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Red tape bonfire of the vanities

Written By: - Date published: 2:19 pm, March 9th, 2020 - 19 comments
Categories: disaster, law, law and "order", national, same old national, uncategorized - Tags:

This post borrows heavily from my earlier post that I wrote last October.  But just as National has recycled its policy I though I would recycle my post.

What is something that Donald Trump, Boris Johnson, Scott Morrison and Simon Bridges all have in common?  They all have pyrotechnic obsessions with regulations, including the leaky home avoiding sort.

It is something that Trump campaigned on:

One of Trump’s campaign pledges was to cut 75pc of regulation in bonfire of red tape to help small businesses. This first step of this was his executive order, which mandated that for every new rule brought in by a government agency, two must be cut. The cost of any additional regulation must be completely offset by by undoing these existing rules.

The British conservatives have been engaged in a similar rhetorical battle.  From the New Statesman:

The Daily Telegraph has launched a campaign to cut EU red tape. Its editorial they decried the “vexatious regulations” that “hinder business and depress growth”, demanding that we ‘throw regulations on the Brexit bonfire’.

Such demands are not new. Beyond immigration, regulation in general and employment protection in particular has long been one of the key drivers of frustration and fury among eurosceptics. Three years ago, Boris Johnson, decried the “back breaking” weight of EU employment regulation that is helping to “fur the arteries to the point of sclerosis”. While the prospect of slashing employment rights was played down during the campaign, it has started to raise its head again. Michael Gove and John Whittingdale have called on the CBI to draw up a list of regulations that should be abolished after leaving the EU. Ian Duncan Smith has backed the Daily Telegraph’s campaign, calling for a ‘root and branch review’ of the costs of regulatory burdens.

And Australia is also getting in on the rhetoric although Scomo does not know whether to use fire or digestive metaphors.  From the Newcastle Herald:

So what is a poor conservative party in Aotearoa to do?  What else but do the same thing?

Trouble is though they tried this in the past and decided that there were not many loopy regulations after all.

And they may want to dig into the cause of current regulations before taking it too far.

National justifies the attack on regulations by referring to two unusual examples.  From the Press Release:

At their worst, poor regulations have the potential to stop important things from happening. This could be the construction of new renewable power generation or a new business starting up. For my colleagues in Auckland, regulations can hinder the building of much-needed homes in our biggest city. Insufficient or sloppy regulations can put us at risk, as we’ve seen here in New Zealand and overseas with the Grenfell Tower fire in London. Inadequate regulations need to be reviewed, and where necessary, fixed.

Regulations hindering the building of much needed homes should be referred to by their alternative description, regulations designed to prevent homes from leaking.  And the cause of the Grenfell Towers fire was a failure to comply with existing regulations rather than badly designed regulations.  I could not imagine a worse example to cite for the proposition that we need less rules.

But this is definitely business as usual for conservative parties. Hopefully the media will recognise what is happening.

19 comments on “Red tape bonfire of the vanities ”

  1. AB 1

    "Hopefully the media will recognise what is happening."

    Heh, nice one.

  2. Dean Reynolds 2

    Bridges is a fool. His Party may have conveniently forgotten the Leaky Building fiasco, (costing $47 B & rising ) & the Pike River tragedy, but the rest of us haven't

    • tc 2.1

      they've not forgotten at all they're doubling down for a good old rodeo with their mates if elected knowing their MSM mates will conveniently forget the damage they caused under Shipley/Bolger then Key/Blinglish.

  3. Sacha 3

    Grenfell certainly was a bonfire – of poor folk.

  4. Incognito 4

    Just as well the drought hasn’t hit Wellington and there’s no fire ban (AFAIK) because Simon could get arrested for all those bonfires he’s going to light.

  5. Wensleydale 5

    "All those people burned to death in the Grenfell Tower… because of too many regulations!"

    God, he's a muppet. Just when you think he can't possibly say something more asinine or inappropriate… he does. National's two-pronged plan of attack this election seems to be two hoary old cliches — "Tax bribe! Get your free money here! Vote National for a lolly scramble of epic proportions!" and "Too much red tape! Nanny State! You can trust businesses to behave ethically even if you take away all of the rules that compel them to do exactly that for fear of prosecution!"

