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Ardern’s state of the nation speech

Written By: - Date published: 11:15 am, February 8th, 2019 - 56 comments
Categories: Economy, jacinda ardern, labour, Politics, tax, trade - Tags:

Text of Jacinda Ardern’s state of the nation speech from the Beehive website.

Good morning everyone.

I want to start by thanking Kirk and his Business New Zealand team for the invitation.

It’s good to have this opportunity to join you as another year starts.

While this is my first economic speech of 2019 here at home, there has been plenty happening internationally since the year kicked off. I want to reflect on some of that this morning, but before I do, I’d like to take stock of our economic and business landscape, set out some of the challenges we face here and in an international context, and then outline our Government’s plan to address those over the coming year.  

First though, I want to take a moment to reflect on the events in Tasman. Twelve months after facing a cyclone, the rain in Tasman has been replaced with a fire that when I visited yesterday, was 22km in parameter, and covered 1900 hectares. It has led to the evacuation of hundreds of homes, and roughly 400 people.

I have been in regular contact with our civil defence team, and evacuations are still happening as they try to predict where the wind movement may take the fire, all the while creating a parameter around it and using fire retardant to try and contain it from spreading across an area that is bone dry, and surrounded by forestry.

I spoke to a few people who had been evacuated yesterday. They told me what it was like to evacuate with only a few hours warning. But they didn’t dwell on that.

Mostly they reflected back to me the amazing work being done by emergency services, MPI, council, civil defence and others. So many who I met yesterday were volunteers. One of the coordinators of the many helicopters hauling water over the fire for eleven hours at a time was from Feilding and had travelled through the night to get there. He also happened to be colleagues with my first cousin – it was a true New Zealand moment.

Situations like this always reinforce to me something that you will intuitively know, we are a nation of extraordinary people. And I don’t separate out situations like this as being a one off example of who we are. The traits we have as a nation are there 24/7, and in many fields of work.

You see it in our social sector, our business community, and in our young and older citizens. The trick is to remember that, and for us as Government to bring together the many groups who want to tackle the big challenges we face regardless of which sector of our society that they may work within. We are not a nation of discrete compartments, so we should be facing our challenges together. 

And when it comes to the economy, and the business environment, there are challenges.

There are also good reasons for us to be optimistic though.

Last year I talked about the elephant in the room. Pleasingly, the elephant has gotten a little bit smaller in the past 12 months. Perhaps it got to know its company and decided it wasn’t quite as scary as it first thought…

Either way, it’s pleasing progress and it is based on some strong fundamentals.

  • Yesterday’s employment data showed wages are growing and unemployment is at 4.3%, the second lowest in a decade. The lowest was of course last quarter, and we are confident that we’ll reach our 4% target by the end of our term.
  • Growth is relatively strong at around 3% and is forecast to stay close to that level in coming years. That looks particularly strong when compared to the IMF’s recently released forecasts for advanced economies that predicts average growth of about 2% a year.
  • Inflation is tracking at 1.9%, and food price inflation remains low.
  • And it is encouraging that one of the Big Three rating agencies recently gave our economic and financial management the thumbs up. Standards & Poor’s have revised its outlook on New Zealand’s AA foreign and AA+ local currency credit ratings from ‘stable’ to ‘positive’ – its strongest verdict on New Zealand since September 2011.
  • The latest Crown financial statements, released just yesterday, show that core Crown revenue and expenses are in decent shape and delivering a better than budgeted surplus. Running surpluses of course gives us the room to make important capital investments while keeping debt under control and importantly provides a buffer against external shocks and international headwinds.  

As you can see, on key economic measures the Government is delivering. There is good cause for the elephant shrinking.

But there is a shift in mood globally. While global economic growth remains strong, it is beginning to slow.

The IMF is projecting worldwide growth to ease from 3.7% in 2018 to 3.5% in 2019 due to rising trade tensions, political uncertainty and less stimulatory monetary and fiscal policy.

As I mentioned earlier, advanced economies are forecast to grow at only 2% a year.

The finger of blame for the slowdown in global trade growth is generally pointed at countries pursuing increasingly protectionist policies, which are naturally affecting confidence and investment plans.

Trade tensions in the wake of tariffs imposed by the US on Chinese imports dented the strong growth seen in 2017. And the worry for us is that further reductions in Chinese exports could cause a material slowdown in its economy, with adverse effects for New Zealand exporters.

And then there is Brexit.

As all of you will have no doubt seen, the final form of Britain’s exit from the European Union is yet to be decided.

Clearly, the risk of a no-deal scenario remains high. There is a lot of uncertainty around what such a scenario would mean, and while we are doing our best to create a buffer through, for instance, our recently signed mutual recognition agreement, a no deal Brexit could still do harm to EU economies or disrupt financial markets.

Political tensions are beginning to present serious risks to international institutions and the rules-based order that we rely on for security and prosperity. The World Trade Organisation, for example, and other multilateral organisations, are facing challenges to their legitimacy that undermine their effectiveness.

At Davos, a significant conversation revolved around how we could ensure the reform of these institutions, whilst not seeing them blamed for the current political environment which, ultimately, they didn’t cause.

But where does all of that leave a country like New Zealand? We have strong fundamentals and are well prepared, but we need to be realistic that if the global economy slows, it will affect our economic growth.

Now is then the time to take the foundations we have and to build on them. Now is the time to ensure we not only build greater resilience into our economy, but that we modernise it too.

