Often requests to reduce regulatory costs are very general – just a moan about regulations generally. Well in response to a request from the PM, members of the NZ Initiative have put forward a very specific list of law changes which would reduce unnecessary regulatory costs.
This is their summary. There are some really good and specific examples here. I hope the Government takes this report seriously and looks to implement much of it. I don’t agree with every single recommendation, but a few good examples are:
- exempt reporting by NZ SME entities to the extent that funds are received from NZ Registered Trading Banks that are fully complying with AML legislation.
- remove Companies Act requirement that a notice in accordance with section 209(1)(b) of that Act must be sent asking if shareholders would like to receive a hard copy of the annual report
- replacing some or all of the existing purpose based exceptions for copyright with an open-ended flexible exception
- The the Electricity (Low Fixed Charge Tariff Option for Domestic Consumers) Regulations cause large low-income households to subsidise wealthier low-user households. The Regulations most strongly benefit those consumers who are not necessarily the households most in need of assistance – instead, they are dual fuel customers, apartment dwellers, and houses with fewer than two people. Replace with a general welfare payment targeted specifically at energy vulnerability and/ or making greater funding available for insulation and efficient heating.
- The Holidays Act means a person that takes a full 52 weeks extended parental leave earns a full year’s annual leave and also a full year’s entitlement to sick/domestic leave, while not working.
- KiwiSaver only allows 3%, 4%, or 8% employee contribution rates. Should allow 5%, 6% or 7%, 9% and 10%.
- Government should remove the ability for councils to control hazardous substances and new organisms (GMOs) from the RMA as this should be done at the national level
- The desired outcome is a hybrid model (with legislated automatic rights of installation for low impact activities and a “deemed consent” regime for high impact activities), which facilitates fibre connections, whilst still ensuring that property rights are respected.
There’s also some very good tax simplification proposals from Deloitte.
How the Government responds to these will be a good test of whether they have third termitis. It will be easy to find reasons not to act. But a good Government should be prepared to tackle some of these areas.