One year of the new Government: The faded hope of a hollow promise – grading Labour, NZ First & Greens

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It’s been a year of the new Government. How have Labour, NZ First and the Greens fared? What have they achieved? Have they managed to live up to the excitement of the win or have they become tripped up by their own inexperience and short comings?

 

Labour: B-

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There have been some wins, let’s be clear about that…

Legislation to give effect to the Families Package – passed on 14 December

Extension of Paid Parental Leave – legislation passed 29 November

Healthy Homes Guarantee Bill setting minimum standards for rentals – legislation passed 29 November

Ban on overseas speculators buying existing houses – legislation introduced December 14

Fees free for post-secondary school education or training for first year from 2018 – announced 5 December

Issue directive to Housing New Zealand stopping the sell-off of state houses – issued on December 20

Student allowances and living cost loans to increase by $50 from 1 January 2018 – announced 21 November

Begin work to establish the Affordable Housing Authority and KiwiBuild programme – underway

Tax Working Group – Terms of Reference announced and Chairman appointed 23 November

Restart contributions to the Super Fund – First payment made on December 15

Pike River Recovery Agency – agency opened on January 31

Legislation to provide greater fairness in workplace – Employment Relations Act amendment announced January 25

Minimum wage to rise to $16.50 to take effect from April 2018 – announced on December 22

Introduce legislation to set a child poverty reduction target and to change the Public Finance Act so the Budget reports progress on reducing child poverty – Child Poverty Reduction Bill introduced 31 January. Government targets announced 31 January.

Legislation to make medicinal cannabis available for people with terminal illnesses or in chronic pain – Misuse of Drugs (Medicinal Cannabis) Amendment Bill passed first reading 30 December

Set up an inquiry into the abuse of children in state care – announced 1 February

Set up a Ministerial Inquiry in order to fix our mental health crisis – TOR and members announced January 23

Set zero carbon emissions goal and begin setting up independent Climate Commission – Interim Climate Change Committee announced 18 December.

…but at some point the pain of those on the bottom must shame this Party into actually doing something, not just pretty words and symbolism. Labour have lost two Ministers, but still enjoy the hope and confidence of most people in NZ according to the latest Poll.

Jacinda continues to be their strongest performer with Grant Robertson, Andrew Little, David Parker, Willie Jackson, Kiritapu Allan, Deborah Russell, Marja Lubeck, Tamiti Coffey, Damien O’Connor, Greg O’Connor and Michael Wood being star performers to date.

Lot’s of talking, very little walking at this stage. Cave Creek has been a point of pride, the budget surplus is a mixed blessing but beyond the symbolism the poverty and inequality that people voted against is still very much ongoing in its grind with only the barest of sympathy from the neoliberal welfare agencies.

The Mana in Mahi work program holds some hope and the inquires called to date give room for hope, but Suicide rates are soaring, homelessness continues, mass immigration grinds infrastructure, housing is not progressing, corrections are double bunked rape pens, TPPA has been given a flash new name and the neoliberal Ministries still run the agenda.

I’m sick of saying, ‘great start but more needs to be done’. The ‘done’ is demanding action now.

 

NZ First: B+

According to the mainstream media pundits, Western Civilisation as we knew it was coming to an end when Winston became acting PM. It didn’t of course and he was an excellent pair of hands. Shane Jones has threatened Grant Robertson about needing his $Billion regional fund and won, and they’ve done enough to keep their voters happy. The weird thing about the NZ values was just laughable. Tracey Martin continues to be the hardest working MP in NZ and has an enormous amount of Mana. The NZDF will have met their match in Ron Mark.

If Jones can get the forestry side working from planting, to cutting to working the wood here to building with it, he will be one of the greatest economic architects NZ has ever produced.

