Back on Track?

Written By: - Date published: 11:05 am, April 7th, 2024 - 71 comments
Categories: act, benefits, economy, greens, health, labour, Maori Issues, maori party, national, Politics, poverty, same old national, Te Reo Māori, treaty settlements, workers' rights - Tags:

This was National’s campaign slogan last election and it is appropriate to consider how they are going in achieving what they promised.

They have been very busy, very very busy. With a 100 day plan and a recently announced three month plan they have been doing a lot of planning. But has it made the country a better place? And if so who for?

How about this list of the Government’s achievements so far. It has:

Is that enough? Let me know if I have missed anything in the comments.

And if you have had enough get involved. Join your union. Join Labour. Join the Greens or Te Pati Māori .

71 comments on “Back on Track? ”

  1. National, after years of being that conservative yet quite respectable relative at family gatherings, have become the xenophobic drunk waxing lyrical about things most are horrified by.

    Here might be something better to wax lyrical about instead.

  2. Anne 2

    For more on the proposal to shut the Suicide Prevention Office, see yesterday evening's one news – first item:

    So the ministries are being forced to take all the blame for the “confusion” around decision making? I smell a smokescreen around ministerial bungling and incompetency in carrying out their functions.

    • mickysavage 2.1

      They tried to do the same with the Disability cuts. This is a pattern.

      • Anne 2.1.1

        Yes and there will be more of them. That is inevitable. Someone needs to start a list of them as they happen for future use.

        • Robert Guyton

          They don't know what they're doing.

          • Dolomedes III

            Right. And the previous government did know what they were doing? What did they touch that didn't turn to cack? They handled the pandemic OK, but apart from that … How many ministers did they lose in embarrassing circumstances during their last year in office?

            • roblogic

              You mean they had the decency to resign for their errors of judgement, as opposed to the current administration which places no value on competence or integrity, and does not punish malfeasance but seeks to cover it up.

            • Robert Guyton

              "They handled the pandemic OK, but apart from that …"


              That wee pandemic thingy; they done okay…I suppose…if I have to give them anything, BUT!!!

  3. Phillip ure 3

    One of the things they are something the left should also do..

    That is tell the punters what they will achieve/do in the upcoming quarter/three months…and into the future..and then having to deliver on those pledges..

    (This is something the last gummint failed at)

    ..they didn't explain to us what they were doing..and so didn't take us with them…

    In fact this could be taken to the degree of the left parties going into the next election campaign not only with a unified/coherent voice/policy-planks…but with a timetable for those policies to be enacted..

    For the left to win they must do this…so the voters know exactly what they are voting for..and when they can expect those promised changes to happen…

    • Anne 3.1

      ..they didn't explain to us what they were doing..and so didn't take us with them…

      Its not so much they didn't explain, but rather their explanations were too long and too academic in nature. Labour governments going back decades have tended to over estimate the ability of the average voter to absorb complex policy proposals.

      Helen Clark understood this, and she boiled down her election pledges at one election to 5 or 6 simple one liners that hit the bullseye. Think it was the 2002 election. That was going to the other extreme of course but it worked.

      • Shanreagh 3.1.1

        Its not so much they didn't explain, but rather their explanations were too long and too academic in nature. Labour governments going back decades have tended to over estimate the ability of the average voter to absorb complex policy proposals.

        I agree totally with this. I am not sure who was doing their Comms around Three Waters in particular I suspect those in the policy management mould. With the greatest respect to my former fellow colleagues Policy people are not skilled communicators. They are two different disciplines.

        I know when I mentioned, on here, my experience in the nexus between Policy & Communication and the advice we were given to aim for the comprehension of a pre secondary school reader I was slammed a little.

        The other good way is to listen to how someone who knows the topic explains it verbally to say pre secondary schoolers. Often these explanations can be worked up into press releases/explanations.

        Another thing to do is to pretend that you are at a public meeting, what questions are asked? Then go through any material to make sure these questions are answered within the release.

        Looking at the huge rises in our rates (16.4% in Wgtn) because of water related issues, I rue the fact we don't have 3 Waters and that Labour did not seem to follow basic best practice comms in getting buy-in on this flagship work.

      • Incognito 3.1.2

        One possible approach is to meet somewhere in the middle where top-down and bottom-up deliberation through extensive consultation synthesises explanations and policy proposals that can be understood by most people if they want to.