This is a message that we have been sharing for some time, but that I recently heard reinforced by the IMF executive director Christine Lagarde.

We were at APEC in Papua New Guinea when I first heard her reiterate the message that policymakers need to make greater efforts to prepare for the slowdown, and that is a message we are heeding.

That’s why our economic plan includes the following key planks:

  • Doubling down on trade and broadening our trading base to protect our exporters and economy
  • Reform of skills and trade training to address long-term labour shortages and productivity gaps in the New Zealand economy, and to make sure we are prepared for ongoing automation and the future of work
  • Changes to tax to make the system fairer
  • Addressing our long-term infrastructure challenges
  • Transitioning to a sustainable carbon-neutral economy
  • And of course investment in wellbeing, because this is inextricably linked to our economic success too.  

Trade

On trade, our experiences in the 1970s and early 1980s taught us there are no winners in trade protectionism.  

By taking an active role in WTO reform efforts and by committing ourselves to diversifying our export markets through new and upgraded free trade agreements, we are strengthening our safety net.

At all the international forums I have spoken at in the last year I have made the case for the retention of an international rules-based trading system. I believe it’s incredibly important that we continue to be a leading voice on this, in order to retain a system that allows New Zealand exporters fair access to international markets.

With the CPTPP coming into force, 65% of our exports are now covered by FTA preferences which buttress and build on the WTO disciplines.

The Pacific Alliance and RCEP are making steady progress. 

The upgrade of our agreement with China is ongoing and we are about to commence the same negotiations with ASEAN. 

But a top trade priority this year is a positive conclusion to the EU free trade negotiations and the launch of free trade talks with the UK in the event of Brexit occurring.

On my recent trip to Europe I received assurances from the EU leadership of their desire to conclude an agreement by the end of this year. It’s an ambitious plan, and one we will pursue whilst also being mindful of getting a quality deal.  

In the UK, Prime Minister Theresa May expressed her desire for New Zealand to be amongst the first nations they negotiate with, and for our part we made the case that given New Zealand’s expertise in this space we would make a logical partner to establish a benchmark for a high quality model agreement for the UK.

As importantly as the political assurances I received we also got positive backing from leading British business leaders for a high quality free trade deal as soon as practical after Brexit.

And at home, we are working to rebuild the social licence for trade. The Trade for All Advisory Board will continue meeting this year to look at how our trade policy works with other economic policy to deliver the benefits of trade to all New Zealanders.

Through this combination of trade and foreign policy initiatives we will strengthen our resilience to the risks we face from the uncertain global economy.

Of course it is not just in the international scene that our economy faces challenges.

Domestically we are seeing both short and longer-term issues that could constrain economic growth if left unaddressed.

Education and training

One such issue that the Government has big plans for in 2019 is around skills training.

Whenever I talk to business I hear a recurring theme around skills training and the gap between what business needs and what our training organisations provide.

Businesses are facing a constant struggle finding the people with the right skills at the right time to do the jobs that need to be done. Many of you here today have spoken to me about this issue.

In the past our economy has been too reliant on buying skills through immigration. Immigration is vital, but we need to get the balance right. I want us to focus on how we can be better at growing the skills our economy needs.

Without change, the challenge for businesses and Government is only going to increase.

We know the future of work will look very different than it does today.

A future when, by some estimates, a full one third of jobs in New Zealand are likely to be significantly affected by automation. That’s a million jobs.

For us as a government and you as a business community we cannot afford to let the skills gap continue to drift.

We need to act now.

The Coalition Government has already taken steps to make post-school education and training more accessible, with our fees free programme, which provides 2 years of free industry training and apprenticeships, or one year of free tertiary education.

We also announced changes to allow greater use of micro-credentials to ensure our system is more accessible and responsive to business needs.

My Business Advisory Council has also set skills as one of its key priorities. One of the ideas it has put forward which we are working through is how business themselves can take the lead in committing to reskilling their workforces.

The Government has also done some deep thinking on reforms that are urgently needed to the vocational education system.

The Minister of Education will next week announce proposals for consultation. They are far reaching. But we firmly believe they must be.

We currently have a vocational education system that is in many cases, struggling.

Take the building sector for example. We know we need more tradies and they are just not coming through fast enough.

That’s absolutely no reflection of the people who are involved in the sector – far from it. What it is, is a damning statement that the system has been left to drift, to muddle through.

How is it, for example, that at a time when we’re facing critical skill shortages, our polytechnics and institutes of technology are in many cases going broke?

Over the last two years this Government has been forced to spend $100 million to bail out four polytechnics, and that is a pattern that started before we took office.

That is not the sign of a healthy and sustainable sector.

We need to move away from the cycle that sees course delivery at institutes boom when the economic cycle turns down and then dive when the economy improves, while on-the-job training providers face the opposite cycle.

Instead of our regional polytechnics and institutes of technology retrenching, cutting programmes, and closing campuses, we need them to expand their course delivery throughout the country.

We want a sector that meets the needs of our economy. But the current system faces three major structural issues we need to fix.

It is not well coordinated or integrated. It is not easy for business to engage with and it delivers variable results across the country.

We have a duplication of courses and lack of consistency across the sector.

Many of the institutes face an issue of scale and insufficient capital to grow and respond. All of this is unsustainable.

