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NZ election 2020: Labour win is a watershed moment in the country’s history

Written By: - Date published: 12:27 am, October 20th, 2020 - 47 comments
Categories: act, capital gains, capitalism, Christchurch Attack, democratic participation, education, election 2020, elections, electoral systems, employment, greens, housing, jacinda ardern, labour, Maori Issues, MMP, national, nz first, Parliament, tax, terrorism, tertiary education, transport, workers' rights - Tags: , , , , , , , , , , ,

Originally published on Nick Kelly’s blog

When I posted back in August about the New Zealand Labour Government, I was fairly confident that they would win this year’s election. I did not however think they would win by as much as they did.

On Saturday, the New Zealand Labour Party had its best election result in terms of percentage of the vote since the 1940s. On preliminary results Labour will have the numbers to govern alone and not need to form a coalition – something that has not happened since New Zealand changed to the Mixed Member Proportional (MMP) voting system in 1996.

The results are still provisional as special votes, including votes from overseas such as mine, will be counted ten days after the election so will not be expected until next week. Traditionally special votes favour the centre-left and in 2017 both Labour and the Green Party gained an extra MP each once special votes were added.

The 2020 election was more than just a victory for Labour and more than a crushing defeat for the National Party (New Zealand’s main centre-right political party). This result marks a significant watershed in New Zealand politics which will likely have implications long after this parliamentary term. The closest comparison would be the first New Zealand Labour Government. It was elected in 1935, then returned in 1938 with a significantly increased majority widely seen by historians as an endorsement of its progressive social democratic policies which included the creation of the Welfare State through the Social Security Act and building state housing to providing low to middle-income earners affordable housing. The first Labour Government remained in power until 1949 and remains one of the most influential governments in New Zealand history shaping the country’s domestic and foreign policy for decades.

NZ election 2020: Five experts on the final debate and the campaign's winners and losers ahead of the big decision | Stuff.co.nz
Above, NZ Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern and Leader of the Opposition Judith Collins in the leader’s debate during the 2020 General Election.

Back in January this year I wrote a series of posts about why the UK Labour Party lost in 2019. Part of this analysis was that Britain was historically a conservative electorate where the Conservatives win more elections than they lose. Throughout the 20th century, New Zealand had very similar voting patterns. After losing power in 1949 Labour won only five of the following seventeen elections. The move to Proportional Representation has improved things for NZ Labour and the left, as Labour has managed to form a coalition government in four of the first seven MMP elections held since 1996. In the case of the 2017 election, it did so despite winning fewer votes than the National Party and relied on both The Green Party and the socially conservative NZ First Party. The latter party being blamed as a hand brake on Labour being able to deliver on its 2017 manifesto promises.

In politics, a crisis can present an opportunity. There can be no doubt that the New Zealand Labour Government’s handling of the COVID-19 pandemic has helped deliver this strong result. As too will have Jacinda’s strong response to the Christchurch terror attack. The reason countries like the UK and New Zealand tend to have right-leaning conservative governments, is largely due to people forming voting habits. People become used to the right being in power and so feel more comfortable voting that way. It is a mistake to assume most voters are deeply committed to an ideological viewpoint, more they form a habit of voting a particular way as it is more familiar or comfortable. For this to change, something dramatic needs to happen.

Normally the factors that influence an election are turn out and swing. High turnout historically favours the left, and in particular turnout from voters in lower socio-economic communities helps Labour. The other factor is swing voters who switch their votes regularly. The second group have historically been middle class and deemed ‘centrist’, though this characterisation of swing voters and the use of the term centrist should be used very cautiously. What we can say with certainty is that each party has a certain base level of support, and in most English-speaking democracies the main centre-right party tends to have a stronger core vote to rely upon.

Saturday’s result was a disaster for the National Party, and more generally for the right in New Zealand. National was polling near 40% prior to the COVID-19 pandemic and had for the previous 15 years enjoyed support at around that mark or higher. On Saturday they won only 26.8% of the vote, the Party’s second-worst result in 20 years (their worst being in 2002, but soon recovered a few years later). The rise in support for the soft libertarian Association for Consumers and Taxpayers’ Party (ACT) to 8% will give some comfort to the right. But with the Green Party also winning 7.6% of the vote this means with Labour’s 49% the NZ centre-left won 56% of the vote, where the combined National and ACT vote comes to only 34.8%. In terms of a swing from right to left 2020 has been both dramatic and unprecedented. This in part has been due to the petty, dishonest and frankly immature response by National to the COVID-19 pandemic. But it also reflects the fact that the style of politics and types of policies they support do not appeal to the New Zealand electorate any longer.

Until the final results are in one should be careful of going into too much detailed analysis of the numbers. But we can see a number of so-called safe National Party seats such as Ilam, Wairarapa, East Coast, Northcote and Whanganui where Labour won quite comfortably this year. Under MMP it is the party vote nationally rather than local electorate seats which determine who will win the election, but these local results do show a collapse in support for the right and conversely a strengthening in support for Labour. It is also clear that an on the ground campaign really made a difference and had built up Labour/left networks and infrastructure throughout the country at a time when the National Party machine was very openly crumbling.