        Here’s just one illustrative example of what might be achieved:

        • Shanreagh

          Yes we did similar many moons ago when I was in one of the better iterations of the health reforms.

          We found that we needed time so staff in time-,staff- and cost- cut depts may not be able to do this.

          We also found that we needed to confidence build in those that we wanted bottom up from.

          It worked.

      • SPC 3.1.3

        Labour will issue a pledge card at the start of the election campaign, a device it also used in the past two elections.

        Pledge cards are a device used frequently in politics in the past both here and overseas – including by the British Labour Party and by New Zealand’s former Prime Minister Helen Clark, who famously produced one in every election from 1999 onwards.

        National's card features eight personal guarantees:

      • mickysavage 3.1.4

        Its not so much they didn't explain, but rather their explanations were too long and too academic in nature.

        This is Labour's problem in a nutshell.

        There is a level of intellectual snobbery in the top ranks. And they want 5 page discussion documents instead of three bullet points.

        • Obtrectator

          Absolutely. Julius Caesar, Act III, Scene II is a perfect demonstration. Brutus gives a closely-reasoned academic analysis of why he and his band believed it necessary to assassinate JC. Antony responds with a shameless appeal to the emotions and baser instincts of his audience. And who wins out?

        • Darien Fenton

          Intellectual snobbery? Then you get "Labour didn't explain it well enough". I hope you are taking your point to the policy discussions going on. If you can three dot points out of members having a say, well done.

    • Shanreagh 3.2

      What I hope our lot don't do when they get back in in 2026 is to embark on the tiresome refrain of 'we're doing this because they did it'.

      I hope we don't have 3 monthly or 100 days of nasty creepy OTT stuff over innovations that may have been good for NZ, their constituencies, included

      What I hope they will do is to look carefully at whatever has been put in place from the point of view that it may not have been exactly what we would have done but it does benefit the wider group of people of NZ. (I know hard to imagine but I am sure over the next few years by luck there may be something) This concept is called 'throwing the baby out with the bathwater'.

      What I hope they will do is to get some quick hit runs on the board of innovative/creative ideas.

      These ideas are put forward on the basis that not everything done by a group or person is bad

      We should not be bad mouthing those who went before, especially as they were elected by NZers. This based on comms theory that it is a reputational loss making venture to do what the Nats are doing and bad mouthing those who went before all the time. It makes them look petty.

      The comms theory is that we shouldn't do this as these people were responding to a different set of drivers ie the beat of a different drum.

      We should be concentrating on signalling a way forward and then giving priority to the actions that will effect positive change.

      Taking to the Nats I know, don't know any ACT followers, there is a sort of sighing at the level of pettiness of some of the actions (like the Maori names for Depts, the allowance for translator type expertise in Te Reo, the bald slashing of PS budgets like the sinking lids of old)

      The Nats seem to think the cuts are like a household budget where some use the mantra of 'look after the pennies and the pounds will look after themselves'. We are a million miles away from running a country as if it was a household budget or we should be.

    • Robert Guyton 3.3

      "That is tell the punters what they will achieve/do in the upcoming quarter/three months…and into the future..and then having to deliver on those pledges.."

      Nah. They're bullshi**ing.

      The Left shouldn't adopt the Right's cynical, misleading strategies, or they'll become … the Right!

      • Shanreagh 3.3.1

        Agree with this.

        I find it OTT and creepy and worrying at the same time. Worrying because in many cases they've ruled by fiat without genuine select committee submissions /hearings etc.

        The excuse for doing this is that it was in the manifesto or the coalition agreement.

        This fact has never stopped Govts in the past from seeking submissions etc on the basis of democracy etc. Also the reason the one that depts found great, and that was that some submissions would present a new way of thinking about legislation or a better way of expressing it. Thus reinforcing that Govt, Ministers & departments are not the sole repositories of knowledge

  4. Belladonna 4

    Most of which, while arousing hatred in the political opposition, goes down rather well with their core constituency.

    What will be interesting is to see if/when their policies start to impact on their voters.

    "It's the economy, stupid" – is just as important between elections as it is in an election year.

  5. Patricia Bremner 5

    "It is the economy stupid" if you believe all these destructive Policies and unexpected moves are to improve the economy then I have a bridge to sell you.

    "It is about power and wealth, not the country's health.