 

Greens: C-

After the meltdown of the 2017 election, there have been some wins, of that there can be no doubt, while Chloe, Jan Logie and Julie Anne Genter continue to be their best performers…

Secured $14 billion funding package for walkway infrastructure, cycle-ways, buses and light rail

Real progress on taking climate action – with more than 15,000 submissions on the Zero Carbon Bill

A Green Investment Fund: $125 million dollars in Budget 2018 to set it up

Secured a win to wind-down Government subsidies of large-scale irrigation schemes

A big increase of $15 million into the Sustainable Farming Fund

A commitment that the review of the Overseas Investment Act will look at putting the protection of water at the heart of decision-making

Negotiated the largest funding increase for DoC in 16 years

Phasing out single use plastic bags

Funding for the world’s first Predator Free Capital

A world first to provide workplace leave for the victims of domestic violence

Over $10 million dollars to pilot a programme to ensure young people have access to timely, quality, mental health services

Warmer Kiwi Homes initiative funding two-thirds of the cost of insulating the homes of people on low incomes across Aotearoa

Committing to end the gender pay gap and representing women properly in the public sector and on public boards

Making headway on country-of-origin food labelling to re-include bacon

Leading the way on more open and transparent government – we’re pro-actively releasing our Ministerial diaries so people can see who we’re meeting and why we’re meeting them

Leading the way on a more accessible government – we’re on the verge of securing accessibility support for people with disabilities to be able to participate more easily in our democracy

Shaping the terms of reference for future trade agreements, so that they actually support and enhance our social and environmental goals, not undermine them.

New Zealand Treasury and Statistics NZ are working to set up a comprehensive framework for measuring – not just economic success – but social, and environmental, and cultural wellbeing too. So, in next years budget the Minister of Finance will be required to report on our wellbeing, not just our economic through-put.

…but unfortunately it’s the fuck ups that gain media attention. Marama reclaiming the word cunt with no clear media plan, Minister Sage’s total confusion over what her powers were when she rolled over for Chinese business interests stealing our water, the decision to give National their Parliamentary questions and their seeming surprise mining permits were being issued for National Parks adds with Marama’s latest call for white dudes to delete themselves.

The sophistry of being Carbon Neutral by 2050 is the most painful let down. Here’s why it’s meaningless…

Oh.

But by 2050 NZ might be carbon neutral.

Yay!

The Greens have become a middle class vehicle for alienating woke identity politics and my fear is they will get mauled by TOP in the 2020 election and slip beneath the 5%. I just don’t believe they have the strategic skills not to get crushed and Marama’s outbursts on Twitter seem deeply destabilising.

The Greens have gone backwards every election for the last 3 elections, tone policing on Twitter (I’m not making that up, there really is a ‘tone policing’ call out) doesn’t seem the way forward.

 

Conclusion:

There have been small victories but essentially the neoliberal bureaucracy and Ministries rule this Government, not the other way around and unless Labour, NZ First and the Greens find a way to shame the Ministries into reform, the Wellington Elites will continue to run the agenda, not the representatives of the people.

11 COMMENTS

  1. ending National’s term in office was desperately needed to get their foot off so many New Zealanders throats, the exploited working poor and alienated underclass, and even women and kids for crissakes were in the DNP (Dirty National Party) sights…

    but Labour is a social democratic party at best, and because there is virtually no one in their caucus with a glimmer of class analysis, structural neo liberal underpinnings, such as the Reserve Bank Act, and free in and out flow of capital, survive

    generation rent and generation student loan need to get involved in 2020 and help move the smug, “me me me” codgers on for good! if the coalition gets a second term they need substantial pressure put on them to go for broke in many regards, including a clean out of the top ranks of the various ministries, starting with MBIE, and retiring WINZ/MSD for good