Many lifelong National voters switched to Labour in 2020. Whether these voters return back to National in 2023 when the next election is due will be interesting. While old habits die hard when voters finally make the break it may be permanent. Or it may mean the size of New Zealand’s potential swing vote is about to grow considerably meaning there could be very large dramatic swings in future NZ elections.

The coming term will not be an easy one for Labour, as the COVID-19 pandemic continues to rumble on and the world plunges into the worst financial crisis in decades. On Saturday Labour were rewarded for their handling of the crisis so far, but the hard part is yet to come. On the one hand, they need to rebuild the NZ economy at a time when international tourism is dead and export markets are volatile. But even prior to this the New Zealand economy was unbalanced and in a precarious state. It is over-reliance on dairy exports has made it vulnerable if anything happens to this market and resulted in over intensive dairy farming which has harmed the environment – not a good look for a country that brands itself as clean and green. It also faces growing inequality with significant growth in homelessness and poverty in recent years.

Labour was elected in 2017 on the promise of moving away from Neo-Liberal economics. Whilst much of the policy offer was fairly moderate, in particular their commitment to stick to fiscal responsibility rules, the rhetoric from Jacinda was radical as the quote below illustrates:

This image has an empty alt attribute; its file name is 122036855_3649734538393735_2571762267452246936_n.png

Yet for this and various other noises about making the system fairer, Labour has not made radical changes. The 2019 year of delivery promised by the Prime Minister did not see election promises such as Kiwibuild meet the targets for building new homes promised in the 2017 election. In policy areas such as employment legislation, Labour blamed NZ First for being a hand break. Many Labour supporters were disappointed to hear Jacinda rule out the introduction of a capital gains tax in 2019, and despite public support for tax increases for high-income earners, Labour’s progressive tax policy is still very modest and many of its supporters would have liked it to go further. Scaremongering by National about the Greens wealth tax policy seems not to have resonated. Some commentators claim moderate Tory voters switched to Labour to give them the numbers so they would not need to form a coalition with the Greens. Whilst this sort of strategic voting may have been at play, the significance of this is being overstated by the commentariat. Further, polling suggests that Labour could have taken a stronger position on taxation and increasing public spending and still won the election with a commanding majority. That instead it has jettisoned policies such as extending free tertiary education to second and third year students shows the fiscally conservative nature of this government. The economic crisis of course forced the government to make tough choices, but NZ Labour seems to have chosen the status quo when other progressive and electable alternatives were possible.

Over the next three years, Labour will have a strong majority. Labour will no longer have the excuse of NZ First holding them back. It is unclear whether Labour will continue in coalition with The Greens but given the result, Labour will have the numbers to push its policies through without needing to form a coalition. Labour has been given a strong mandate and they need to use it to deliver. In policy areas like housing, transport and reducing poverty this term needs to be about delivering. In opposition, these were key policy areas Labour criticised the previous government for, this term is their opportunity to really make significant changes in these areas.

Labour in New Zealand now has a strong mandate to deliver on its manifesto. If it can deliver on longstanding domestic policy issues whilst continuing to lead the world in the fight against COVID-19, Labour could remain in power for many years to come.

The final point about the election based on the provisional results is that of diversity and representation. Based on current numbers 55% of Labour MP’s are women, 70% of Green MP’s are women and the overall makeup of parliament is 48% women. In addition, there are many elected from the LGBTI community, there are 16 Maori MP’s and also Pasifika and ethnic Asian MP’s. NZ has elected its first African MP, a Sri Lankan and a Latin American MP. The point of representative democracy is that members of Parliament truly represent the population of the country. This parliament will in terms of gender, sexual identity and ethnicity be the most representative of the New Zealand population of any NZ parliament in history. This is a wonderful achievement and represents an important and fundamental shift in the country’s democracy.

47 comments on “NZ election 2020: Labour win is a watershed moment in the country’s history ”

  1. UncookedSelachimorpha 1

    I don't see the result as a swing from the right to the left, hardly at all. It is a swing from National to Labour and towards Jacinda Ardern, certainly.

    Labour has effectively promised not to address poverty or inequality, so Labour voters have not made a significant move towards progessive policies.

    Hopefully it does represent a small move in a progressive direction – and at least a desire to not go even harder neoliberal / river polluting etc.

    The idea in this post that people vote from habit and that habits have been broken this election is a good one, and could lead to better things in future!

    • PsyclingLeft.Always 1.1

      "The idea in this post that people vote from habit and that habits have been broken this election is a good one, and could lead to better things in future! "

      Aye…and it certainly got the attention of the kicked out nat MP's….albeit late. Ah well, Good Times.

    • Enough is Enough 1.2

      The right wing media is suggesting that Labour can't move to the left because the people who have given them their mandate are centrist voters.

      I will be extremely disappointed if Labour adopts that line of thinking.

      Now is the time. This is an historic win and it may be the only time in 50 years that Labour has an absolute majority. Will they waste that opportunity by having a business as usual Key/English approach to government. Or will they kill Rogernomics, inequality, and individual greed.

      Do it Labour

      • I Feel Love 1.2.1

        I do hope so Enough, they may never get this chance again, to show how good a left leaning parliament could be.

  2. froggleblocks 2

    Nick Smith and Gerry Brownlee both survived the 2002 20.9% drubbing.

