Progress from the Labour led government

Written By: - Date published: 8:04 am, November 30th, 2017 - 44 comments
Categories: Andrew Little, climate change, election 2017, farming, global warming, jacinda ardern, labour, phil twyford, Politics, poverty, sustainability - Tags:

The best way to restore faith in the idea of a good state doing good for the country is to deliver on your promises.

With the six-month fiscal update coming on Friday (remember that $4.1b surplus?), we need a summary.

1. Make the first year of tertiary education or training fees free from January 1, 2018.

Imminent. The minister’s been saying students should plan study under the assumption their first year of fees will be free in 2018.

2. Increase student allowances and living cost loans by $50 a week from January 1, 2018.

Done.

3. Pass the Healthy Homes Guarantee Bill, requiring all rentals to be warm and dry.

Imminent. To be passed this week.

4. Ban overseas speculators from buying existing houses.

Coming. Bill to be put into the House before Christmas, likely to be passed in February.

Also big reduction on items landlords can claim in tax rebates coming up.

Also, sales of all land greater than five hectares excluding forestry now must be reviewed by OIO.

5. Issue an instruction to Housing New Zealand to stop the state house sell-off.

Work in progress. Sounds simple, but Housing Minister Phil Twyford’s office says the details are “being worked through”. On-track to be announced within the 100-day timeframe, but I think he has some structural issues there.

6. Begin work to establish the Affordable Housing Authority and begin the KiwiBuild programme.

Work in progress. Mr Twyford is working on the policy, with the first steps “to be announced within first 100 days.”

7. Legislate to pass the Families Package, including Winter Fuel Payment, Best Start and increases to paid parental leave (PPL).

In progress. PPL legislation is expected to pass next week. Takes effect 1 July.

Families Package legislation to be introduced before Christmas, for passage by February.

8. Set up a ministerial Inquiry in order to fix our mental health crisis.

No progress.

9. Introduce legislation to make medicinal cannabis available for people with terminal illnesses or in chronic pain.

No announcements made on this either.

10. Resume contributions to the New Zealand Superannuation Fund to help safeguard the provision of universal superannuation at age 65.

Imminent this Friday in the half-year fiscal update.

11. Introduce legislation to set a child poverty reduction target and to change the Public Finance Act so the Budget reports progress on reducing child poverty.

To be announced. This one is Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern’s responsibility – she is Minister for Child Poverty Reduction.

Expect more direction in Friday’s fiscal update.

12. Increase the minimum wage to $16.50 an hour, to take effect from April 1, 2018, and introduce legislation to improve fairness in the workplace.

Underway. To be introduced into the House in February 2018, and will take effect from April 2018.

13. Establish the tax working group.

Started. The tax working group has a chair – Sir Michael Cullen – and has been given its objectives. Rest of the group hasn’t been appointed – first meeting in January 2018.

14. Establish the Pike River Recovery Agency and assign a responsible Minister.

Started. Cabinet has given sign off for Andrew Little the Minister to establish the agency.

Set up probably end of January.

15. Set up an inquiry into the abuse of children in state care.

Nothing clear on it yet.

16. Set the zero carbon emissions goal and begin setting up the independent Climate Commission.

Nothing clear on it yet.

This is the Green platform in the 100-day list.

Water Summit was scrapped in the coalition agreement.

Always more things to do – and points 5, 6, 8, 9, 15, and 16 should be watched – but they are doing what they promised.

44 comments on “Progress from the Labour led government”

  1. Antoine 1

    Some good progress

    A.

  2. greywarshark 2

    I’d like the tax working group to have some who focus on making changes that assist the low paid, taking away secondary tax, taking away the barriers to earning when on a benefit, so that people are encouraged to do as much as they can. Then they have an annual meeting to plan for the next year and how much or little benefit they still need as a safety net. That is the way to assist people able to advance themselves.

    And thee are my musings. GST to be reduced to 12.5% with 2.5% set aside for returning to region of origin to help provide infrastructure, communications etc that increasing business requires. That would be a virtuous circle, effort gets rewarded and supported, and then employment will grow so low income people will get some advantage from what would still be a high tax on their spending. I think that is on the way this term actually.

