart-arse while having a go at fellow MPs instead of getting a consistent message out that voters are warming to. The steady stream of pressers that just had people nodding their heads automatically seems to have slowed to a trickle.

So this is your chance to give him an earful.

I know some of you are especially unimpressed with ACT’s position on immigration, so this would be a chance to let David know your thoughts about that as well.

ACT’s David Seymour pop-survey


Minor parties

It is the time of the electoral cycle when the smallest of Parliament’s parties start to have existential crises. These are real crises for Act and United Future, given they look into the abyss of extinction every three years.

There is precious little oxygen in the rarefied atmosphere inhabited by Government support parties. If evidence was needed it came this week when Dunne tried to remind people of his existence by issuing a press statement setting out the three policy themes he would be focusing on in the lead-up to the 2017 election. The themes were: an economy that provides fairness, choice and opportunity; establishing core environmental bottom lines; and embracing and celebrating a modern, multi-cultural New ZZZZZzzzzzzzzzz.

It was effectively a campaign launch. It fell with the impact of a feather.

It is a tricky time for the leaders of the two parties. Act and United Future are dependent on either wooing 5 per cent of voters to get into Parliament or on keeping a grip on an electorate seat.

Neither has come close to the 5 per cent mark for some time and nor are they likely to. In both cases, the electorate seat deal is the only option.

Both Dunne and Seymour are all but guaranteed to be back in the next parliament, and their existential crisis is but a media mirage. It is clear that neither is likely to get 5% for United Future or ACT. So, the only risky thing is that their sugar daddy, National, is going to drop support.  Read more »

Taxing taxes

John Key

ACT remind us that National are slowly edging backwards on a fairly solid election promise.

No New Taxes?
National campaigned on no new taxes and will soon have introduced three. It begs the question, why vote for a National party that introduces new taxes like a Labour Government on heat?

Tourist Tax
The tourism industry is furious about the $25 arrival fee applied to visitors. It was sold as a user charge but the Government has never shown how it covers cost created by the user. That’s a tax. Read more »


ACT are greener than the Greens


David has a reason to gloat.   Read more »


ACT: Chris Hipkins’ Charter Schools Abolition Bill “irritating”

Strong Demand

Opposition to Partnership Schools runs against demand from educators and families. Twenty-six different groups applied for an advertised two contracts in the latest application round.  In addition, existing schools have filled rapidly and in some cases have had to construct waiting lists.

Maori Backing the Policy

Perhaps due to the poor outcomes in other school types, and the early success of Kura Hourua, the Iwi Leaders’ Forum declared an official position supporting the policy in 2015.  Labour, despite hoping to win Maori seats in 2017, have not acknowledged this.

Registered Teachers Not a Panacea

Opponents haven’t traded in the facts when it comes to Partnership Schools.  One example is that they say Partnership Schools employ ‘unqualified teachers.’  The law allows Partnership Schools to nominate a percentage of positions to be filled by staff not registered with EDUCANZ if they have the ‘skills, qualifications and experience’ to help kids.  Several Partnership Schools have used this freedom to hire outstanding individuals.

Read more »

Crown Law appealing soft Three Strikes decisions

Crown Law is lodging an appeal in two cases where judges refused to send criminals to prison for the rest of their lives under the three-strikes law.

The law, which was an ACT Party initiative to deal with repeat violent offending, states if a murder is committed on a second or third strike, the punishment is automatically life without parole.

But a judge can give a minimum non-parole period instead if they feel a lifetime in prison would be extremely unfair or manifestly unjust.

Life without parole has never been imposed in New Zealand – and ACT says the appeals should determine whether judges have been too lenient in interpreting the three-strikes law.

One of the two sentences being appealed is that of Justin Turner, who could be serving life in prison with no prospect of parole for the 2014 murder of Auckland man Maqbool Hussain.

The judge decided to sentence him to life with a 15 year minimum non-parole period, in part because Turner had shown remorse.

A life for a life isn’t that unreasonable when we’re talking Three Strikes. Clearly the crim is hard of understanding and by then it is the public that needs the benefit of the doubt.  Read more »