    The fact that National lost so many electorates really should not be overlooked. This time it really is different, and the only question is whether Labour can capitalise on this and cement their gains in place. This win sets them up handily for 4 terms.

    I'm not sure the Greens are going to get any ministerial positions at all, much to Marama Davidson's chagrin I'm sure.

    • Robert Guyton 2.1

      You're not sure they are? You're not sure they aren't, either, froggleblocks.
      Edit: “But Labour still may want the Greens involved in some way, shape or form; if not because they require their support now, then because demonstrating that such a governing arrangement can work effectively may be important come the 2023 election campaign.”

      https://www.pundit.co.nz/content/what-sort-of-relationship-might-labour-and-the-greens-agree-on

      • froggleblocks 2.1.1

        There's more evidence suggesting they aren't than that they are, to be frank. Words from pundits are frankly irrelevant compared to words from Jacinda’s mouth.

        Jacinda openly talked about a "consultation agreement", after she'd mentioned confidence and supply agreements.

        I guess the spectrum is:

        Coalition (in cabinet) – Confidence and Supply (outside cabinet) – Consultation agreement – Memorandum of understanding – Nothing.

        On election night Marama said she wanted to be a minster inside cabinet.

        • Robert Guyton 2.1.1.1

          Whatever the final arrangement, The Greens win big, imo. Looking to 2023 is a wise thing to be doing right now. Between now and then, The Greens can shape the Government's behaviour through various actions; it's going to be very interesting to watch their progress over the next term.

        • gsays 2.1.1.2

          "On election night Marama said she wanted to be a minster inside cabinet."

          Can you please point to where Marama Davidson made that claim?

          • froggleblocks 2.1.1.2.1

            https://www.interest.co.nz/opinion/107594/hayden-wilson-and-linda-clark-dentons-kensington-swan-assess-what-weekends-election

            Thanks to those ‘new’ voters, Labour’s dominance means that the Greens, despite their own strong turn-out, may find themselves excluded from any meaningful power. On election night Greens coleader Marama Davidson was talking up her own preference to serve as a Cabinet Minister in an Ardern-led Government. But Davidson is getting ahead of herself.

            On election night I watched the RNZ stream solely, no channel flipping, and I recall her saying this in an interview. I think it was about 15 minutes after her speech in which she rudely denied James Shaw a chance to speak, during which an audience member was hysterically screaming like a lunatic making it hard to hear what Marama was saying.

            Unfortunately despite being streamed on Youtube at the time, RNZ seem not to have archived the stream, so I can't give you a video link to Marama saying this.

            • gsays 2.1.1.2.1.1

              Ok, thanks. So that is someone else's reckons on what Marama Davidson said.

              I am just a bit suspicious when I read your comments, Davidson "rudely" denying, "Davidson's chagrin"…

              Fwiw, I thought Marama Davidson had a great campaign and her comments on the night were measured considering the delirium around her.

              Just opinions.

              • froggleblocks

                Ok, thanks. So that is someone else's reckons on what Marama Davidson said.

                No, its reporting of what Marama Davidson said. I heard her say it also.

                • Drowsy M. Kram

                  What did Davidson actually say? Quotes are preferable to recollections and reckons. Here it seems that Davidson is saying the Greens (collectively) want at least a continuation of "some ministerial responsibility" – doesn't mean they get that, but here's hoping.

                  From 18 October 2020:
                  "We would want to see roles that would progress [our work] programme, and yes, it would involve some ministerial responsibility at that level," she says.

                  "Across all of our MPs, we will be looking at aligning potential roles with the work programme, as a whole not just down to one person."
                  https://www.tvnz.co.nz/one-news/new-zealand/green-party-ambitious-executive-roles-in-next-government

                  From 2017:
                  The Green Party has announced the four people who will get government roles in the new administration.

                  They are its leader James Shaw, transport spokesperson Julie-Anne Genter, environment spokesperson Eugenie Sage and social development spokesperson Jan Logie.

                  Three will be ministers outside cabinet and one will be a parliamentary under-secretary.
                  https://www.rnz.co.nz/news/political/342074/green-party-announces-ministers

                  • froggleblocks

                    We're talking about what specific words she said on election night.

                    What she said on October 18 or 2017 is not relevant.

                    • Drowsy M. Kram

                      To summarise:

                      froggleblocks – "On election night Marama said she WANTED to be a minster inside cabinet."

                      Wilson & Clark – "On election night Greens coleader Marama Davidson was talking up her own PREFERENCE to serve as a Cabinet Minister in an Ardern-led Government."

                      Philip ure – "marama said her years as an mp meant she was READY to be a minister…"

                      I can accept it all, but I'd also really like to know what Davidson actually said, in her own words, so that I can make up my own mind. For example, did she refer specifically to a cabinet role, which would be a step up from how Green MPs served during the previous term.

                      Apologies; just being pernickety.

          • Phillip ure 2.1.1.2.2

            I saw/heard it on the feed from rnz….it was in the victory speech (at the beginning) where marama said her years as an mp meant she was ready to be a minister…(I thought it a tad ill-spoken..if only as a pre-negotiation tactic)…she then went on to give a ripper of a speech….and her appearance on rnz the following morning was also solid…if rnz have saved their feed..it will be found there..