    GST eventually should come down to 7.5% and progressive tax be introduced, also a number of flat taxes, everybody pay 5% income tax, then those over $40,000 must pay at least 10%, and those over $80,000 20% at least and to $150,00 25%, over that 33%. Also I would like a presumed rate to be paid for a family which would be a flat rate that could not be reduced by charitable payments with tax deductions etc. It would ensure that everyone paid something near appropriate for their circumstances.

    And on land and foreign investment. On Radionz first Labour talked about what it was doing, then Steven Joyce was asked along for his opinion. WTF.

    • alwyn 2.1

      That might be what you would like but it certainly isn’t what Grant Robertson is demanding.
      He has specifically excluded most of them from the Cullen group’s review.
      I’m afraid this is one area where the incumbent Minister of Finance is simply out of his depth. Why do politicians who know nothing about the subject, insist that they must be the Minister of Finance? Is it just for the prestige of the job, even though they merely demonstrate that they are making fools of themselves in the role?
      There must be jobs Grant can do well. Minister of Finance isn’t one of them.

      I listened to David Parker on Morning Report today, talking about the OIO. He s one of the few Ministers who actually sounds as if he is on top of the job.
      Why isn’t he the Minister of Finance? We wouldn’t have to cringe at his remarks in the way we do with Robertson. We might actually get some sensible policy if he took over.

      • solkta 2.1.1

        Roberston is not the Labour leader and even the leader does not dictate policy on their own. The things that have been excluded look to me like the assurances they gave during the campaign rather than stuff Robertson personally doesn’t want.

      • Ad 2.1.2

        Biggest change I see is for landlords, whether it tilts NZ towards investing in businesses not multiple houses.

        If it doesn’t do that there’s little point to this government.

      • tracey 2.1.3

        At least we didnt get Joyce … his economic literacy or propensity for lying revealled again. Dodged a bullet with that guy.

  3. greywarshark 3

    And a sad tale of underfunding of universities here, too much spent on high cost IT with the complexity overblown when it could be done in-house or locally for half the cost, and wasteful advertising and promotion competition between universities.
    It would be sensible to market NZ as a whole, but who ever heard rational, sensible ideas coming from free marketeers.

    Massey is calling for redundancies in an effort to reduce costs. They have already cut out their humanities to do that. People can be seen weeping in corridors. We are sinking in world league tables which are important to get students who are major funding for the institutions because it is not coming from the crass business world.

    education
    38 minutes ago
    Loss of top scientists ‘will damage uni research’
    From Nine To Noon, about 9 a.m.
    http://www.radionz.co.nz/national/programmes/ninetonoon/audio/2018623630/loss-of-top-scientists-will-damage-uni-research

    Listen duration 25′ :17″
    One of Massey University’s top scientists says the decision to push through a round of redundancies to cut costs has been damaging and demoralising, and warns that many more could walk. Massey University sent the offer to all 1,000 staff in its Colleges of Sciences and Health at the end of last month, aiming to cut costs by $11.1 million in 2018 and by $15.7 million in 2019.

    Albany-based Distinguished Professor Peter Schwerdtfeger tells Kathryn Ryan it will put New Zealand-based research on the backfoot because there won’t be money to send academic staff to international conferences, or to bring in PhD students. Massey University Vice-Chancellor Jan Thomas responds to concerns.

    Lincoln last year was struggling with resignations with four deputy vice-chancellors resigning and the deputy vice-chancellor Maori and communities. Comment was that couldn’t get anything done. Too much being spent on consultants for which Lincoln had paid $3.4 million in fees. But Ernst & Young took tested their health and was to provide an options report (at what cost?)

    Which is one of the get-outs that neolibs give themselves when their ideas don’t work. Decimate staff numbers to be lean, but before the entity expires bring in high-priced consultants on a ‘temporary’ basis to give a semblance of normality and repair.