Here is our vision – I want the vocational training system to be the backbone of our productive economy, and of our regions. I want students and parents to proudly choose a career in the trades and I want businesses to have confidence that the system is flexible and preparing a workforce for the future of work.

We need a model where businesses, iwi and local government in every region play an active role in driving skills development. We need a system of training and skills development that is more flexible and more nimble so we can get people with the rights skills into the right jobs much faster.

As I mentioned, we will be putting out some significant ideas in this area in coming weeks. Alongside our education sector, you have a crucial role to play in this matter and I do look forward to hearing your response to what will be some big new ideas.

But we haven’t just looked to the education sector to upskill our workforce, we have also looked for ideas to support you directly.

We are providing assistance in this regard through the Mana in Mahi training initiative, which provides a wage subsidy to businesses who employ as apprentices young New Zealanders who have been on a benefit for six months or more.

This policy is constructive for both businesses and workers, linking employers who need labour with young people in need of a career path.

I’ve met some of the young people in programmes like Mana in Mahi and He Poutama Rangatahi. They are our best salespeople for these types of initiatives.

Recently in Kaikohe a young woman told me all her friends want to join the course she was on. She is learning and earning and it was, in her own words, better than the street. Especially since she had become a supervisor.

Building a sustainable economy

In addition to skills the Government will use 2019 to contend with bigger, longer-term trends that will have a transformational affect on our economy. 

As I have said before, climate change is the defining issue of my generation.

We know that we all have to adapt now to avoid catastrophe for the generations to come.

We have a plan for a just transition to a low-emissions economy based on a more sustainable growth model. We want to ensure that this transition is phased and signalled early to give businesses and workers certainty and flexibility.

The Government will soon announce plans for legislation to establish an enduring institutional framework for managing the long-term transition to a low-emissions economy.

This legislation will contain legally binding emissions’ reduction targets and it will see the establishment of an independent Climate Change Commission, which will recommend emissions reduction budgets and provide advice on policy development and initiatives in transport, energy and primary industries.

The Government’s Just Transition work programme will assist New Zealand to successfully transition to a low-emissions economy.

The work programme includes looking at energy, regional economic development and workforce planning. It has a strong connection to education and skills development to create new jobs.

A Just Transition Summit in May this year will kick-start a national conversation about what the Just Transition means for New Zealand. 

But it won’t just be a local conversation. We will be testing ideas that the world is interested in too. The conversations I had in bilateral meetings and conferences increasingly demonstrated to me that the world is not only looking for ideas, it is hunting for them. And New Zealand is on its list.

We recently announced a $100 million capital injection to New Zealand Green Investment Finance Ltd to stimulate new private sector investment in low-emissions industries. More and more investment dollars globally are looking for clean, sustainable ventures to invest in.

New Zealand Green Investment Finance Ltd positions New Zealand to attract its share of that investment capital, and will provide businesses with a pathway to being part of efforts to confront the greatest challenge facing the planet.

Another issue currently confronting the Government is inequality, and our commitment to bring fairness into our tax system.

We have long foreshadowed that we will deliver this year a response to the Tax Working Group.

There has been a lot of speculation on this topic of late, some of it feverish and not always accurate.

But my message to you this morning is succinct.

Yes, we have received the report of the Tax Working Group and, as we have shared publicly, it will be released on Thursday 21 February.

That report is now being pored over by officials, and discussed with Coalition and Confidence and Supply partners. Our plan is for the Finance and Revenue ministers to release the Coalition Government’s full response to the report in April.

Importantly though, the Working Group’s report will be shared with the public. There will be time for everyone to see that work, to debate what they have said and to share views. Anything we subsequently decide will also go through a consultation process before legislation and ultimately will be put to voters at the next election before it comes into force.

As we enter into a period of discussion and debate, I hope it’s guided by the overriding goal of fairness, and building an economy and system that works in the best interest of New Zealand and its people.

The Wellbeing budget

Finally though, a few words on what has become a significant topic of debate and discussion internationally. In fact I saw just yesterday the issue of wellbeing economics being discussed in a Swedish newspaper. I can’t tell you what it said but I am sure it was eminently sensible.

Our starting point for the Wellbeing Budget is that while economic growth is important, it alone does not guarantee improvements to New Zealanders’ living standards.

We want to take a much broader approach that uses the full range of factors that affect the quality of people’s lives.

So there will be measures that track the progress of our country based on what enables people to live fulfilling lives – things like material wealth; our capability as individuals, families and communities; and the health of our environment, such as the cleanliness of rivers.

We can all agree that New Zealand has seen solid rates of GDP growth over the past few years, and of course no one is suggesting we get rid of this indicator. But we also need to ask questions about the quality of that growth. An everyday New Zealander – hearing of the “rock star economy” while their housing costs are skyrocketing, or they can’t afford to send their kids to school with a proper lunch or their mental health is strained – tends to have their faith in the system and in institutions undermined.

So embedding wellbeing will require us to shift to a wider definition of success for our country, one that incorporates not just the health of our finances but also our natural resources, people, and communities.

It will represent a shift away from government departments thinking of their Budget bids in terms of their own appropriations, towards a focus on the outcomes they can achieve in collaboration with others.

All Ministers and departments have been asked to consider what they can contribute to the delivery of each of the Budget priorities.

This in itself is different and was the source of great interest when I was at Davos.