  3. Anker 3
    • People seem to think the only way to tackle poverty is the Greens policy, eg the wealth tax and a capital gains tax. We already have a capital gains tax and that did nothing re house prices.
      I have already read that employers may look to find ways to get around labour’s new upper paye tax, and guess what, I believe it.
    • i also read an article about a young couple in the Hawkes bay who managed to buy their first home. They earn near the minimum wage, no help from parents, but used KiwiSaver and a grant from one of the new schemes to do it…green shots
    • labour will be in a great position to hit the ground running having learned from mistakes last term. I really hope they keep going with kiwi build as well as building more state houses.
      btw I read up on Dirty Politics last night. Six years since published so some details hazy in my mind. What a filthy bunch the Nats are. Collins needs to go, in fact a total reboot. Think they are dirty to the core
    • Riff.s 3.1

      Fully agree. Tax and pay benefits is one way to improve inequalty but it risks blow back from the workers who are also struggling and the extra money will mostly drive up rents.

      Another is to get rents down through mass building. State housing + kiwibuild intensification + rolling out new suburbs for spec builders. Build an oversupply of housing and the market will adapt.

      A third way is provision of quality and truly free health, education, and public transport so being poor is not such a big disadvantage. There is less risk of blow back from this approach because quality state services benefit everyone except the upper 10% who can afford private.

      • anker 3.1.1

        Thanks Riff. Like your ideas.

        Oversupply of housing is the way to drive prices down. We have a long way to go!

        Get building boys and girls

      • UncookedSelachimorpha 3.1.2

        " A third way is provision of quality and truly free health, education, and public transport so being poor is not such a big disadvantage. "

        Not sure how that works without looking at the revenue side of the equation…? And inequality leads to a small but powerful minority who actively fight the things you list. Tackling inequality isn't easy, but I don't think you can get that far by just looking the other way.

  4. Stuart Munro 4

    Diverse and representative are not synonymous, though that might appear the least of Labour's problems, it was failure to deliver to their core constituency that cost Labour power in 2008.

    We've seen posters pushing a comparison with Savage, but it is not just a matter of majorities. Savage was personally well to the right of his constituency, but he did deliver on housing. Delivering on housing would be a sound place to start for this government too, though it will require eschewing the failed market model that prevented Twyford getting anywhere with kiwibuild.

    Under neoliberalism NZ has become two countries – the wanker class, who got all the gains, and the workers, who lost ground with flat wages, crippling rents and house prices, and reduced and expensive services. NZ does better as one country.

  5. Ad 5

    This is s total misreading of this government over the last three years, and also a total misreading of the government in the next three years.

    The government has acted in a most radical manner over the last 9 months.

    We've not seen a government act with this scale and speed since 1985.

    We've also not seen a government spend with this scale and speed since 1939.

    You just don't notice the scale of the government action because Australia and China have sustained our export economy enough, and because you haven't compared us to any other developed country in the world to consider any counterfactual.

    We are a tiny, remote, narrow-based, indebted, vulnerable economy – who despite the chaos and anomie that 2021 and 2022 will bring – happens to be remarkably well managed.

    The very last thing we need right now is change on a scale that disrupts the benefits that have been gained by this government dropping $40+ billion of immediate response, and a further $20+ billion on infrastructure announced in February.

    So my message to Ardern is simple:

    Don't fuck it up.

    • Drowsy M. Kram 5.1

      Ad (to PM Ardern): "Don't fuck it up." So ‘kind‘ – that's telling her. Good on ya mate.

      She's a hArd road finding the perfect PM, boy.

    • Stuart Munro 5.2

      happens to be remarkably well managed

      Laughable. A well-managed country doesn't allow the creation of a housing crisis by property speculation and mass unskilled migration.

      There are decades of gross mistakes to undo before NZ could even dream of claiming to be well-governed.

      • Ad 5.2.1

        Only if you compare us to Denmark or Singapore. Denmark has 500 years of prosperity and Singapore is a class and ethnicity divided state with limited democracy and near-slavery.

        No developed nation bar Australia has gone through this year better. That's down to good government.

        • Stuart Munro 5.2.1.1

          That's down to good leadership – and you wrote her off as 'Sparkle Pony'.

          When we look at governance it is more a matter of the business as usual than firefighting crisies, and outside the crisisies New Zealand's long term management of numerous issues leaves plenty to be desired.

          Record suicide. Record inequality growth. Record decline in home ownership. Static poverty and child poverty. Corruption is so rife and poorly controlled that Brownlee's gross betrayal of the people of Christchurch goes unpunished – and there is no shortage of comparable rorts.

          If you mean to grapple with real issues you must face them squarely, not pretend that things like generational inaction on rivers is Green.

          • Ad 5.2.1.1.1

            Good government and good political leadership go hand in hand.

            There's plenty who say this government should have been able to turn around intergenerational poverty and break and remake real estate capitalism. They are simply wrong. What's more, even though it is going to get worse in a year, it would have been catastrophic in 2021 if they had not intervened at the scale they did in 2020.

            What you are doing is just relitigating the election, where Ardern was pretty clear in her responses to all your listed issues. Your questions are the same as those from Collins, and were answered. The results of all those debates are clear.

            No one – certainly not this government – is "pretending".