    Apr2014http://www.stuff.co.nz/the-press/news/9958677/Hard-times-ahead-of-bright-future-for-Lincoln-University
    Dec2015http://www.radionz.co.nz/news/regional/291637/govt-keeps-close-eye-on-lincoln-uni%27s-books
    Aug2016http://www.stuff.co.nz/national/education/83531551/lincoln-university-considering-private-investment-asset-sales-to-save-money
    Oct2016http://www.nzherald.co.nz/nz/news/article.cfm?c_id=1&objectid=11732037
    Sept2016http://www.stuff.co.nz/the-press/news/84521355/lincoln-university-reboots-yet-again
    Aug2017 (a Rwanda connection WYBI?)http://www.lincoln.ac.nz/News-and-Events/New-Council-member-part-of-Rwandas-recovery/

    The NZ brand is being flogged till it is threadbare with little repairs and no fresh support and investment for the future of well-rounded tertiary education.

    I fear NZ is on a hiding to nowhere. If we can’t do what is needed to save NZ in the next term, there will hardly be anything left except for what Maori have been able to siphon off to recompense them and they had better stand guard over that and their resources.

    The glazed eyes of ambitious money men and women aiming for the now defunct strata of the middle class are prepared to walk on the shoulders of others as they try to climb the barriers to the upper crust and their material flaunting. FTROY. Though they would be too nice and too devious to be so straightforward.

    • timeforacupoftea 3.1

      The world is awash of Scientist.
      Scientists and Statisticians are not that special anymore, they mainly collate the past informations, computers can take up many of those jobs these days.

  4. Quite a good effort so far. Probably go up a notch once all the staffers they’ve employed start work.

  5. james 5

    “1. Make the first year of tertiary education or training fees free from January 1, 2018.

    Imminent. The minister’s been saying students should plan study under the assumption their first year of fees will be free in 2018.”

    Thats all very well and good – but we are (from tomorrow) in December and we still do not know the rules on what can be applied for etc.

    I could work on the assumption that the first year is free – But that’s a huge assumption I am being told to make when planning a huge part of the coming year with no info.

    As an aside – Im thinking of taking labour up on this and doing some law papers – simply just for the fun of it.

    • solkta 5.1

      Lol. Law papers for fun.

    • Thats all very well and good – but we are (from tomorrow) in December and we still do not know the rules on what can be applied for etc.

      I’m assuming they haven’t changed the rules on that yet. So, what you could apply for last year still applies. Those ineligible for Student Allowance are still ineligible.

      As an aside – Im thinking of taking labour up on this and doing some law papers – simply just for the fun of it.

      Great, enjoy yourself.

      The more educated the populace the better even if they don’t directly use that education in their job.

  6. Brigid 6

    ” Im thinking of taking labour up on this and doing some law papers”

    That’s a good idea. Getting yourself educated is good for all of us.

    I think you’ll be required to undertake full time study though. Could you handle that?

    • james 6.1

      “I think you’ll be required to undertake full time study though.”

      This kind of proves my point. I dont know if that is correct or not – as you say “I think” Im guessing you do not either.

      And thats the problem – we are running out of time to plan and Labour still havnt released the detail to help people.

      • McFlock 6.1.1

        The detail’s pretty easy. Register now, withdraw if they don’t have their shit together when it comes time to enrol.

        • james 6.1.1.1

          Do you know if it has to be full time? Can it be part time?

          details “easy” – but important.

          • McFlock 6.1.1.1.1

            Hey, like I say, you don’t need to know now. Register, and if it doesn’t fund the course you want to do in your spare time, don’t enrol next year.

            Better yet, pop down to your local university law faculty, and ask a course advisor what papers you can do for fun. Those details are much more important, because course resources are generally planned according to registration numbers.

            • james 6.1.1.1.1.1

              “Hey, like I say, you don’t need to know now. Register, and if it doesn’t fund the course you want to do in your spare time, don’t enrol next year.”

              Some people want to know before they make commitments if the money is coming in or not.

              Its not unreasonable.

              • McFlock

                Registration isn’t a “commitment”. Nobody would move town or quit their job to study part time just because it’s a thousand bucks cheaper.

              • tracey

                Had you thought of finding out by more direct means than a blog? Ask Joyce he knows everything… if you are looking for a hole he is your man.

              • Barfly

                James you are trolling you know it -we know it – /yawn

                • james

                  And you are making a poor attempt at diversion as you know that the detail should be released by now.

