This Week’s Meeting – 10 July 2017

Monday was our Club’s Changeover, when we farewelled outgoing President Andrew Aitken and welcomed in new President John Collinge.  Andrew thanked everyone for helping to make his year as President such a success (as outlined in the document sent to members earlier this week) and wished John all the best for his year leading the Club.  John then thanked Andrew and began his year as President by introducing his new Board and then our key-note speaker for the day – David Seymour, Leader of the Act New Zealand party.
David grew up in a household of adults who didn’t take no for an answer – from a mother who was one of the last kiwis to contract polio and was told she could never walk or have children, to a father and grandfather who successfully ran their own businesses.   David initially trained as an electrical engineer, but eventually succumbed to the call of politics.  ACT is very clear about its fundamental philosophies, which are individual freedom, personal responsibility, doing the best for the natural environment and for a smaller, smarter government in its goals of a prosperous economy, a strong society and a good quality of life.  ACT believes our current education system is ensuring too many students finish school who are unemployable, which is why they support charter schools and results from Whangarei are looking like these schools do have a place in our learning system.  Regarding housing, particularly in Auckland, the rate of building has slowed down, the amount households are spending on accommodation has increased from about 25 percent to 50 percent and wages haven’t increased to allow for this change.  Housing issues are bad for the economy, bad for employees, particularly bad for low income families and a threat to political stability.  A huge chunk of this escalating problem is due to government regulations (which also applies to our transport problems) and changes need to happen now, if we are to reign in these issues before they do even more damage.  What is needed is a complete rethink of local and central government policies and a good starting point would be to look at what Germany and Switzerland do, particularly regarding their local government revenue models.