    I don't know if he's trying too hard or just not trying at all anymore.

  6. Tiger Mountain 6

    Nashnull are increasingly relying on the voter “memory hole” for their cut’n paste policies.

    Deregulation has wreaked havoc for decades in building and construction, not to mention workplace safety. I note that some of 2020’s earliest fatalities–rural quad bike crashes–were from the farming sector that the Nats always push for having the lightest regulation.

    Mr Bridges really is a wanker for the ages.

  7. Sacha 7

    During the post-cabinet media conference a few minutes ago the PM was asked briefly about Nat proposals to scrap healthy homes standards. Surely not a helpful move during a health event was her immediate and low-key response. Next question.

  8. Robert Guyton 8

    "and rules governing music teachers."


  9. Cinny 9

    national are more interested in money than empathy, so if we put it into a financial perspective then….

    Scrapping the healthy homes policy will lead to sick people.

    Sick employees result in a loss of productivity, which has financial implications for any business.

    Sick people add extra costs to our health care system.

    You'd have to be a special kind of stupid to want that.

    And simon really is a special kind of stupid for wanting to repeal a range of rules that he made in the first place. Opps, media are calling him out on it, good, so they should.

  10. halfcrown 10

    Be careful No bridges Bridges you may get your fingers burnt when lighting the bonfire.

    Prat face

  11. Did anyone hear natrad this morning about how Worksafe Does not investigate Work site dangers, illnesses, injuries.

    How can we be over regulated when the regulators do not regulate?

    Apparently nat party business donators are suffering while employees are suffering ill health and dying because of lax regulation.

    Bridges is a genius!

  12. Lettuce 12

    Maybe we could chip in and buy Bridges a copy of this:


    I'd lend him my copy if I thought I'd get it back. In my opinion it's the bible of "rule burning" and careless, uncontrolled deregulation in New Zealand.

    • Brigid 12.1

      Boric treatment was never meant to prevent rot. It was used to prevent borer infestation.

      The rot in these houses occurred because they were poorly designed and constructed. Even if timber framing is treated against rot, that does not solve the problem of moisture ingress.

      It's a shame Dyer has repeated this fallacy in what otherwise is a damned good report on the leaky building fiasco.

      • KJT 12.1.1

        Boric treatment may have been originally Intended to treat bora. But after pulling apart more than a few wooden framed houses, while renovating them, I can tell you it is rather good at slowing down rot in damp timber. Unlike the untreated framing from the deregulation period, which turned to mush in short order.

        The problem was poor design, where designers and cladding manufacturers failed to specify both ways to minimise water getting in, combined with no way of it getting out, and unsuitable materials, such as untreated radiata, expanded polystyrene cladding and the like.
        The privatisation of building inspection and lack of oversight encouraged a lot of “cowboys”, especially developers,employing the cheapest labour possible. Mostly not, builders.

        There seems to be a thing about blaming builders, but apart from us suspicious old buggers, who still flashed and scribed everything, and got told off by the designers who reckoned bog was sufficient, most builders were simply following the specs they were given.

        Old NZ weatherboard houses always show signs of heaps of water getting in, but the lack of insulation and all the gaps, meant it dried again in short order. Even if the, mostly, rimu framing was only held together by the borer holding hands, it still had lots of strength, left.

        And. The idea that framing would never get moisture in it, may have worked in Nevada, not New Zealand.

        Leaky homes was a prime example of why big firms in particular, must be regulated.

        • KJT

          Christchurch, will become apparent as another National party "success" when the shoddy work by all the cheap unskilled labour they bought in, comes home to roost.

  13. Leapy 13

    The problem is that Bridges approach works with an unthinking slice of the populous. Rules who needs them – she'll be right is the way many people think.

    The fact that Bridges could well be doing harm by cutting red tape does not occur to many people.

    Annoying but true.

  14. Business people who are only interested in profit and nothing else fund nats big time. simon will promise whatever they want. The rest of us do not matter. Only becoming a Chinese vassal state is important to the national party, and their plutocratic business mates.-

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