100 days and the first broken promise

By   /   February 6, 2018  /   55 Comments

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In their first 100 days Labour has offered us “not-National” policies but little else – unless a Woman’s Weekly Prime Minister is considered in the common good.

I’d like to be able to offer well-deserved praise to the Labour-led government but their policy offerings from their first 100 days have been uninspiring.

I’m pleased to acknowledge the positive steps underway such as the Pike River re-entry, stopping the sale of 2,500 state houses in Christchurch, the investigation into abuse of children in state institutions and the mental health inquiry.

In each case the issues involved are central to the public interest and the new government is acting quickly and firmly to mop up the previous government’s failures.

In each case the public support was already assured for each announcement so there was no chance of serious kickback from National or its vested interests.

On the other hand, three crucial decisions of the new government will have a wider impact on the country and in each case Labour has failed the public interest in favour of vested corporate interests.

TPP:

Having done their best, before the election, to pretend they were opposed to the TPP and the secrecy around its negotiation, the new government has simply helped repackage the agreement with a few cosmetic changes to make it seem more palatable. It isn’t. It’s the same old bill of rights for foreign corporations to plunder our economy that its always been.

Child Poverty:

It was gobsmacking to hear the government’s target is to halve child poverty in 10 years. This is surely the lamest target of any Labour government on any issue in its history. But it’s also a meaningless target as Labour will have to win three more elections in a row to be able to meet it in any case.

This is the Prime Ministers signature policy. She tells us this is the reason she is in parliament. Pathetic.

Even the beneficiary-bashing Paula Bennett had reason to criticise.

“The Prime Minister committed her Government to reducing the number of children in material hardship over the next ten years by 70,000. Yet, over the last five years of the National government, the number of children in material hardship fell by 85,000.

“So this Government is promising to do less over a longer period of time than National did – in spite of its bold claims it would do better.

Housing New Zealand:

The new government’s decision not to turn Housing New Zealand back into a government department is their first broken promise.

Labour’s Phil Twyford told public meetings up and down the country for over a year that HNZ would change from a profit-driven, state-owned corporation into a government department focused on providing housing services to the most vulnerable New Zealanders. It was a bold policy – the one Labour housing policy which had the potential to be transformative for low-income families struggling with a thuggish corporate landlord.

Twyford tells us HNZ has changed its ways and is now working hard to help tenants. Oh please! HNZ staff on the ground have usually done their best for tenants but they have been forced to work under corporation policies where tenants were treated as the lazy bludgers National Party ministers told the country they were.

Low-income families saw this promised change to HNZ as the only bright spot in Labour’s housing policy in light of Twyford’s hopelessly inadequate promise to build a measly 1000 additional state houses each year when 41,000 New Zealanders have extreme housing need.

Again National had reason to criticise.

National’s housing spokesman Michael Woodhouse said this was “yet another backtrack from Labour.”

“It’s become more and more obvious that Labour’s house building plan involves doing exactly what the National Government was doing.”

In their first 100 days Labour has offered us “not-National” policies but little else – unless a Woman’s Weekly Prime Minister is considered in the common good.

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55 Comments

  1. Denny Paoa says:

    Hear, here John! Like the Labour Government’s of the recent past, they continue their neoliberal ‘incrementalism’. Lie to & mislead people and basically, carry on where the last government left off with very little change in the compass heading at the helm.

  2. bert says:

    Sorry John, I stopped reading your article with the name calling of our Prime Minister. Anything after that lacks credibility.

    • Louis says:

      Completely agree with you Bert. Infantile abuse like that is unbecoming of a grown up. It shows John Minto up. Expected better and was disappointed.

      • Blake says:

        Sorry guys you are wrong and John is right.
        If she is even considering this TPPA revision, she is not worthy of praise and it shows her govts. closeness with the multi-national corporations. John is pointing out the truths and if the truths hurt delicate egos, than so be it.

        Thank you John for another well thought out piece from an open-minded and intelligent perspective.

        • Louis says:

          It was his unnecessary infantile name calling that Bert and myself are calling out, Blake and John. Bert’s right, when someone starts doing that, they lose credibility. It’s off putting. If we people are going to have a go, then be grown up about it.

          • Maama says:

            Sorry Bert & Louis, we have plenty of MSM to gloss over issues. John ‘s observations show “If the cap fits, wear it”.
            I worry – What’s next – A Woman’s Weekly funded wedding promo.
            We the Labour supporters have to ensure that we keep these politicians on their toes with all issues – especially those in the too hard basket.

