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?
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.
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…
- By 2030, over 50% of the oceans will be collapsing as bio-habitats.
- By 2030, East Coast cities in the U.S. can expect to see two to three-times as many flooding incidents.
- By 2030, 122million will be driven into extreme poverty as direct result of climate change.
- By 2030, 100million will die as a direct consequence of climate change.
- By 2030, even if the Paris Agreement is actually implemented, we will see a planet warm to 3.4 degrees by the end of this century meaning there will effectively be no future civilisation capable of surviving on a planet that warm.
- By 2030, the global annual cost of global warming will be $3trillion.
- 2030, the number of extremely hot days — classified as maximum temperatures of more than 35C — are tipped to climb in all capital cities.
But by 2050 NZ might be carbon neutral.
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.
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.