Compliance costs are in the gun again, but this time the sheriff who has set out on their trail is the mean-minded Rodney Hide. We can expect to see blood, whereas they proliferated – paradoxically – whenever the previous government sent posses out to round them up.
Wearing his Minister for Regulatory Reform hat, and looking like a grimly determined John Wayne, Hide today announced a government-wide review of red tape and unnecessary bureaucracy.
The Building Act and the laws covering swimming pools and shop trading hours will be included.
Great, says Alf. He can’t get too excited about the laws covering swimming pools (he prefers to drown himself from the inside). But he knows how they are a pain in the arse for others.
Shop trading laws need bringing to heel, too, when garden centres can open on Easter Sunday but a Mitre 10 hardware shop nearby, which also sells plants, cannot. (There’s no Mitre 10 in Eketahuna, sure enough, but they’ve got one up the line at Pahiatua).
Oh, and water drinking standards are included in the review.
This government – bless ’em – recognises that absurd regulations imposed by the Clark Gang have heaped financial stress on rural communities which previously had been happy with their water supply.
Huge compliance costs have been heaped on to councils, too.
Hide will be directing the review.
He said today
a lot of the rules and regulations which affect peoples’ everyday lives and businesses are minor but are past their use-by date or just plain silly. “Others are more serious and can affect jobs, load big costs onto businesses and drive people crazy.”
He says the rules around backyard pools are far too complex and impose ridiculous costs on families.
“You shouldn’t have to jump through hoops just to put in a pool for the kids. There’s a lack of clarity in the current legislation that’s resulted in bizarre obligations such as having to build a fence around a pool which is already locked with a padlock.”
The review has only just begun, Hide said, and there will be a progressive rollout of the results through the year.
He expects extensive changes, with a number of regulations likely to disappear altogether.
“Some of the changes will impact directly on just a few people. For example, we’re looking at how we can make it easier for overseas-trained professionals to get registered here, rather than having to drive taxis for a living.
Other changes, such as reforms of the Building Act, will affect many people and the cumulative effect of removing needless rules and regulations will be substantial.
“People just want to get on with their lives unhindered by silly rules. These reforms will help them do that.”
This could well put a lot of pin-pricking enforcement officials out of jobs.
Too bad. There’s bound to be something more useful for them to do in the real economy, and if not – well, paying the buggers the dole to be unemployed and miserable is better than paying them a wage out of our taxes or rates to make us miserable with their silly rules.