While deep reform will take time, the Government has already made significant strides. Treasury has created the Living Standards Framework, we are reforming the way the state sector works to give effect to a more collaborative way of working, and we will amend the Public Finance Act so that priorities around wellbeing are set each Budget. We are giving effect to the new approach in this year’s Budget.

The five Budget priorities this year are:

  1. To create opportunities for transitioning to a sustainable low emissions economy;
  2. Lifting Maori and Pacific incomes and opportunities;
  3. Supporting a thriving nation in the digital age through innovation;
  4. Reducing child poverty, improving child and youth wellbeing, including addressing family violence; and
  5. Supporting mental wellbeing for all New Zealanders, particularly those under 24.

In Davos the OECD Secretary General advised the Finance Minister and me that they would be reviewing the Government’s wellbeing approach and Budget in their country review this year, an indication of how closely the rest of the world is looking at this new model and what it can offer other countries.

The Wellbeing Budget is not only about improving the livelihoods of New Zealanders, it is key to ensuring we are protected from the international headwinds the economy may face. It will ensure that those closest to the margins are protected and that no one is left behind.

I want to conclude today by affirming the Government’s strong desire to continue partnering with business wherever we can. We will be using forums such as the Small Business Council, the Future of Work Tripartite Forum and my own Business Advisory Council to develop and test initiatives that can help improve business productivity and workers’ wellbeing. But more than that, to continue to work together.

As a country we face challenges on a number of fronts, but in these challenges the Government sees opportunities to build a more resilient economy and I know we are not alone in that.

By diversifying our trade opportunities, upskilling workers, leading the transition to a low carbon economy, ensuring fairness in the tax system and delivering our Wellbeing Budget we have a clear plan that will protect and improve the wellbeing of our people, our businesses, our communities and our environment.

I look forward to working with all of you in delivering on this in 2019. And perhaps along the way that elephant might keep getting a little bit smaller.

56 comments on “Ardern’s state of the nation speech”

  1. Morrissey 1

    I want to start by thanking Kirk and his Business New Zealand team for the invitation.

    ??????

    MEGAN WHELAN: I talked recently to Richard Wagstaff of the CTU about the future of work.
    KIRK HOPE: China is an example of a rapidly industrializing country which is also rapidly digitizing. It’s replaced the fulltime jobs of an industrial economy with trading. That’s the secret behind the success of Ali Baba! One or two people on line.
    MEGAN WHELAN: [clearly dubious] That’s significantly less secure, though.
    KIRK HOPE: I’m not sure it is. We have to think about what it will look like. There’s a LOT of work to go on in the education system; our funding models, what’s happening at the secondary level.
    MEGAN WHELAN: Another thing with Richard—-I realize I’m sounding like a socialist revolutionary, and I don’t mean to, ha ha ha ha!—but he was worried about workers’ rights.
    KIRK HOPE: People will have more flexibility. They might want to take six months off and travel.
    MEGAN WHELAN: Yeah but not a lot of people have this option. It’s different when it’s thrust on them. …. Anyway, what’s the last song you’ve chosen?
    KIRK HOPE: [without the slightest awareness of irony] I’ve chosen “Driving Wheels” by Jimmy Barnes. ….

    https://morrisseybreen.blogspot.com/2018/04/megan-whelan-interviews-kirk-hope-jan.html

    • mac1 1.1

      ?????? the “??????” ?

      • veutoviper 1.1.1

        Relevance is nothing, narcissism and look at me is all.

      • Darien Fenton 1.1.2

        Yes and wtf. Its called politeness.

        • mac1 1.1.2.1

          That was my first thought, too, Darien. Politeness.

        • Morrissey 1.1.2.2

          Jacinda Ardern was obliged to thank someone who never loses a chance to make incendiary comments about workers, and fair pay, and labour rights, supports the “right” of employers to hire and fire at will, and (as shown in the segment I quoted) is an enthusiastic proponent of China as a model for labour suppr—, errr, relations.

          Who thought it would be a good idea to have Jacinda dignify Kirk Hope, of all people, in this manner? Was there no more appropriate organization in front of which she could have delivered this speech? Looks like yet another glaring mis-step by the Labour Party’s “brains trust.” Not as grave a mis-step as the direction to its 2014 election candidates—including you, Darien—to repeat, zombie-fashion, that Nicky Hager’s Dirty Politics was a “distraction”.

          I know one person who thought that it was a splendid idea to cut Key and his cronies a break like that: Kirk Hope.

      • Professor Longhair 1.1.3

        Surely even someone with the meanest intelligence can comprehend that our friend Breen was pointing up the inappropriateness—nay, even the obscenity—of the opening remarks by a Labour prime minister being a vote of thanks for a lowlife such as this tick Hope.

        • mac1 1.1.3.1

          This someone with the meanest intelligence, but with a high enough emotional IQ to understand the concept of politeness, does understand, dear Professor, the difference between a ‘vote of thanks for” and a “vote of thanks to”.

          The dear and esteemed Professor should also understand that the vote of thanks went to an individual, and his team. Note, and his team. Manners, politeness, kindness even. Good politics, good PR, good humanity.

          All else is snarkiness, ill-temper and bad manners which will always engender bad feelings.

          • Morrissey 1.1.3.1.1

            My objection, mac, is not to Jacinda being polite. Of course she had to be. What I am concerned about is that her delivering such an important address in such a dreadfully inappropriate setting.

            Are you aware of just how extreme and anti-labour (and anti-Labour Party) Kirk Hope is?

