National Party leader Simon Bridges is defending policies unveiled earlier this week intended to cut red tape.

Under changes announced Monday, the National Party would axe plans to limit rent rises to once a year and new heating standards for rental properties.

“It’s not been landlords that have been hurt from the raft of changes in relation to residential tenancies, and these changes that will come on, it’s renters. That’s a third of New Zealanders. They are paying on average more than $50 more a week – that’s money they can’t afford.”

If elected, the National Party would also create a ministerial role dedicated to cutting red tape.

Bridges said the party wasn’t throwing the baby out with the bathwater in terms of health and safety rules but wanted a commonsense test.

Regulations on scaffolding on single-storey houses added many thousands of dollars to the cost of work, he said, and it wasn’t clear the benefit outweighed the cost.

“At the end of this people have got a choice.

“You’ve got Labour, Greens, New Zealand First who see the answer to most problems being more regulation and red tape, and I think a view that we have, we want a more free society where people can … go about their business, go about their household issues and they don’t need a tax accountant an employment lawyer a health and safety consultant and many others on speed dial.

“The intent of health and safety law is absolutely right – I think the fundamental point is in the implementation of it, in the culture in WorkSafe New Zealand, we’re saying ‘can we have a bit more common sense please’.

“We’re not saying no regulations at all. But I think simplifying, reducing, that to me is an important part of having a strong economy.”

This article was originally published on RNZ and re-published with permission.

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