‘Yes Minister’ alive and well
Tractors and utes took to the highways and byways around Mahurangi last month, joining thousands of farmers across NZ protesting against growing interference by Government in their farming operations. The protest was a show of unity from the rural sector fed up with what it says are “unworkable regulations and unjustified costs”.
But is this really just a rural sector problem? Ask any business owner today and they will tell you of the suffocating rules and regulations in their sector. Whether it’s construction or childcare, compliance costs are killing enterprise and innovation, affecting profitability and costing jobs.
It’s affecting life across the board – think of the number of events this region once hosted. Our local calendar used to be full of fairs and galas, festivals and fundraisers, but these were disappearing long before Covid arrived.
Volunteers are sick of all the paperwork involved in meeting often ridiculous and unworkable health and safety and traffic management rules. “It’s just too hard” is a common lament.
This growing sense of being over-governed by both central government and local government isn’t something new. In 2017, Dr Muriel Newman from the NZ Centre for Political Research wrote: “Under the guise of health and safety, environmental protection, equity, and other social justice objectives, government bureaucrats are relentlessly imposing their politically correct restrictions onto businesses. These rules and regulations, which are forcing up the prices of goods and services – as the resulting compliance costs are passed onto consumers – are being justified through claims that business owners cannot be trusted to do the right thing. The problem is that many of the new rules are completely ridiculous and out of all proportion to the risk.”
People are tired of politicians on both sides of the political divide promising at every election to address out of control bureaucracy and yet, things are getting worse, not better. The farmers led the charge last month, but their dissatisfaction is felt well beyond the farm gate.
Also read Chris Penk’s column