            • mac1 1.1.3.1.1.1

              Thank you, Morrissey. ?????? didn’t mean much. Your objections were not laid out..

              Whether Kirk Hope is anti-Labour is inconsequential. Most businessmen are, in NZ.

              But we have to deal with them.

              Imagine, if you will, Simon Bridges giving an address to a group like the Federation of Labour, as it was, and the mutterings from the Right.

              The Prime Minister is the Prime Minister of New Zealand, of all New Zealanders. She will meet and deal with us all. It’s what PM’s do.

              Look at what she does, and says, more than where she says it. And consider also the wider audience that she used the opportunity to address.

              • Morrissey

                Fair comment, mac. And yes, I agree with you that many, maybe most, businessmen are reflexively anti-Labour. But Kirk Hope is more extreme than any I have heard since the infamous Roger Kerr.

                I am also, like Stuart Munro in No. 5 below, concerned to see that Jacinda Ardern is parroting the kind of right wing business messages propagated by Hope and his cronies.

                • mac1

                  Good to see, Morrissey, after two e-mails that we at last might have something where we agree. I am however noting your word ‘parroting’ which stlll is predetermining your view of Ardern, Labour and the Business Right.

                  You now need to give one or two instances where, firstly, she and the Business Right see eye to eye; and then, secondly, where she is following what they already said, because that is what parroting means.

                  That’s before I direct myself to what you mention in Stuart Munro’s comment below. And I quote here what he wrote below on the issue of skills training. Munro writes.

                  “Where she talks about “businesses struggling to get quality staff” she seems to have swallowed the corporate maskirova:

                  “Whenever I talk to business I hear a recurring theme around skills training and the gap between what business needs and what our training organisations provide.”

                  Yes, they want pretrained workers desperate enough to commit to a lifetime on the minimum wage. Which won’t even pay their rent.

                  Training in NZ is essentially negative – instead of giving workers skills than give them increased options, a raft of spurious nonsense certification inflates the entry costs for all jobs, and, if applicants lack these profoundly dubious qualifications, the employer can then accept foreign applicants with even less valid certificates, but who can be relied on to accept illegal conditions and underpayment.” End quote.

                  Now I don’r know what ‘maskirova’ is so I’ll pass that by as an indication of his position that she bought Business’s line.

                  The quote from Ardern does not actually say what she thinks of what business tell her. She says what she hears, but that quote does not say what she believes.

                  So, I’ll have to go to what Ardern says after that.

                  She actually devotes 34 paragraphs to the topic of skills education and training.

                  She doesn’t point the bone at certain employers who practice what Stuart Munro so correctly criticises. Instead she points to what should be happening in New Zealand in order to address the skills shortages. She does not say bring in migrant labour with shonky credentials so that they might be exploited.

                  She actually says that the skills have not been inculcated either in polyptychs etc which are failing financially and educationally, but also says that the industry also needs to up its game.

                  She says to them, “Alongside our education sector, you have a crucial role to play in this matter and I do look forward to hearing your response to what will be some big new ideas.” In other words, what are you guys going to do about it?

                  Earlier she said, “One of the ideas it has put forward which we are working through is how business themselves can take the lead in committing to reskilling their workforces.”

                  Isn’t that sheeting home some of the responsibility to business?

                  Note the ‘take the lead”, “committing” in that sentence. It seems to me reading that that Ardern does not believe that is what they are doing. She certainly says that is what they should be doing. She also says that this skill shortage is a reality.

                  It seems to me that Ardern is saying: 1. there is a skills shortage. 2. Our education institutions are not coping. 3. Business is not taking the lead in addressing skills shortages. 4. Business should take that lead.

                  That, Morrissey, is closer to what we should be debating, rather than questions of politeness and place.

                  Where is, in your words, “the parroting”?

  2. rata 2

    A strong socialist collaborative approach runs through this plan.
    I like it

    • patricia bremner 2.1

      Yes Rata I agree. That speech is great. I listed last night what I hoped would be there, and we have to cooperate to achieve those goals.
      Yes, the PM has to be inclusive. She is PM for all not just some. Please read the speech carefully those who have had a knee jerk.

      If we get something like Australia has where tradies train on the job, but also attended Tech 1 or 2 days a week to gain certification in one or more Trades along side other Polytech subjects, it will be a win win for workers employers & NZ.

      University is not for everyone. Digital expertise and innovation, Trades and Training along with Academic growth in Civics and Citizenship and Living Skills/Study Skills would lift many into work without the burden of Loans.

      She is offering to meet Business over the costs of upskilling while people work. “Going on Courses” used to be accepted as a normal part of working, and could be again.

      The Budget Priorities” will screen each Ministers wish list for money, they will have to show how they will meet each of those 5 targets, and may have to present joint cases of ways to lower carbon emissions, improve health and well being, lift children and families out of poverty….

      This is going to demand a level of strategic focussed thinking about best practice. It does not pit areas against each other for funds, rather it asks, how may you get the best overall outcome to meet the 5 main goals? This is a foundation for joined up long term planning with overarching goals.

      The Living Standards Framework devised with Treasury, and the more Collaborative Public Service coupled with the Budget Priorities of Wellbeing the revision of The Finance Act (coming)….. This is ground breaking.

      Some will say, “It won’t Work!!” …

      We have to work together to take all on board, to try for a better way. It is just starting. After all, the other way was too divisive.