  6. Shanreagh 6

    Agree with both Belladonna and Patricia. smiley

  7. Ad 7

    Also lowering farmers' methane target by end of year, completely sidelining the Climate Commission despite its statutory role.

    Announcement yesterday.

    • Patricia Bremner 7.1

      Could they do this to other departments with a statutory role?

      Can the Govt/Ministers be taken to court?

      • Ad 7.1.1

        Well firstly it's not illegal for a government to go advice shopping. Climate Commission advice isn't binding.

        Even if they'd done something illegal, there's no that many NGOs would have the capacity. Maybe: Lawyers for Climate Action, Greenpeace, and Forest and Bird's legal team. It would need a good coalition to win that's for sure.

  8. Cricklewood 8

    Pretty impressive list… at least if you were a Nat NZ1st or Act voter / donor.

    Cant say they havent been effective.

    • mpledger 8.1

      Yea, if you want to see who they owe their allegiance and funding too, then it's pretty clear.

    • Bearded Git 8.2

      Effective for the top 5% Crickle, and negative for the rest of us. Except even the top 5% will be affected as the planet burns.

      Micky’s excellent post illustrates that this Coalition of Cuts is trying to do too much too quickly, and many of the things it is doing are not widely popular. This is a recipe for disaster and for a one term government.

      • Cricklewood 8.2.1

        Dunno, i'm thinking theyre moving fast with the unpopular stuff so it'll be forgotten by the time the next election rolls around. Helped by a bunch of populist policy and lollies targeted at the middle class and gold card holders.

        • Bearded Git

          I don't think people will have forgotten the 352 school building projects being put on hold by this government. For instance this one in Alexandra.

          "Devastated." That is how Alexandra Primary School principal Fi Mackley described the school community’s reaction to the decision to put two property projects under review — just weeks before they were due to start……Data released by the Ministry of Education to RNZ last week shows 352 building projects across 305 schools around the country are on hold as they are reviewed for "value for money".

          • Drowsy M. Kram

            I don't think people will have forgotten the 352 school building projects being put on hold by this government.

            What those schools / hospitals / ferry terminals need is a canny landLord wink

  9. Stephen D 9

    What I’m learning from this CoC is when Labour/Green/TPM get back in power just go for it. Make sure policy is in place, and ram it through.

  10. georgecom 10

    And David Spendmore running around moaning about government spending whilst wasting tax payers & rate payers money left right and centre

  11. Christopher Randal 11

    What annoys the hell out of me is that the Minister for Regulation hasn't taken a knife to the costs of Parliament.

    He could:

    Reduce MPs/Ministers salaries to the living wage.

    Reduce Parliamentary services by 10%

    Make Parliament sit 40 hours a week

    Have Members pay for their own transport/accommodation

    • Obtrectator 11.1

      Why stop at Ministers' and MPs' salaries? Reduce the number of MPs! (Wasn't there a referendum one time, with a thumping majority in favour of doing just that?) And why don't we forget the absurd fiction that Cabinet has to number 20-odd? Everyone knows there's never any more than about 5-7 ministers who really matter.

      • Darien Fenton 11.1.1

        Minimum wage etc always sounds good, but you do know it means only the well off could ever become MPs? If you want the rich dominating, that's the way to go about it. And perhaps you don't realise, but Parliamentary Services includes cleaners who get the living wage, thanks to Labour. More importantly, did you realise that Ministerial positions are now up to 25% of our entire parliament – with multiple associate ministers and new Ministries/Ministers in things such as Guns, Space Minister, Hunting and Fishing Minister? And a whole new Ministry for Mr Seymou's baby for Regulations?

    • James Simpson 11.2

      I'm curious. How many hours do you think MPs work now?

      • Christopher Randal 11.2.1

        That's not what I said. We all know that they claim to put in many many hours "work" outside sitting time but their sole focus should be in the House

    • Michael P 11.3

      "Reduce MPs/Ministers salaries to the living wage."

      100% in my opinion our MP's get paid far too much. I think it's gotten so high that you start to get people attracted to the job for the high pay as a major consideration.

      I would make it equivalent to the median wage though. That way it is clearly transparent to everybody and it also gives MP's a great helpful incentive for increasing the median wage.

      This may also help in starting to get parliament looking more representative of the population it is supposed to represent.

  12. Mike the Lefty 12

    This government is proceeding exactly how we knew it would.