            • Stuart Munro 5.2.1.1.1.1

              There's plenty who say this government should have been able to turn around intergenerational poverty and break and remake real estate capitalism. They are simply wrong.

              Failed perfectionism "We couldn't do it so we gave up" – indistinguishable from "We couldn't do it because we gave up".

              We have heard these excuses all our lives – but these declarations of impossibility never seem to be mustered against fatuous schemes from the right of the political spectrum.

              Nor need they remake real estate capitalism – they need merely contain it, instead of rolling over every time the speculators cough. Let us see a few more credible attempts at regulation like a CGT and we might humour a few more excuses.

        • Stuart Munro 5.2.1.2

          This is the sort of thing that constitutes poor governance – a power price saving engineered by government being glommed by the powercos instead of reaching the consumer. It takes a great deal of work to regulate markets so that they operate in the public interest – even when the Crown has significant power in that particular market.

          • Ad 5.2.1.2.1

            This new government doesn't have electricity regulation as a priority.

            The 2017 government tried it, and clearly it didn't work.

            https://www.russellmcveagh.com/insights/november-2017/labour-nz-first-coalition-agreement-includes-full-

            They also tried it last term with petrol prices: no effect.

            In this term they will also review grocery and construction materials prices.

            None of them will work, the reports will be shelved, and they will move on to something they have control over.

            • Stuart Munro 5.2.1.2.1.1

              It doesn't work because they choose not to regulate.

              If the market doesn't work for the public good, it should expect to be regulated.

              • Phillip ure

                'they choose not to regulate'……the most glaring example of this is the handwringing around obesity…whereas the solution is simple…just regulate the maximum amount of sugar/salt/fat permitted in anything peddled as food/drink..as it is now any clown can order a mountain of sugar..add water and flavouring…and this poisonous crap is allowed to be sold in food retailers…this must stop…not doing this makes any other 'education/awareness/taxation solutions a total nonsense…how can it not…?

    • anker 5.3

      Don't believe Ardern and her team of competent people, Robertson, Hipkins, Wood, Parker and now Asha Vernall (sorry if I got her name wrong, epidemiologist) plus many other new and existing MPs…..

      If Covid was a job application we would give them the position and pay them the maximum amount possible to get them to take the job

  6. Patricia Bremner 6

    Jacinda has also promised stable Government. In times of chaos stability is gold.

    The foundations of change starts with changing hearts and minds and gaining permission.

    The building of more houses is alone not sufficient. As Jacinda said "we need to build back better." Warmer drier using tech and design to create useful spaces for living in, not as a wealth chip. Our difficulty now will be returning Kiwis bringing wealth and different expectations possibly distorting the market even more.

    Planning for climate change in electricity and sea rise. Problems are looming.

    Distributing resources so life is good for all, not just a few. Agreeing the mechanisms.

    Recognition of the changes required to meet Maori aspirations. The need for graciousness and generosity.

    Improving and conserving the environment. That alone would be hard enough but…..we are still defeating the pandemic, and awaiting a vaccine!! Keep moving Labour.

  7. dv 7

    I don't really understand why Savage could sort out the housing problem ion the 30s. And we can't now.

    • Ad 7.1

      Needs its own post.

      I'll see if I have a day to draft it.

      • dv 7.1.1

        Thanks AD
        Look forward to it.

        • Patricia Bremner 7.1.1.1

          Me too!! Looking forward to reading it Ad. By the way, I sent another thank you to Andrew Little. He and Winston changed things completely.

      • gsays 7.1.2

        I don't have any stats, but landlording may be part of the problem.

        The idea that you can rent a house as a business, demonstrate losses, thereby lowering your tax obligations.

    • mikesh 7.2

      It was John A Lee rather than Savage. He used Reserve Bank credit to finance the program, and, as he said in his book Simple on a Soapbox, there were at the time a lot of unemployed carpenters around that he could put to work.

    • PaddyOT 7.3

      This article I posted the other day might assist as it explores the history of NZ housing and

      "why Savage could sort out the housing problem in the 30s. And we can't now."
      At the end of this Policy Forum article are specific links to elaborate.

      Early history

      " Land in the colony was ‘commodified’ or considered an object whose paramount value was financial. Land and housing in the new settler society were objects for trade, and profit making rather than a collective resource to be shared for the security and wellbeing of all in the settler towns."

      Enter the state ( 1930s)

      "History also contains moments where the social value of housing has been prioritised and where the state has taken responsibility for increasing housing availability, quality, and affordability. "

      Mass ownership ( post WW11 )

      " Direct government supply of housing would, however, become a ‘residualised’ or less preferred form of housing tenure over time. Increasing living standards and canny political reframing saw private homeownership framed as the ‘norm’ in a time of post-war economic boom.[14] Over time, private homeownership took on a powerful ideological association with ‘freedom’ and ‘security’. Homeownership developed into a key tenet of the ‘Kiwi dream’.[15] Public policy and state finance were directed to support the expansion of private homeownership, including government supply of low-rate mortgage finance through the Housing Corporation and the ability to capitalise the family benefit towards a home deposit. State housing was recast as an option primarily for those who were not able to secure homeownership.[16] By the mid-1980s, homeownership rates reached as high as 74 percent while state rentals constituted only five percent of total housing stock; by 1991, the Housing Corporation (later Housing New Zealand and now Kāinga Ora – Homes and Communities), which administered state housing, held 70,000 houses across New Zealand."