    • Siobhan 2.2

      ..that’s why she delivered it to a business audience. She knows a Collaborative Socialist agenda will be well received and help boost business confidence. Whereas there was no point delivering a Collaborative Socialist vibe State of the Nation speech to a bunch of workers (representing the majority of the Nation), as that would have just got them all worked up and agitated for no reason.

  3. She had a good chance to tie climate change (and the changes needed) into the speech right at the beginning. Missed opportunity to get so called business leaders to see a bigger picture not just net profit. Ah well, always next year I spose…

  4. Grey Area 4

    “longterm transition to a low-emission economy”. We haven’t got a longterm without massive change right across the board – now!

    I was hoping for more but not surprised. If this is our “nuclear-free moment” it’s a tiny moment.

    • Herodotus 4.1

      Not to worry opportunity for more talk and group discussions.
      Should CC be true !!! Shouldn’t we/the world not be looking at carbon neutral but a net carbon sink ??? Expel less carbon and plant more trees and cease deforestation ??

    • Enough is Enough 4.2

      I agree

      Some of the big talk rhetoric from 18 months ago that inspired us needs to be delivered on.

      Aspirations are fine, but I am struggling to see any detailed road map as to how that transition looks.

      I am confident this government can give us something concrete but it needs to be delivered now so that next years election is not just a contest of aspirational goals, but rather a referendum on the well defined policy reforms that are being undertaken by Jacinda.

  5. Stuart Munro 5

    Where she talks about “businesses struggling to get quality staff” she seems to have swallowed the corporate maskirova:

    “Whenever I talk to business I hear a recurring theme around skills training and the gap between what business needs and what our training organisations provide.”

    Yes, they want pretrained workers desperate enough to commit to a lifetime on the minimum wage. Which won’t even pay their rent.

    Training in NZ is essentially negative – instead of giving workers skills than give them increased options, a raft of spurious nonsense certification inflates the entry costs for all jobs, and, if applicants lack these profoundly dubious qualifications, the employer can then accept foreign applicants with even less valid certificates, but who can be relied on to accept illegal conditions and underpayment.

    If this is to be the year of delivery I’d like to see rather more.

    But she may be running the Clarkian line “We overdelivered and underpromised” well, no, Clark didn’t. Coming out of the black decade of the nineties, lower income earners really needed to see some reversal of the cruel and stupid policies introduced under Shipley. Clark didn’t, and paid the price electorally.

    • infused 5.1

      You don’t know what your talking about.

    • One Two 5.2

      Stuart, you are correct in what you say regarding corporate attitude to training and development…

      It is a cost which is seldom tolerated because it would require ‘innovation’ instead of hollow use of the word…

      Compliance and irrelevant kpi’s fills the void…along with immigration from abroad…

      Confused was attracted to the dangerous truth in your comment…and flew straight into the flame…

    • bwaghorn 5.3

      Bulshit the level 4 and 5 sheep and beef courses I did set me up for good jobs
      It’s a shame labour let taratahi ag training collage die.

    • rata 5.4

      Yes, they want pretrained workers desperate enough to commit to a lifetime on the minimum wage. Which won’t even pay their rent. lol

  6. One Two 6

    That speech was for the business sponsors, resplendent in top to bottom business as usual…

    Every sentence maps to failed systems and many points are confused and contradiciting…can’t co-exist…

    Not surprising…it is not as if politicians are running anything except into brick walls and over cliffs…

    1. To create opportunities for transitioning to a sustainable low emissions economy

    3. Supporting a thriving nation in the digital age through innovation

    ‘Sustainability’ and ‘digital age’ are incompatible…despite the marketing spin of how digital ‘smart cities’ will be a primary component of transition to sustainable…while being inherently unsustainable and damaging to create/build and manintain…

    Use of the word innovation is contemptuous in the extreme..

    Business as usual!

    • patricia bremner 6.1

      Wow !! OneTwo. Generalisations like confetti.
      So the development of solar panels made no difference?
      3D printing is useless.?
      Electric cars are a waste of space?
      Public Transport won’t help?

      Any plan put up is for Business not for us.
      Politicians are not running anything.
      Sustainable and Digital are incompatible.

      The first 4 items I see as digital tech working, but I put your negative spin on them.

      The last three.

      You don’t trust Politicians at all? Any plan put up is “Business as Usual” Really?
      Politicians are not running anything???? A country?
      Incompatible huh? Using digital tech to monitor air and water quality to improve both.. What is incompatible there Or did I miss something??

      • One Two 6.1.1

        Patricia, your comments regarding the LP and govt are your own, but they become exposed through your bias…

        I enjoy reading your comments when unrelated to ‘anything Labour’ because like Aderns speech, are the generalisations you project onto my comment…

        If your bias prevents you from reading what was IMO a predictable and recycled speech, that’s your own entitlement to take such a position…

        My comments regarding the ‘digital age’ and sustainability went over your head…that is ok becauase you’re not in the same line of business as I am…

        Surely though the glaring contradictions around sustainable/digital age are basic enough to grasp…

        Aderns speech was unsurprising…the transition plan will be an unfortunate even more so than kiwibuild…big industry and the debt collectors who control NZ inc will not simply roll over…

        Aderns reference to S&P credit rating was her hat tip to the debt collectors…

        A nothing speech…business as usual…

        Tinkering is death…so is digital…

        People need to grasp…quickly what the so called digital age actually represents…

        Hint..it’s not human!

