National MP says Party has learnt lessons of lack of unity and leadership

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Andrew Bayly talks about Super City, Superannuation and Super mistakes

Clockwise from top: Andrew Bayly, Rashna Tata, Vasu Kunapuli, Munish Bhatt (Screen Grab)

Venkat Raman
Auckland, December 5, 2021

National MP Andrew Bayly is confident that his Party will register a surge in the forthcoming opinion polls, now that there is a new team under new leadership in place.

He said that the Party, which has been in sliding in opinion polls over the past four years will bounce back under the leadership of Christopher Luxon and Deputy Leader Nicola Wills.

Appearing at a Special Discussion session of the ‘Indians Living in Auckland Facebook Group’ on Saturday, December 4, 2021, Mr Bayly said that the members of the Caucus have not only rallied behind the new leadership but also talked to the people of New Zealand.

Community leader, former President of the Zarathustrian Association of New Zealand Association and Rotarian Rashna Tata was the Moderator of the Session, which began with an introduction by Munish Bhatt, Manager of the recently opened Mangere Office of Barfoot & Thompson. Vasu Kunapuli, a senior IT expert and consultant provided technical support for the Session.

Rental Support Package proposal gives a new lease of life to SMEs
Andrew Bayly: Resonating with New Zealanders (Photo Supplied)

“We are now resonating with New Zealanders. We are talking to them and explaining in a way that they can understand. I am sure that there will be quite a jump up (in the opinion polls) with Christopher Luxon and Nicola Willis elected unanimously as Leader and Deputy Leader of our Party. We have understood that a lack of unity and leadership have been ailing our Party. It is incumbent on us MPs to show solidarity,” he said.

Mr Bayly said that National has issued policy papers on the Economy, Covid-19 and Education and that more initiatives will be forthcoming in the near future.  

Freedom of movement imperative

Stating that the National Party has been supportive of the government’s Vaccination Programme but not the way in which it has been managing Covid-19.

“Auckland should be free from the shackles since the Vaccination rate has reached 90%. It is time to remove all restrictions and allow people to move around freely. We have heard heartbreaking stories of New Zealanders stranded in Australia, unable to return home. My office in Pukekohe regularly receives letters, emails and phone calls from hundreds of migrants stranded overseas. A majority of them are hard-working Indians. They have lost their belongings, jobs and visas. Businesses have also been suffering because of the absence of strategic staff. For instance, one of them has had his quality controller stranded in India for the past 20 months. His export business has lost substantial contracts,” Mr Bayly said.

“The MIQ system is a waste of time”- Andrew Bayly (Picture from MIQ website)

He described the MIQ system as ineffective, disruptive and a waste of time.

“We have since long advocated that fully vaccinated people from overseas should be allowed to return home and isolate at their home if necessary after a nose and other quick tests. We had also proposed an electronic surveillance system instead of confining people into MIQ facilities. The misery of the MIQ lottery should end. Providing quarantine facilities in hotels located in the country’s largest city is a major mistake,” Mr Bayly said and added that there should be a long-term view of Covid-19 and its variants such as Delta and Omicron.

“Covid is a form of Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome and we should learn to live with it but follow all the safety measures including vaccination,” he said.

Building business confidence

The National Party had proposed to work alongside the government to rebuild business confidence, especially in Auckland and Hamilton, where many companies are on the brink of collapse with no proper financial support.

He said that every New Zealander should be given a $100 voucher (once or twice) to patronise local cafes, restaurants and eateries. This would cost about $100 million, which will not only be affordable but also boost businesses.

Aucklanders enjoy their first day of Freedom (December 3, 2021) after bars and restaurants were opened (RNZ Photo by Marika Khabazi)

“We need to put money into the pockets of businesses. Companies that have been adversely affected by Covid-19 should have reduced tax rate of 17.5% for two years. Businesses that are losing should be eligible for tax rebates based on their turnover of the past four or five years.  A National government will provide a facility to write-off up to $150,000 on new plant and equipment and boost productivity. We know what is business,” Mr Bayly said.

According to him, Labour’s woes will be worse in 2022. The government has announced that it will issue Permanent Residence visas to about 165,000 people before the end of 2022. He said that Immigration New Zealand cannot process such large volumes of visa applications. Australia and Canada have been attracting people from New Zealand with job offers, family visas and other incentives.

Financial relief for property owners

Earlier this year, the government announced that interest deductibility will be disallowed on residential investments. The rationale behind this is that government does not want the same stock being bought and sold at a higher price. It wants existing houses to be left for the homeowners and not for investors.

Mr Bayly flayed the decision (which accounts for a four-stage Brightline Test in as many years, saying that most investment houses are owned by moms and dads who on average have one house.

“We do not accept that they should be penalised as if they are in possession of huge money. There is a fundamental principle in tax: you should be able to get business-related expenditure deductibility. What is likely to happen is that some people will sell and the rental market will be more constrained. We will reverse these changes,” he said.

“The government lacks transparency,” says Andrew Bayly (Jacinda Ardern and Grant Robertson- Getty Images)

Mr Bayly accused the Labour government of lack of transparency – a charge that has been upheld by the Auditor General.

“Government borrowing which was $60 billion (accounting for 20% of the GDP) before Covid, today stands at $120 billion and is expected to go up to $180 billion next year. We are borrowing $110 million every day. We have no issues over Wage Subsidy and Resurgence Payment. But there is no explanation for $12 billion spent on various projects that are not related to Covid. This money could have been spent on improving infrastructure in Auckland and Wellington,” he said.

Superannuation Amendment

Parliament passed his Private Member Bill, titled, ‘The New Zealand Superannuation and Retirement Income (Fair Residency) Amendment Bill on November 10, 2021.

The Bill, which was originally introduced by the then New Zealand First MP Mark Patterson, will increase the eligibility of migrants to superannuation after 20 years of permanent residence in New Zealand, instead of the current stipulation of ten years.

Property owners have been appealing for relief since May 2020
(RNZ Photo of Oriental Parade, Wellington by Samuel Rillstone)

Mr Bayly said that refugees and citizens coming under the realm of New Zealand (Cook Islands, Niue, Tokelau and the Ross Dependency) will be exempt from the extension.

“The Superannuation system in New Zealand has become more advantageous to the social structure with the latest amendment. The New Zealand Super is one of the highest single costs to the taxpayer. We have looked at ways of making it fairer and more affordable. We have given people a pathway to plan,” he said.

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