“Far too much irksome regulation is putting unnecessary burdens on households and businesses,” says Rodney Hide. Problem is, for all his rhetoric, Rodney can’t actually name any ‘irksome’ or unnecessary regulations.
Now, he is “appealling” to us to stop him looking like a puffed up idiot. He wants us to do his job for him by identifying bad regulations. One would think that he would already have a list as long as your arm. After all, he has a Bill that is meant to stop all these terrible regulations from being made. And ACT campaigned on being able to increase GDP growth by 0.25% a year by getting rid of “all nutty regulations”. To calculate that gain ACT must know which regulations it is talking about… unless it just pulled the number out of its arse.
Look, there are always improvements that can be made to regulations, just like everything else, but there is no evidence that it is a major problem that can’t be solved by incremental improvements as per normal. What is clear is that Hide is way out of his depth. Being the blow-hard in opposition is easy, governing is hard and serious work. Hide just isn’t up to it, he can barely string a coherent idea together (did you see this mess of an op/ed yesterday?); a real strategy to make improvements in such a complicated and multi-faceted area as regulation is beyond him.
On a deeper level, we see that Hide’s empty puffery on regulation is just another example of the Right appealing to the reactionary moron in us all. The Right (and, too often, the media) encourages us to engage with politics in a dumb, fact-free, cliched way: ‘all this red tape is strangling us’, ‘this PC Nanny State is wrecking my life’, ‘they waste all our tax on beaurucrats’. They fight on these dishonest cliches because they don’t have anything else.
The problem National/ACT is now discovering is that you might be able to win power with endless repetition of this rubbish but, once you’re in power, you have high expectations to meet and no substance with which to fulfil them.