      Both National and Labour governments with successive policies then progressively aided the neoliberal housing markets to reign.

      "The rise of the unbridled market" ( 1980s)

      Today's housing market is engineered to now prioritise first the financial value of land and housing, a market good to capitalise on, while the social value of land and housing such as in earlier decades ( as a social good ) has not become a government's priorities.

      Perhaps now, whereby inequality and poverty are exposed as being largely underpinned by lack of housing, piecemeal efforts will be made but IMO, in a runaway housing grab, capitalism will remain.

      https://www.policycommons.ac.nz/2020/10/06/transformative-housing-policy-for-aotearoa-new-zealand/

  8. Brendan 8

    Nat voter here.

    Make changes so good that the other side are not going to make major changes. Otherwise they are low hanging fruit for the other side to take when the winds of politics change. And then you end up with legislative tag every time the govt changes, the law changes to suit their tastes.

    The Welfare state, and interest free student loans are examples of policy which were able to survive a change in govt. Muldoon's axing of the third Labour* govt's super was an example where it was not able to survive.

    * Kiwisaver was one of the best policies of the Clark years.

    • Stuart Munro 8.1

      Given the current state of the National party, using them as a yardstick for policy would be, at best ill-advised. And you might consider the counter position – how often in recent years were National's ill-considered excesses rammed through regardless of consequences?

      Little matters like appointing Brownlee as Czar of Christchurch, and sacking ECan show that, far from aiming for a golden mean, National consistently acted immoderately, often stupidly, and relied on lying their way out of the consequences. This makes their views singularly unfit for consideration by the government the electorate resoundingly rejected National for, even supposing the current shambles could muster a coherent opinion any time soon.