        • Psycho Milt 6.1.1.1

          Tinkering is death…so is digital…

          I look forward to you acting on your cryptic witterings and foregoing everything digital from now on…

        • BM 6.1.1.2

          Ardern is paving the way for her move onto the international stage.
          NZ is a stepping stone to greater things.

        • patricia bremner 6.1.1.3

          Yes OneTwo I re read your comments. I wish you could explain what you think would be better than this plan.
          I realise that AI represents another danger in our future.
          Perhaps you are right, I do not know enough. But contemptuous? How? I do not see that. Perhaps that is my LP blinkers LOL
          To quote a dopey Aussie red head (PH) “Please explain”.

    • Pat 6.2

      BAU is the order of the day….Labour may squeak through another election win but I suspect that will be it before the anger and disillusion takes hold..a sad state of affairs

      It is becoming increasingly obvious Labour has neither the imagination nor the courage for anything other than BAU (with tinkering)

      • UncookedSelachimorpha 6.2.1

        Pretty much.

        Better than the last lot by far, at least. But no structural changes.

        • Pat 6.2.1.1

          im being a little pessimistic I’ll admit….they are a considerable improvement on the last lot but I had high hopes….unrealistic hopes perhaps

  7. Dennis Frank 7

    Unfortunately, the speech seems to have been written by a Labour underling who hasn’t had public relations training yet. “The Government will soon announce plans for legislation to establish an enduring institutional framework for managing the long-term transition to a low-emissions economy.”

    We’ve spent a year waiting for the legislation James Shaw promised. According to the underling, it ain’t yet on the horizon. Instead, we are being promised plans for it. Who knows how long the plans are going to suggest the legislation will take to formulate? Well, the underling doesn’t think we need to know that. Nor, apparently, does Ardern, presuming she did actually read the thing before she uttered it.

    You can imagine the eye-rolling this would have induced in the audience. Businesses operate on time-frames and delivery of results. The govt seems dead keen on letting them know no such discipline prevails in the coalition.

    • Dennis Frank 7.1

      “The work programme includes looking at energy, regional economic development and workforce planning.” So it doesn’t actually include those things, it just includes looking at them. Why is looking at topics something to skite about??

      Jeez, do these people really not get that the public expects action from them. Standing around looking at problems is what the Nats do. Why is Labour always so intent on copying them??

      • One Two 7.1.1

        Dennis your observations are sound. The opening few paragraphs of the speech are a complete mess…and whomever wrote it should be assigned elsewhere…

        Correctly you note that ‘looking’ is all which was offered…it is all that the sponsors will allow because they make money from consulting and guiding the ‘looking’ process and reporting…and of course the BAU the sponsors preside over continues without interference…

        Anyone who believes that level of nothingness the speech delivered, and simultaneously references climate change, is highly confused and unable to identify BAU presented as something else…

        Risk and danger should be called out…

        Some on here understand that govt are a problem…gatekeepers…

        • Dennis Frank 7.1.1.1

          I’d trust her to write her own speeches: her spontaneous responses are usually appropriate. Maybe she lacks confidence in her ability to write stuff. At the very least, they ought to have got some competent media professional to tweak it up sufficiently. I take your point re tailored to some perception of the business community, but I doubt it even achieved that.

          • alwyn 7.1.1.1.1

            “her spontaneous responses are usually appropriate”.
            Hmm. You mean the way she responded when asked what was the first thing in the Treaty of Waitangi?
            It was certainly spontaneous but would you really say it was “appropriate”?
            Or perhaps you mean her answers to the question she got about the GDP numbers? All she demonstrated there was that she hadn’t the faintest idea about what GDP meant.

            • Dennis Frank 7.1.1.1.1.1

              Yep, you got it. I meant appropriate inasmuch as they usually seem so, nothing more. Demonstration of inadequacy is also demonstration of authenticity (even when inadvertent) and people respond positively often.

              Few people ever claim that politicians ought to be perfect, eh? Those with whom folks identify tend to be typical of the populace, therefore represent them effectively on that basis.

              • alwyn

                “tend to be typical of the populace”.

                That reminds me of the defence of Harold Carswell when Richard Nixon nominated him to be a Supreme Court Justice.
                Carswell was widely regarded as mediocre. In his defence one of the Republican Senators, who was not one of the greatest intellects to grace that Chamber, said –

                “Even if he were mediocre, there are a lot of mediocre judges and people and lawyers. They are entitled to a little representation, aren’t they, and a little chance? We can’t have all Brandeises, Frankfurters and Cardozos.”

                I guess we have to tolerate a totally unqualified PM because she is a very average specimen.

                • Dennis Frank

                  Yes, exactly. However we must also account for her spectacular elevation and electoral success. That’s untypical. Just charisma, perhaps.

  8. Chris T 8

    Same old same old.

    Start with actually doing something, rather than preaching it.

  9. indiana 9

    …I noted she didn’t mention one thing about national awards or any significant changes to the employment relations laws.

  10. Ian 10

    She is not very good at playing prime minister.More suited to donating her time to a hospice.Hopefully figured out that Dairy farmers keep the economics of this country humming. India is the new frontier and I was impressed her speech writer acknowledged that.

    • Ian is not very good at playing human being. More suited to imitating spam-bots or Russian troll-farming. Hopefully figured out that intensification of farming is a dead end that keeps the waterways of this country unswimmable. Ardern does have a few clues about what’s happening and I’m glad his programming acknowledged that.