                  • Robert Guyton

                    What’s making you so cocky these days, James? Your lot lost the election and are now wallowing in a sticky mixture of self-pity and denial, powerless in the face of a vigorous Labour-led Government, yet you still visit, puffed up and righteous, quibbling over tiny scraps of detail that are dwarfed by the filthy behaviours you cheered-on when National practiced them; your single-minded obsession with criticizing James Shaw contrasts starkly with your uncritical acceptance of the disgraceful, blatantly deceitful claims and actions of Key and English makes you look like, well, a silly-billy, yet somehow, you seem blissfully unaware of your foolishness, despite the best efforts of thoughtful commenters here to alert you to your silliness. My comment, like the many you’ve made here in recent days, is of little value in the scheme of things, but I was just wondering…

                    • james

                      “in the face of a vigorous Labour-led Government”

                      OK – that is the comment of the day – I actually laughed out loud at that.

                      You sir, are a comic genus.

                    • Robert Guyton

                      Thanks. My other comments (above) were just as accurate, I feel.

  7. 13. Establish the tax working group.

    Started. The tax working group has a chair – Sir Michael Cullen – and has been given its objectives.

    Got a link to the objectives?

  8. cleangreen 8

    Point number 1

    I would like to advance to you ADVANTAGE; and thanks for raising this we are most appreciative;

    On the last pledge number 16 you said nothing clear on it yet?

    16/ “Set the zero emissions goal – and begin the setting up of the indepentant climate change commission”;

    While that may seem correct the Minister of regional Develoment Hon’ Shane Jones, and Hon’ Phil Twyford have both sent out recently in two local regional papers HB Today and Gisborne Herald two press releases saying about the return of our Napier gisborns rail and other regional rail services and both MP’s have made it clear the return of the rail services will reduce carbon emissions and help reduce the climate change carbon emissions of CO2.

    https://www.stuff.co.nz/national/politics/99257012/rail-has-saved-new-zealand-15b-a-year-study-shows

    Also it was the excellent work by Phil Twyford on bringing the report to be seen in the light of day about this rail report hidden by national that actually showed the benefits of using rail that reduces the climate change emissions of CO2, so we advance that some work has already begun on planning rail use for freight and passenger is one of their ‘clear’ explanations of their intensions and methods to reduce the emissions of climate change CO2 air pollution.

    http://www.nzherald.co.nz/business/news/article.cfm?c_id=3&objectid=11948096

    QUOTE:
    “Twyford says rail has been on life support for too long; –

    “The Labour-led government will restore balance to transport funding, boosting investment in rail infrastructure both for passengers and freight.

    “This will include significant investment in regional rail via the Regional Development Fund, as set out in the Labour-New Zealand First coalition agreement.”

    The establishment of a light rail network in Auckland will significantly increase the $1.3b a year of benefits that road users, including freight companies, experience from reduced congestion, Mr Twyford said.

    KiwiRail chairman Trevor Janes said
    The benefits far exceed what the taxpayer is spending on rail, KiwiRail chairman Trevor Janes says.

    “These benefits do not show up on the balance sheet, but they are very real, and they make a huge contribution to New Zealand,” he said.

    “The areas where rail is delivering for New Zealand include cutting congestion, reducing greenhouse gas emissions, improving safety on our roads and lowering spending on road maintenance and upgrades,” Janes said.

    The largest contribution rail was making was the reduction of road use, he said.

    “Rail is taking cars off the road and it’s taking trucks off the road. That is saving the country $1.3 billion a year because it cuts congestion for all road users, including other freight movers,” Janes said.

    “Using rail cuts New Zealand’s carbon emissions by 488,000 tonnes a year. That is the equivalent of taking 87,000 cars off the road, saving millions of dollars,” he said.

    “Rail freight has 66 per cent fewer carbon emissions than heavy road freight which is useful for New Zealand reaching its ambitious climate change targets.”

    https://www.foe.co.uk/sites/default/files/downloads/travelling_rail_better.pdf

    ADVANTAGE;
    May we say that; – “the Labour coalition Government has begun some measures to reduce climate change emissions of CO2 using regional rail for ‘freight and passener services’ thus reducing carbon emissions of CO2?”

    http://www.newshub.co.nz/home/politics/2017/11/trains-save-nz-1-5-billion-a-year-report.html

    • Ad 8.1

      Pledge 16 . Is specifically on the Greens’ legislation.
      There’s no sign of it.
      So, no, we can’t.