    • Yeah…? It’s a funny thing. This Chinese thing.
      Sometime ago I went to the Chinese markets in Bangkok and in there, I was amazed. “How could such a thing be of this earth?” Is what I thought.
      Many years earlier, when I arrived in Timaru as a kid with my parents in tow after my father bought a 3000 acre high country sheep and cattle property near Fairlie I was quick to notice that the only shop in Timaru that was interesting for its uniqueness was a Chinese general store. It was so full mesmerising stuff that it spilled out onto Timaru’s otherwise lobotomised foot path along which the country trudgers, trudged. All things that twinkled and sparkled were there and it was an even greyer day later when that lovely old Chinese fellow closed shop and moved on and away leaving Timaru feeling like a cold, wet, grey day in Bluff without the oysters.
      As time went by, almost unmentionably awful things were done to my family by the denizens of Timaru’s high society. The Bank manager of the BNZ, lawyers, the cops, the wool buyer … They were a cult of Old Boys and they saw, in my father, a target and they swindled him, and me by association, out of our multi million dollar free hold property.
      My point is; It was white people. Old white men, to be precise, who plotted and schemed and did their stealth-full and dirty deeds. Not the Chinese nor any other race, breed or creed. But by greedy old white men in positions of power and privilege.
      My life is a beautiful thing. I adore my girl and my dog. Equally, but different, I might add. I have lovely and supportive friends and I have enemies who fear me, which isn’t an entirely bad thing so long as I don’t go overboard. I especially love that I’ve been blessed by an awareness of wee beasties. All fleas and Mites have a place in my life. Even bacteria do wondrous and beneficial things to my guts and for that I give thanks as others less fortunate must prise their dead shit out with a crowbar.
      I’ve been done wrong by people who took advantage of our natural ignorance. A naivety, is probably a more polite way of putting it. I watched my mother breath her last breath in a house I bought for her yet she never lived in. Something I’ll have words with her about when next we meet in some parallel Universe. I held my fathers hand as he lay dying in a bland hospice staring at a half Spanish white ceiling, and he’s they guy who loved red and gold rococo wall paper. And those fiends who made money from my family’s misery were not Chinese. They were our own kind, so to speak.
      Our enemy, isn’t the Chinese, nor Maori, nor Tibetans, nor Icelandic’s, nor Nigerians, nor Inuit, nor Martians, nor ghosts, nor leprechauns, nor Zombies out of an evening’s stroll before a meal of brains. Our enemy is us. And our kind. Us white fuckers. Those few state educated, greedy, fuck scum who constantly scan an innocent horizon for an opportunity to profit because the pickings were very, very good. They broker the deals remember. They sell us out, they’re ‘in the know’.
      @Castro? You, my dear friend, are barking up the wrong chopstick. You need to get your noodle around that. You’re wonton for a clearer picture. Follow the silk road and enter the dragon. Just make sure you kiss it first.

  2. And the CoL ignoring the elephant in the political room: the communist Chinese invasion of NZ parliament / Labour & National parties

  3. I am angry and depressed, as so often, and it makes me feel a little bit better, that I am not alone to assess it as this:
    “There have been small victories but essentially the neoliberal bureaucracy and Ministries rule this Government, not the other way around and unless Labour, NZ First and the Greens find a way to shame the Ministries into reform, the Wellington Elites will continue to run the agenda, not the representatives of the people.”

    Hard to stay sober these days of utter disappointments.

  4. You forgot to mention the Greens ingenious waste reduction plan: Ram up dump charges some more, to encourage us to dump less rubbish. While doing nothing, zilch, nada, to compel for instance supermarkets to not sell us the stuff in the first place. It’s not as so there’s a choice of goods without plastic wrapping anywhere.

  5. Hear, here! Theyre a fucking joke! 9000 people waiting for permanent Accomodation & Housing but the middle-class offspring get the Houses!
    Stoners says, “Oh no! KiwiBuild was never for the poor! They get to wait on a 16 category waiting list with HNZ/MSD!”
    So the ole poor folks get the chance to stay poorer for longer before they get their hand-up, by been shuffled to the back of the queque again!

    Labour has a history or using the poor as a political vehicle in campaign mode, then post election. Shaft them!
    Oh well, we’ll set up a panel to deal with ‘those’ people and we’ll help ‘our’ kinda people, first! Wankas!

  6. Labour – medicinal cannabis in 100 days, Tui anyone.
    NZF – stuffy old prick self centred about lining his own nest.
    Green – is it ok if I say something?

  7. Voted agin Grant and Ardern for the Labour leadership and for Little, because they talked the talk better but I thought Little walked it better. Last year …

  8. 30 yrs to F*** it up… 1 year to fix it?
    In reality it’s just not possible. The fact you gave them B’s shows they are making an ok start.
    As CB states, there are many unseen controlling figures within NZ’s makeup. Money will always talk, hence the ratifying of the corporate backed TPP.
    It is becoming increase clear to many true democracy maybe a myth.

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