Hostile policies hurt but the festive spirit lingers

ACT party leader David Seymour addresses the Sikh community (Screenshot)

David Seymour
Wellington, April 13, 2022

Vaisakhi (Baisakhi) harvest festival is celebrated annually by Kiwis of Indian descent to celebrate the harvesting of seasonal crops by farmers.

For the Sikh community, Vaisakhi holds special significance as the founding day of Sikhism.

The Solar New Year is under various names ‘Naba Barsha’ for the state of West Bengal, ‘Rongali Bihu’ for Assam, ‘Puthandu’ for Tamil Nadu, ‘Vaishakha’ for Bihar and ‘Pooram Vishu’ for Kerala.

For Hindu New Zealanders, this day is also celebrated as the founding day of Arya Samaj in 1875 and a holy day for Buddhists as they believe that Gautama Buddha, the founder of Buddhism attained enlightenment or Nirvana this that day.

Native Indian kiwis celebrate this special day just as other New Zealanders celebrate Thanksgiving to the gods who facilitated a bountiful harvest.

I look forward to visiting temples and gurdwaras in time to come to celebrate such special occasions as life returns to normal in New Zealand.

As we celebrate this harvest day with Kiwis of Indian descent, I draw your attention to rampant inflation in New Zealand.

Skyrocketing cost of living

According to Statistics NZ, the country has recorded its highest annual increase in food prices in the past decade. Our food prices have increased by 7.6% over the past year, fruits and vegetables have exploded by 18% and meat, poultry and fish have increased by 8.7%.

For a surplus nation that produces enough food for eight times our population, this is unacceptable. Even if we have to take Jacinda Ardern’s explanation of supply chain issues at face value, it should make food in New Zealand cheaper because we can’t export it. Fish and berries that cannot be airlifted to Singapore end up in the local market.

Guru Nanak Dev, the first leader of the Sikhs and founder of Sikhism

The Labor Party’s argument that inflation is not caused by their irresponsible spending has been proven wrong.

In reality, it is this government’s war on corporations and the relentless borrowing and spending that has fueled domestic inflation that has crept into our most productive sector.

Grant (Robertson) and Jacinda are so focused on PR around the cost of living and blaming world events like the war in Ukraine that every day New Zealanders struggling to make ends meet are forgotten.

They deserve straight talk and common sense solutions rather than a dishonest trick designed to distract from the mess they have created.

Economics 101 shows that when costs rise, they will be passed on to the consumer, and Kiwis are feeling it at the grocery store, at the gas pump, at the rising cost of rent and mortgages, and even in retail stores.

Sikhs rejoice on Vaisakhi Day amid their harvest (Photo by Pallav Paliwal)

Strong measures needed

It’s time to stop wasteful spending that pumps money into the economy without producing goods and services to buy. Too much money for too few goods means inflation.

As Kiwis of Indian descent celebrate the harvest season, I encourage us to look forward to the changes necessary for us to move forward as a society and as an economy. To achieve this, we must reduce taxes, bureaucracy and waste, and maximize opportunities for people to get ahead.

The ACT would reduce the income tax rate from 30% to 17.5%. We will lower barriers to employment and make it easier for small businesses to hire. Our regulatory reforms would ease the burden on farmers. Our infrastructure and housing reform plan would revive New Zealand.

Many Indian-origin Kiwis are small business owners, and I know many of them are currently suffering from the effects of Covid and the many regulations that have been imposed on them.

It is essential that we reduce the red tape and costs that currently stifle these businesses and give them the opportunity to thrive, this will create a healthy economy for New Zealand.

I look forward to engaging with you to celebrate the festivals and discuss our public policy responses to the real issues facing New Zealanders.

David Seymour is the leader of the ACT party and elected MP for Epsom in Auckland.

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