    Luxon is the public smile and wave front man, the power behind the scenes is Seymour and Peters.

    A weak National Party bereft of ideas and solutions themselves, but beholden to the directions of rich urban yuppy corporates and ranting conspiracy theorists.

    • Dolomedes III 12.1

      If Seymour had as much power as you're suggesting, and if Luxon were merely a frontman, we would be facing a referendum on treaty principles, and the demographic ministries would be gone – not just trimmed. What we're seeing is the result of agreements negotiated between the three parties in government. Peters has pandered to the anti-vax lobby, but the current government is hardly "beholden" to covid conspiracy theorists.

      • Robert Guyton 12.1.1

        No, they're not. They're beholden to life-destroying industries.

        Much better, I'm sure you'll agree.

      • Descendant Of Smith 12.1.2

        Time will tell. A national MP once wanted to ban water.

        And there's lots of conspiracy theories other than COVID-19.

        Taking our guns, handing the country over to Maori, 15 minutes cities, cashless society, government surveillance through facial recognition, chemtrails, flat earth, child sex rings, earth is only 6,000 years old, the rapture is coming…..

        • Robert Guyton

          Help me, Jesus!

        • Dolomedes III

          And so? You have evidence that Luxon, Seymour and/or Peters believe in "chemtrails, flat earth, child sex rings, earth is only 6,000 years old, the rapture is coming….."?

          • Descendant Of Smith

            Forgot to mention trickle down economics.

          • Phillip ure

            @dolo.. correct me if I am wrong..

            But my understanding is that luxon is part of a fundamentalist religion..

            ..that pretty much has bags permanently packed..

            …in anticipation of the rapture..

            …and that believe that earth has had a much truncated existence…(which flies in the face of accepted sciences…)

            N'est ce pas…?

            • Robert Guyton

              It is indeed so, Phil.

              Ad reminded me of Luxon's attendance at *The Upper Room.

              *Not a place to which Gaia has been invited

            • Descendant Of Smith

              In the tangled web of National politics and favours another member of his congregation is Ian Grant's daughter.

              They of the 2.4 million dollars largesse for parenting courses. Still haven't seen an evaluation of them.

              Paula Bennett’s Ministry of Social Development will pay $2.4 million to Parents Inc for “parenting courses for the caregivers of vulnerable children”. This contract was untendered and previously unknown.


        • Obtrectator

          They should ban protium hydroxide – it's well known to be capable of dissolving more stuff than any other solvent.wink

  13. Michael 13

    FWICS, the Nactzis are delivering to the people who matter to them – the very rich. Unlike Labour, the Nats and ACT don't even pretend to care about people outside their base. They do need votes from people who are not rich but that's what the culture wars are all about – a distraction and a diversion. NZ First is slightly different because their voters are getting shafted by the government their Party is propping up. But that's where the culture wars apply – it's easy to ignore the fact you're getting shafted if another group (Maori, Pasifika, people with disabilities) are getting a good kicking. So I think the Natczis are pretty safe where they are, not least because Labour is totally unfit for office and isn't taken seriously.

    • mpledger 13.1

      The thing is National isn't fit for office either.

      I guess another thing is the back-breaking bureaucracy of getting the ECE rebate. If anything gives away that they have no idea about scale and still have small business mindsets then that is it.

  14. They cancelled the much needed Interislander Ferry upgrades, when the project was already half completed, thereby burning a couple of billion, just for spite.

  15. Our Minister of Regulation is planning to relax the rules for building materials, because he thinks another leaky homes disaster would be a laugh.

  16. They are getting rid of free vaccinations and Seymour wants more sick children to take their germs to school

    Changes to free flu vaccine eligibility are a missed opportunity to close NZ’s health equity gap

  17. Some long overdue upgrades to schools just got shitcanned too.

    Rotting classrooms as Govt hits pause on school rebuilds (

  18. Adders 18

    Onslow Lake hydro project, future-proofing the nation's electricity supply – canned.

  19. thinker 19

    Back on Track
    In a Cadillac
    Passing urgent legislation, I'm a power pack
    Yes, I'm in the NATs
    With some twats
    Helping landlords put cash in their vats
    'Cause I'm back on track
    Not just a management hack
    Gonna hurt the poor, gonna give them a whack
    So look at me now
    Making the bottom half pay
    Don't try to push your luck, just get out of my way

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