      Presumably MfE are drafting it, but not even a smoke signal from the Minister yet.

      • cleangreen 8.1.1

        Thanks Ad,

        I am confident the green party will respond clearly on rail as they ‘historcally have espouded the advantages of using rail to lower the CO2 climate emissions, as I was a party member 16yrs ago and was known to their policies from then.

        We need to raise the issue so this was good poits to make now in the hoope all who read it will learn the truth.

        Once again thanks for the focus on the Labour Coalition pledges to complete in the first 100 days.

  9. Chris 9

    Glaring omission is getting rid of some of the benefit sanctions, like the s 70A reductions, unless that’s part of the Families Package. But going further into that, the government’s given no indication of what its position is on the Bill that promises to rewrite the Social Security Act. That Bill needs to be axed and work on fixing things started again from scratch, with a new group of people working in the area getting involved in how that should be done, advocacy and community groups like Auckland Action Against Poverty, CPAG, lawyer Catriona MacLennan etc. It’s important that it’s a completely fresh approach, away from the same old officials and MSD lawyers who’ve worked tirelessly over the past nine years to help the previous mob inflict as much damage as they can. They’re way too tainted, too far gone to be of any use for what’s needed now.

    • Michael 9.1

      Labour agreed with the Greens to “overhaul” the welfare system. What that means is anyone’s guess but, for me, the term is not synonymous with “tinker”. Since then, I see little evidence of any commitment to real reform of any of the social portfolios (eg welfare, ACC, disability). Meanwhile the bureaucrats are scuttling around Parliament, whispering their perfidious posion into receptive ears. The new government has got off to a reasonably good start, much better than I expected, but it is not evident that it is a government of change, as opposed to one of the neoliberal status quo. In some respects, I hope the alleged “secret agreement” between Labour and NZ First really does exist, instead of simply being another fevered National Party paranoid conspiracy.

  10. McFlock 10

    Pretty good for people who only just moved offices.

  11. Ad 11

    Paid parental leave extension bill now passed:

    https://www.tvnz.co.nz/one-news

    I’m suspecting more progress tomorrow as Robertson does his big set-piece speech.

  12. tracey 12

    You can just call it the Government we all know who it is.

  13. mosa 13

    Real action and real change.

    They have done more in the first month than the last regime did one year except to legislate to make the wealthy even more wealthy.

    They have three years to achieve results and i hope make the fundamental changes needed.

    They will face massive obstacles and challenges in our right wing controlled country.

    I hope when they get over the shock of discovering the corruption and deceit of the Key-English administrations that they act to stop future National governments getting away with the misdemeanours and corruption the last government was responsible for.

  14. Tanz 14

    Secretive, non-transparent, bumbling in the House, dodging answering questions, fudging answers, spending up large, petrol now expensive, food costs rising, rents rising, more taxes coming, think green taxes, and overseas investors locked out so far…I fear for the future of New Zealand, oh, the dollar collapsing, a PM who now won’t front up to media…and its only been a few weeks. Upsetting Australia and Forbes magazine saying NZ has lost its way already.

    • One Anonymous Bloke 14.1

      The dollar fell about ten percent in 1999. I recall what it was like. The sky fell on my head and there was a plague of boils and locusts and dogs and cats living together. Just awful.

      Unemployment fell to the lowest level since the 1970s, government debt fell to $10bn, business was good.

      Anyway, it’s great to see you’re still whining like a sore loser. Get used to opposition. Nine long years at least.

    • Macro 14.2

      Did I ever hear the donkey on “morning report”? Or any of his cabinet.
      No! Far to busy playing the fool on squawk back radio.

  15. Tanz 15

    Eighteen months at best, if that, Ardern is showing the strain already as the puppet master reveals all.

    • Macro 15.1

      Lol if you think No Friends National are ever going to get their fat arses back on the Treasury benches again you will be waiting a long time. Who TF want to be friends with that toxic lot. The longer they are in opposition the more despicable they become.

  16. McFlock 16

    lol

    that’s the next step in the tory grieving process: moved on from denial, now quibble over how long it will last. Soon you’ll reach the acceptance phase.

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