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That’s according to ACT leader and MP David Seymour, who was in the resort this week ahead of September’s election.
ACT’s Southland candidate Basil Walker this week ditched the party to stand as an independent in Invercargill and, as yet, there’s no replacement.
‘‘We hope to have a candidate, but ultimately you can cast your party vote from anywhere in the country and it has a strong influence.’’
Seymour’s critical of the government for what he calls over-regulation, and he’s scathing of the Overseas Investment Amendment Act 2018, which prevents foreigners without residency from buying property.
‘‘It sends a message that New Zealand is not interested in the rest of the world, and for an international-facing region like Central Otago, that’s hugely damaging.’’
He says overseas philanthropists and conservationists have been beneficial to the region.
Moreover, the Act not only curtails the rights of foreigners, but Kiwis.
‘‘I care about the property rights of New Zealanders — if you own property it’s your right to sell it to who you damn well please.’’
He also takes aim at the government’s $10 million support package for AJ Hackett Bungy, saying it’s not a solution to the problem Queenstown faces.
Seymour concedes there may be a need for a targeted wage subsidy after September 1 for industries being hit hard by border closures, but his focus is seeing the country open up again.
‘‘I don’t see why we can’t simply say ‘Tasmanians can come here’, because if they start coming here, is the Australian government seriously going to lock them up just because they came to New Zealand?’’
He also believes the government should consider opening the borders to some other places, like Taiwan.
Seymour further wants to see the private sector being allowed to offer ‘‘isolation package holidays’’, allowing those from Covid-19-hit countries to take extended holidays.
‘‘So imagine entrepreneurs saying, ‘we’re going to offer a two-week isolation in a very nice place in Central Otago and you’ve got to stay on-site and if people break the rules you’ve got to pay a serious penalty’.
‘‘You might find there are tourists that want to do that.’’