  11. WeTheBleeple 11

    That’s a lot of sour grapes. Let’s imagine Jacinda is actually a person of good repute. Now re-read the speech. Working together. Wellness index. Training and education, climate change, transition to sustainable economy.

    This is all candy to the ears. If it is followed through it will be exemplary governance.

    After 9 years of thievery and mockery. Remember, JK’s grinning mug everywhere, sycophants on every page, smug assholes grinding people and services down left right and centre. Feeling unsafe, racist sexist cops, cruel civil servants, mental health a joke, no hope…

    Or have you forgotten already.

    We need everyone on board to save the planet – for everyone. We need to start rebuilding community.

    Like it or not, we’re in this together. Stop spitting the dummy and start figuring out how to pitch in.

    • Drowsy M. Kram 11.1

      A few of the comments in response to this welcome post of PM Ardern’s speech have clearly expressed disappointment, and with some justification. But we’re all in this together (thank-you WtB (and patricia bremner) for the reminder), so it’s important not to frighten the ‘horses’.

      Transitioning to a sustainable carbon-neutral economy

      We have a plan for a just transition to a low-emissions economy based on a more sustainable growth model. We want to ensure that this transition is phased and signalled early to give businesses and workers certainty and flexibility.
      The Government will soon announce plans for legislation to establish an enduring institutional framework for managing the long-term transition to a low-emissions economy.

      The Government’s Just Transition work programme will assist New Zealand to successfully transition to a low-emissions economy.

      A Just Transition Summit in May this year will kick-start a national conversation about what the Just Transition means for New Zealand.

      The five Budget priorities this year are:
      1. To create opportunities for transitioning to a sustainable low emissions economy;

      By diversifying our trade opportunities, upskilling workers, leading the transition to a low carbon economy

      The word ‘growth’ gets 12 mentions (cf. 10 for ‘transition(ing)’); “sustainable growth” remains a problematic phrase, straight from the ‘wedded to growth’ canon.

      Floods, winds and fires are on the way – the transition’ had better be timely and to a (simpler) resilient society with access to adequate water, food, shelter, power and medicines.

      Noticed (very belatedly) the wonderful January cartoon in the 2019 Leunig calendar.

      A pair of ducks and a pair of humans have been walking together down a road towards a signposted T-junction. The humans (looking happy enough) have turned right down the path signposted “ECONOMIC BOOM”, while the ducks (looking equally happy) have turned left onto the path signposted “SANITY”.

    • Drowsy M. Kram 11.2

      A few comments in response to the post of PM Ardern’s speech have clearly expressed disappointment, and with some justification. But we’re are all in this together (thank-you WtB (and patricia bremner) for reminding us), so it’s important not to frighten the ‘horses’.

      Transitioning to a sustainable carbon-neutral economy

      We have a plan for a just transition to a low-emissions economy based on a more sustainable growth model. We want to ensure that this transition is phased and signalled early to give businesses and workers certainty and flexibility.
      The Government will soon announce plans for legislation to establish an enduring institutional framework for managing the long-term transition to a low-emissions economy.

      The Government’s Just Transition> work programme will assist New Zealand to successfully transition to a low-emissions economy.

      A Just Transition Summit in May this year will kick-start a national conversation about what the Just Transition means for New Zealand.

      The five Budget priorities this year are:
      1. To create opportunities for transitioning to a sustainable low emissions economy;

      By diversifying our trade opportunities, upskilling workers, leading the transition to a low carbon economy

      The word ‘growth’ gets 12 mentions; in particular “sustainable growth” remains a difficult phrase to parse, straight from the ‘wedded to growth’ canon.

      Floods, winds and fires are on the way – the transition’ had better be timely and to a (simpler) resilient society with access to adequate water, food, shelter, power and medicines.

      Noticed (very belatedly) the wonderful January cartoon in the 2019 Leunig calendar.

      A pair of ducks and a pair of humans have been walking together down a road towards a signposted T-junction. The humans (looking happy enough) have turned right down the path signposted “ECONOMIC BOOM”, while the ducks (looking equally happy) have turned left onto the path signposted “SANITY”.

      • Drowsy M. Kram 11.2.1

        Apologies for doubling up on the comment @11.1. The comment @11.2 looks like my original comment before I did a few minor edits in the 10 minute window (to get 11.1) – don’t know why the original (unedited) version appeared ~36 minutes after the edited comment.

      • greywarshark 11.2.2

        We need to get behind our ducks in a row then. Right that sounds a workable plan for the moment to be going on with.

  12. WeTheBleeple 12

    The mention of a ‘slowdown’ was there.

    This is a tentative hint that growth as we know it is over. This is not something Ardern is responsible for and I’m glad she had the foresight to bring it up already. It is something Governments have to face up to. We’ve used all the cheap easy oil up, so even with BAU and no climate change – we get less for the same effort. Hence the global economy will slow down regardless. Peak production is over.

    As the majority of production has been siphoned off for corporate dickheads for far too long, there’s indication we might not have to tighten our belts so much at all, just move back to local production and let the money circulate here. Plug the leaks.

    Local production provides resilience. Resilience is now vital.

    • greywarshark 12.1

      We need to keep the machinery of government going and that of local enterprise. Just oiled now with sunflower seed oil? I read something recently of one oil that suited
      machinery well. Wiser heads than mine will know that. Let’s do it.

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