  9. left for dead 9

    Interesting post Nick,hope all is well over there for you,regards Alex Mac

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    6 hours ago
  • Counter-Terrorism Legislation Bill returns to Parliament
    The Counter-Terrorism Legislation Bill has returned to Parliament for its second reading in an important step towards giving enforcement agencies greater power to protect New Zealanders from terrorist activity. “The Bill addresses longstanding gaps in our counter terrorism legislation that seek to protect New Zealanders and make us safer,” Justice ...
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    8 hours ago
  • Joint Statement: New Zealand and Australian Trade Ministers
    Hon Damien O'Connor MP, New Zealand Minister for Trade and Export Growth, and Hon Dan Tehan MP, Australian Minister for Trade, Tourism and Investment, met virtually on Monday 20 September to advance trans-Tasman cooperation under the Australia-New Zealand Closer Economic Relations Trade Agreement (CER). CER is one of the most ...
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    1 day ago
  • Prime Minister’s Post Cabinet Press Conference/COVID-19 Update opening statement
    ***Please check against delivery***   E te tī, e te tā, nau mai rā [To all, I bid you welcome]   As you will have seen earlier, today there are 22 new community cases to report; three of which are in Whakatiwai in the Hauraki area, and the remainder in ...
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    1 day ago
  • Major milestones for Māori COVID-19 vaccine rollout as new campaign launches
    Whānau Ora and Associate Health (Māori Health) Minister Peeni Henare acknowledges two major milestones in the rollout of the COVID-19 vaccination programme for Māori. “I am very pleased to announce more than 50 percent of eligible Māori have received their first dose and 25 per cent are now fully vaccinated,” ...
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    2 days ago
  • Government funding to fight infectious diseases
    $36 million for research into Covid-19 and other infectious diseases The investment will improve our readiness for future pandemics Research will focus on prevention, control, and management of infectious diseases The Government’s investing in a new Infectious Diseases Research Platform to boost Aotearoa New Zealand’s Covid-19 response and preparedness for ...
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    2 days ago
  • Quarantine-free travel with Australia to remain suspended for a further 8 weeks
    Suspension to be reviewed again mid to late November Decision brought forward to enable access from Australia to first tranche of around 3000 rooms in MIQ Air New Zealand working at pace to put on more flights from Australia from October    The suspension of quarantine-free travel (QFT) with Australia has ...
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    4 days ago
  • Extra support for Ethnic Communities to share vaccination information
    Extra support is being made available to Ethnic Communities to help them share COVID-19 vaccination information within their communities, Minister for Diversity, Inclusion and Ethnic Communities Priyanca Radhakrishnan said. “We know we need to get every eligible person in New Zealand vaccinated. A fund being launched today will allow for ...
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    4 days ago
  • School holidays remain unchanged for Auckland region
    School holidays in Auckland will continue to be held at the same time as the rest of the country, starting from Saturday, 2 October, Education Minister Chris Hipkins said today. “I’ve carefully considered advice on the implications of shifting the dates and concluded that on balance, maintaining the status quo ...
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    4 days ago
  • Government continues crackdown on gangs and organised crime
    Operation Tauwhiro extended until March 2022 Since it was launched in February, Operation Tauwhiro has resulted in:   987 firearms seized $4.99 million in cash seized 865 people charged with a firearms-related offence Gangs and organised crime groups will continue to be relentlessly targeted with the extension of Police’s successful ...
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    4 days ago
  • Speech to Body Positive 'HIV Treatments Update Seminar 2021'
    E ngā mana E ngā reo E ngā iwi Tēnā koutou katoa Ka huri ki ngā mana whenua o te rohe nei. Tēnā koutou. He mihi hoki ki a tatou kua tau mai nei I raro I te kaupapa o te rā. Nō reira tēnā koutou katoa Acknowledgements It’s a ...
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    4 days ago
  • Power bill changes bring fairness to charges
    A key recommendation of an independent panel to make electricity charges fairer across all households will be put in place, the Energy and Resources Minister Megan Woods has announced. “Phasing out the regulations on ‘low-use’ electricity plans will create a fairer playing field for all New Zealanders and encourage a ...
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    4 days ago
  • NZ economy’s strong momentum will support rebound from Delta outbreak; COVID fund replenished
    The economy showed strong momentum in the period leading up to the recent Delta COVID-19 outbreak, which bodes well for a solid economic rebound, Grant Robertson said. GDP rose 2.8 percent in the June quarter, following on from a 1.4 percent increase in the previous March quarter. This was a ...
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    5 days ago
  • Projects create benefits into the future
    Making a well-known lake swimmable and helping to halt the decline of the endangered hoiho/yellow-eyed penguins are among a suite of new projects being supported by the Government’s Jobs for Nature programme across the southern South Island, Conservation Minister Kiri Allan says. “It’s no secret that many of our most ...
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    5 days ago
  • Opening statement for Whāriki Indigenous Small Business Roundtable
      Kei ngā tōpito e wha o te āo e rere ana te mihi maioha ki a koutou nō tawhiti, nō tata mai e tāpiri ana ki tēnei taumata kōrero mo te ao hokohoko arā mā ngā pākihi mo ngā iwi taketake Tēnā koutou, tēnā koutou katoa – Pai Mārire.  ...
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    6 days ago
  • New members appointed to Kāpuia
    The Government is adding four additional members to Kāpuia, the Ministerial Advisory Group on the Government’s Response to the Royal Commission of Inquiry into the terrorist attack on Christchurch mosques. “I’m looking forward to having Pamela MacNeill, Huia Bramley, Melani Anae and Katherine Dedo  join Kāpuia and contribute to this group’s ...
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    6 days ago
  • Timeline confirmed for Emissions Reductions Plan
    Cabinet has agreed to begin consulting on the Emissions Reduction Plan in early October and require that the final plan be released by the end of May next year in line with the 2022 Budget, the Minister of Climate Change, James Shaw confirmed today. “Cabinet’s decision allows organisations and communities ...
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    6 days ago
  • Pay parity pathway for early learning teachers confirmed
    Pay parity conditions and higher funding rates for education and care services will come into force on 1 January, 2022, Minister of Education Chris Hipkins confirmed today. The Government signalled this work in Budget 2021. “From 1 January, 2022, centres opting into the scheme will receive government funding and be ...
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    6 days ago
  • Speech to the New Zealand Nurses Organisation Conference 2021
    Kia Ora tatau katoa.   Ka tuku mihi ki nga nēhi, He pou Hauora o Aotearoa, E ora ai tatou.   Whakatau mai  I runga i te kaupapa o te ra Te NZNO conference.   Tena koutou tena koutou Tena tatou katoa   Good morning, and thank you inviting me ...
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    6 days ago
  • Government investment in farmer-led catchment groups sweeps past 150 mark
    171 catchment groups have now been invested in by the Government 31 catchment groups in the Lower North Island are receiving new support More than 5,000 farmers are focussed on restoring freshwater within a generation through involvement in catchment groups  Government investment in on-the-ground efforts by farmers to improve land ...
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    1 week ago
  • Fight to protect kauri on track