            • Louis says:

              There are more things to worry about than that MAAMA, that’s pointless and a waste of time. I’m always skeptical when people start calling themselves “we Labour supporters” often times they are not.

          • Maama says:

            Sorry Bert & Louis, we have plenty of MSM to gloss over issues. John ‘s observations show “If the cap fits, wear it”.
            I worry – What’s next – A Woman’s Weekly funded wedding promo.
            We the Labour supporters have to ensure that we keep these politicians on their toes with all issues – especially those in the too hard basket.

            • Louis says:

              So far, this Labour led coalition government hasn’t put anything in the too hard basket.

              • Maama says:

                How about the tppa-11 signing next month? I thought there was going to be consultation.
                I think that is tipping over the Too Hard Basket right now.

                • Louis says:

                  They still didn’t put it in the too hard basket though, they always said they would renegotiate it and they tried. As PM Jacinsa Ardern pointed out, there have been so many bumps in the road regarding the tppa, there is no guarantee that it will be signed next month. It’s up for another review in a few years time and that’s when they hope to get rid of the isds clause altogether.

      • John W says:

        Wot!

        Which is of most importance , what the Govt is doing or not doing or john M laying out what he observers.

    • Marc says:

      What ‘name calling’?

      • richarquis says:

        Not so good at reading, are you?

        • mjh says:

          I agree — what name calling? Jacinda IS being featured in the NZ Woman’s Weekly. I don’t think it is an insult to her for John Minto to note that, what he is saying is that it is on its own just show, not substance, and he wants substance (as do I!) Or is there some other text or subtext here that I’m missing?

          • Michal says:

            I agree, this is the same to me as that jock Key going on the munchy radio shows whilst refusing at times to go on the serious RNZ interviews, along with some of his ministers may I say.

            I think it is all rather revolting going on the cover of that gossip thing that comes out weekly.

  3. Marc says:

    “Labour’s Phil Twyford told public meetings up and down the country for over a year that HNZ would change from a profit-driven, state-owned corporation into a government department focused on providing housing services to the most vulnerable New Zealanders. It was a bold policy – the one Labour housing policy which had the potential to be transformative for low-income families struggling with a thuggish corporate landlord.”

    Yes, indeed, empty and hollow words, only to get votes of the people that Labour desperately needed to vote for them!

    Wait for more flip flops by Twyford, the man is a try hypocrite, and he will prove it soon.

    He is going to betray voters and those needy of affordable homes with the Kiwi Build BS Policy that he will announce in a month or two.

    It will be looking somewhat different to what he and others in Labour trumpeted about before. It will be PPPs and also much left to the private market, to deliver some more homes, but it will NEVER reach the target they set themselves in the election campaign, another ten thousand on top of what would usually be built.

    And ‘affordable’ will get a totally new meaning, you can expect one bedroom flats to be around 450 thousand plus, and two bedroom units above that, and then forget even three or four bedroom homes, which will not be ‘houses’ anyway, in most cases that is. I always heard Twyford and others talk about ‘houses’, but they mislead people, they will be squeezed into blocks of apartments and other kinds of units, the lucky ones may get access to town houses.

    And the social housing sector will wait and wait, and only little will improve. He was in bed with Oliver Hartwich of the NZ Initiative, promoting intensification, less rules and abolishing the metropolitan urban boundary or whatever the Auckland Unitary Plan brought in.

    He is therefore pro developer, pro housing investor and pro business, the state will not get as much involved as some of us may have hoped.

    So for now he goes on about soft issues, whether HNZ tenants should be allowed to keep a dog, or have a bit of a garden, and so. Wow, what improvement.

    ‘Women’s Weekly PM’, I like that description also, for Jacinda Dear, the Mother of the Nation.

    John Minto is always refreshing with his posts here, thanks for the needed balance.

  4. Louis says:

    Compare this Labour led coalition government’s first 100 days to that of National, people would soon change their negative tune. Labour always said they would renegotiate the tpp and given what little time they had, they did try. It will be up for another review in afew years time at which point the isds clause are hoped to be removed altogether, so its far from done and dusted. They were told that if they had of negotiated it a year before they could have had the isds clause removed, so why didn’t national do it?

    The directive from the new government is that all future trade deals will no longer have isds clauses in them.

    • Blake says:

      There is far FAR ! ! more wrong with this revised TPPA deal than just the clause you speak of.
      It is still dominated by the motto —————–

      MOSTLY BY AND FOR THE CORRUPT GREEDY CORPORATIONS AND NOT BY AND FOR THE PEOPLE AND THE ENVIRONMENT.