    The Government is pitching in to help vital work to protect nationally significant kauri forests in Auckland, Minister of Conservation Kiri Allan says. “Ensuring the survival of these iconic trees for future generations means doing everything we can to prevent the potential spread of kauri dieback disease,” Kiri Allan said. ...
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    1 week ago
  • Joint statement of Mr Bernard Monk; Hon Andrew Little, Minister Responsible for Pike River Re-entry,...
    [Note: The Parties have agreed on terms to fully and finally settle the proceeding and will jointly issue the below statement.] At the heart of this litigation are the lives of the 29 men tragically lost at the Pike River mine on 19 November 2010 and to whom we pay ...
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    1 week ago
  • More financial support for businesses
    Today’s decision to keep Auckland in a higher COVID Alert Level triggers a third round of the Wage Subsidy Scheme which will open for applications at 9am this Friday. “The revenue test period for this payment will be the 14th to the 27th of September. A reminder that this is ...
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    1 week ago
  • Aotearoa New Zealand provides further humanitarian support for Afghanistan
    Aotearoa New Zealand is providing a further $3 million in humanitarian assistance in Afghanistan, Foreign Minister Nanaia Mahuta announced today.  “There is significant humanitarian need in Afghanistan, with the crisis disproportionately affecting women and girls,” said Nanaia Mahuta. The UN has estimated that 80% of the quarter of a million ...
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    1 week ago
  • Innovative te reo prediction tool announced in Te Wiki o Te Reo Māori
    A new Māori language prediction tool will play a key role in tracking our te reo Māori revitalisation efforts, Minister for Māori Development Willie Jackson announced today. He Ara Poutama mō te reo Māori (He Ara Poutama) can forecast the number of conversational and fluent speakers of te reo Māori ...
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    1 week ago
  • Further Government support for people to access food and essential items
    The Government is responding to need for support in Auckland and has committed a further $10 million to help people access ongoing food and other essential items, Minister for Social Development Carmel Sepuloni announced today. This latest tranche is targeted at the Auckland region, helping providers and organisations to distribute ...
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    1 week ago
  • Half a million Pfizer vaccines from Denmark
    The Government has secured an extra half a million doses of Pfizer COVID-19 vaccines from Denmark that will start arriving in New Zealand within days, Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern announced today. “This is the second and larger agreement the Government has entered into to purchase additional vaccines to meet the ...
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    1 week ago
  • Inland Revenue providing essential COVID support for businesses
    Inland Revenue is seeing increased demand for Resurgence Support Payments and other assistance schemes that it administers, but is processing applications quickly, Revenue Minister David Parker said today. David Parker said the Resurgence Support Payment, the Small Business Cashflow (loan) Scheme and the Wage Subsidy are available at the same ...
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    1 week ago
  • New Zealand marks 20th anniversary of 9/11 attacks
    New Zealand is expressing unity with all victims, families and loved ones affected by the September 11 2001 terrorist attacks, and all terrorist attacks around the world since, including in New Zealand. “Saturday marks twenty years since the 9/11 terrorist attacks in the United States, which killed nearly 3,000 people ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    2 weeks ago
  • Speech to SPREP Environment Ministers
    Talofa Honourable Ulu of Tokelau Faipule Kelihiano Kalolo Tēnā koutou katoa and warm Pacific greetings from Aotearoa to your excellencies, ladies and gentlemen. The new science released by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change on 8 August paints an alarming picture of the projected impacts of climate change on the ...
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    2 weeks ago
  • Additional Resurgence Support Payments to support business
    Businesses affected by higher Alert Levels will be able to apply for further Resurgence Support Payments (RSP). “The Government’s RSP was initially intended as a one-off payment to help businesses with their fixed costs, such as rent. Ministers have agreed to provide additional payments to recognise the effects of an ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    2 weeks ago
  • More Dawn Raids scholarships announced
    Details of the ‘Manaaki New Zealand Short Term Training Scholarships’, a goodwill gesture that follows the Government’s apology for the Dawn Raids of the 1970s, were released today by Pacific Peoples Minister Aupito William Sio. “These scholarships that are targeted to the Pacific will support the kaupapa of the Dawn Raids’ ...
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    2 weeks ago
  • One-way quarantine-free travel for RSE workers starting in October
      One-way quarantine-free travel for Recognised Seasonal Employer (RSE) workers from Samoa, Tonga and Vanuatu starts in October New requirement for RSE workers to have received their first vaccination pre-departure, undertake Day 0 and Day 5 tests, and complete a self-isolation period of seven days, pending a negative Day 5 ...
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    2 weeks ago
  • Govt boosts Pacific suicide prevention support
    Applications have opened for the Pacific Suicide Prevention Community Fund as the Government acts to boost support amid the COVID delta outbreak. “We know strong and connected families and communities are the most important protective factor against suicide and this $900,000 fund will help to support this work,” Health Minister ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    2 weeks ago
  • Govt parks the expiry of licenses, WoFs and regos
    As a result of the Delta outbreak, driver licences, Warrants of Fitness (WoFs), Certificates of Fitness (CoFs), vehicle licences (‘regos’) and licence endorsements that expired on or after 21 July 2021 will be valid until 30 November 2021, Transport Minister Michael Wood has announced today. “While this extension won’t officially ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    2 weeks ago
  • COVID-19 community fund to provide support for vulnerable women and girls
    Minister for Women Jan Tinetti today announced a $2 million community fund that will provide support for women and girls adversely affected by COVID-19. “We know that women, particularly those who are already vulnerable, are disproportionally affected by the kind of economic disruption caused by COVID-19,” Jan Tinetti said. ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    2 weeks ago
  • Next phase of support for Fiji’s COVID-19 response announced
    A further NZ$12 million of support for Fiji’s COVID-19 response has been announced by Foreign Minister Hon Nanaia Mahuta today. The package builds on previous tranches of assistance Aotearoa New Zealand has provided to Fiji, totalling over NZ$50 million. “Fiji remains in a very challenging position in their response to ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    2 weeks ago
  • Robotic asparagus harvester aimed at addressing industry challenges
    The Government is backing a $5 million project to develop a commercial-scale autonomous robotic asparagus harvester, Agriculture Minister Damien O’Connor announced today. The Sustainable Food and Fibre Futures fund (SFF Futures) is contributing $2.6 million to the project. Project partner Robotics Plus Limited (RPL) will build on a prototype asparagus ...
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    2 weeks ago
  • Additional Pfizer vaccines to arrive tomorrow
    More than a quarter of a million additional doses of the Pfizer vaccine are on their way from Spain to New Zealand, Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern announced today. The additional doses will arrive in Auckland on Friday morning to help meet the current surge in demand for vaccination. “It’s been ...
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    2 weeks ago