      • Louis says:

        I know and of course there is still a lot wrong with it, like I said its far from done and dusted.

  5. Miles says:

    Right on the money, John.
    The PM is more interested in being a glamourpuss than anything else.
    No substance, loads of conversations, endless committees, but no action.
    She is a weak PM, and so she hides behind her glam image.
    And she did not get voted in.

    • Sam Sam says:

      Let me ask you what would you have us do?

    • Louis says:

      Disagree with you Miles. and you still dont understand MMP?

      • Marc says:

        Do you understand MMP and its repercussions, once voters feel betrayed, e.g. NZ First voters, who did not vote for this government’s position on the TPPA or its renamed version, it now has accepted?

        That is why NZ First are polling below four percent now. Labour may also suffer due to the deals done with Winston, history will tell us, the future of history that is.

        • Louis says:

          Yeah I do understand how MMP works. What betrayal? Polls had over 77% if NZ First voters wanting Labour. 1 opinion poll years out from a general election means absolutely nothing. As far as the cptpp goes, its far from done and dusted, people have a better shot at persuading the new government than the deaf ears of national.

  6. Sumsuch says:

    Entirely agree with you John re reduction of poverty. Angry about it. ‘Wait’ is what the rich should do for a change under a social-democratic govt.

    Sam ‘what would you have us do’. Forcefully support the powerless.

  7. Draco T Bastard says:

    Yet, over the last five years of the National government, the number of children in material hardship fell by 85,000.

    Did you bother to check the accuracy of that?

    I mean Paula Bennett is on record as laughing at the idea of measuring poverty and I’m sure that the number of people living in cars has gone up by about 40,000.

    “It’s become more and more obvious that Labour’s house building plan involves doing exactly what the National Government was doing.”

    Last time I looked National wasn’t actually building any – just selling them off.

    So, again, did you actually do any fact checking?

    • I'm right says:

      Give us your numbers then Draco, you always demand links and proof when you pontificate someone is telling lies!! have you been sent across the road to here from The Standard’s ‘Jacinda love fest’ posts and are alarm bells ringing and the peasants revolting that a left blog hasn’t got the ‘nothing bad must be said about Jacinda Ardern’ memo! 🙂

    • Louis says:

      Obviously not Draco, I dont know what John is trying to achieve by these falsehoods. Very disappointing.

    • Marc says:

      Draco, let us wait and see, what Twyford et al will offer, he is under pressure now, the state will not be able to deliver what they went on about, without private enterprise, being builders and developers, and so it will be a dirty deal done, wait and see, do not judge on a past that has no record on what will come soon.

      • Michal says:

        Why would we wait. He said prior to becoming part of the government that he would shift HNZ to come under the government as a government department. He is now saying he is not going to….

    • Alan Matt says:

      Lots of very nice and big two story new state house built in Avondale last several years. Including one whole block.

  8. Mike the Lefty says:

    A dose of pragmatism and reality is needed here.
    We all knew deep down that when NZ First and Labour formed a coalition neither would be able to do everything they wanted.
    But at least they have got some things done!
    And that is much better than the spineless do-nothings they replaced.

  9. Jax Taylor says:

    Yes John and sadly if signed, the TPP with a C and P will be the coalition ring of Mordor to usurp any good they do try and get through.
    So disappointed in that deceit and spun b/s.
    Do they really believe we are collectively that easy to flannel?

  10. Sonja says:

    Ardern was chosen by WP, not the voters. First time in our history, even under MMP. I will never agree that is right, nor that it is democratic.
    National must be wishing they had done more about getting MMP replaced/reformed when they had the chance. Of course, Labour voters love it, got them through the back door.

    • Marc says:

      Seems almost she was chosen by ‘Facebook’, at least at times. Democracy as we used to know it does not exist anymore, manipulation and mass influencing is all that counts now, like the advertising industry, they make people behave and think the way they should. Political parties have adopted the commercial advertising approach, and social media is just another extension of it, it is corrupt and bad, but it helped Trump in, same as others, it will help others in.

      Realities no longer matter, it is more than ever appearance and feeling, nothing else, BS galore.

    • Louis says:

      Load of nonsense. This would have to be considered the most true MMP election. National ran a lying dirty politics FPP campaign to break MMP and tried to knock out the middle man in the process. They deserve to be where they are, in opposition. National, when in government, had their chance to reform MMP but refused point blank to adopt any of the recommendations, like getting rid of coat tailing and lowing the threshold.

  11. […] poverty-reduction; her government’s mediocre performance (read John Minto’s excellent summary, here,)  presents a stark contrast to its soaring and benevolent […]

  12. Andrewo says:

    Before you backslap over Pike River, rest assured there will be no re-entry.

    Little will preside over an expensive three year BS exercise.

    He got the poisoned chalice – the job that nobody wanted. Because despite all the emotional pre-election rhetoric, they all know it’s not really a happening thing. He will have already been advised of that fact by his ministerial advisors.

  13. Michelle says:

    Gee they have been in power how long and people are already stringing them up.(labour)
    The most logic thing to do is review everything, why ?because we had a bunch of bullshit artist running our country spending our tax dollars on flags, farms and consultants Now we see some of their handy work they have approved 200 Chinese workers to come here wow! is this right I don’t think so something needs to done about this. Who is going to uphold our employment laws, building standards and where are they going to live. I predicted this as this is now happening who caused this mess ?

    • Michal says:

      I absolutely agree with you Michelle. Are we going to have a fulltime Kiwi person overseeing the health and safety of chinese workers here, are we going to ensure these people get at least the minimum wage.

      I think it is outrageous to say there is a shortage of labourers – as was said on the raido this morning.

      • Andrea says:

        200 Chinese workers.

        Are they tradespeople? Which trades?

        Why are our tradies like our shearers – heading across the Ditch and off to Dubai for work? Work flow and better pay.

        Why don’t we have well-trained people coming out of apprenticeships to pick up the work?

        Who left it to employers who can barely sustain a cashflow, and are often subbies waiting a long time for pay, to provide well-rounded apprenticeships plus vital training in standards and ethics?

        Where’s the Coalition promise to start producing top quality home-grown tradies instead of luring workers from overseas?

        With Christchurch still floundering in hopeless homes; Auckland unable to get even decent foundations poured; Wellington with a loo-roll length list of earthquake strengthening to be done – building the workforce and creating reliability of both work and payment would be a massive step forward.

        I wonder if they know that? I wonder if they can do it?

  14. Anker says:

    Glad you raised these points John.

    I do think jacinda is an inspirational leader and her principles are sound.

    I want to see what they achieve first though before I judge them. I think areas like housing and mental health are enormous issues and there is not going to be a quick fix to them. They are complex problems without straight forward solutions

  15. Cassie says:

    Anker you come across as very young. (“inspirational” ?.. “sound principles”?)

    NOT, to criticise you personally, but you’ve grown up in a world that is awash with “marketing spin,” and betrayed by an education system that has been so dumbed down as to eliminate critical thinking ability altogether.

    **************

    There is a HUGE difference between something/Someone that is promoted by “marketing spin” & “image” (=superficial. Faux)
    – and something that is about TRUTH & Commonsense, has REAL substance

    *********

    For many many years now, NZ has had FAUX governments.

    LOOK at promotional pic of Adhern above. This is example of Marketing Spin, using a a SERIOUS concern of the public, and turning it into an ADVERTISEMENT.

    And, it LOOKS just like one.
    Cheap & like its aimed at the intellectual level of teenagers.

    Just ONE CLUE, to make you think….(if you’re able)

    *********

    Ask yourself:

    SHOULD a TRUE GOVERNMENT OF THE PEOPLE, be using cheap advertising spin, to promote themselves?

    *********

    Another question. WHERE the hell did Jacinta spring from…..to SUDDENLY BE
    in POSITION FOR “LEADING NEW ZEALAND” ???

    DO New Zealanders know her already from her
    1)LONG YEARS record of serving the public, the underdog,
    2)WISDOM gained through MANY YEARS & Life Experience ie Mature enough age.
    3) Proven record of Ethics/Principles.

    ******
    HOW the HELL did we get last NZ PM .J.K…(Also pushed frontwards from “nowhere”)

    He didn’t fit ANY of above Necessary/ Required STANDARDS.
    In fact FAILED on EVERY Level. Lied ..and people hardly batted an eyelid.But he was apparently good at chatting at BBQs

    HOW COME He got elected as “NZ Prime Minister?”
    Is THIS how far NZers have SUNK????
    They accept NO standards anymore?

    ***********
    CAN’T ANYBODY SEE “Something VERY amiss here???

    ************

    If you can’t, then YOU DESERVE WHAT’S COMING.
    And, it’s FAR from GOOD.