Parliament resumes this week

Parliament will kick off in 2018 tomorrow (Tuesday 30 January). The order paper includes:

  1. Electoral Integrity Amendment Bill – first reading
  2. Misuse of Drugs (Medicinal Cannabis) Amendment Bill – first reading
  3. Education (Teaching Council of Aotearoa) Amendment Bill – first reading
  4. Social Security Legislation Rewrite Bill – second reading
  5. Conservation (Infringement System) Bill – first reading
  6. Dairy Industry Restructuring Amendment Bill (No 2) – first reading

So the new Government is busy implementing their policies, but this is just the beginning of an ambitions programme. Much of this was signalled in Labour’s 100 day pledge, but that is mostly initiating things that will take some time.

Henry Cooke (Stuff): 100 days is almost up, but the real fight is just beginning

After five weeks off, Parliament will finally sit again on Tuesday, just in the nick of time for the new Government.

The deadline for their talked-up “100-day plan” of 17 goals is this Saturday.

Before then Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern and National leader Bill English will both give major speeches on Wednesday, hers on child poverty, his a scene-setting “state of the nation” speech to supporters. Ardern will also speak at Laneway festival on Monday.

So political junkies will have a lot of words to digest this week.

…the 100-day plan will not really end on the 100th day of the sixth Labour government.

The battles set up over the last two and a half months will last through until at least 2019, and possibly longer.

Of those 17 tasks in the 100-day plan just three are left: the establishment of an inquiry into abuse in state care, the introduction of workplace legislation, and new legislation to put a child poverty measure into our official statistics.

These are all just the beginning of something much larger.

In fact, almost all of the 17 goals are simply the start of something: legislation introduced, working groups set up, inquiries established.

Outside of the education portfolio little about New Zealand has materially changed since Ardern became Prime Minister.

Good legislation takes time, as does good social policy waiting for funding allocations (this will really kick off in the annual budget in May). There is one certainty – there is never enough money to meet all needs and wants.

Governments work slowly because it matters that they get things right the first time, and financial changes naturally shape themselves around financial years.

By the middle of the year poor and middle income families will be receiving a lot more from Working for Families and a lot more paid parental leave if their families grow.

But the families package, as expensive as it is, is not a structural change to the way New Zealand operates: it’s a shift in funding from tax relief to various benefits already administered by the Government, and a single new one – the simple Winter Energy Payment.

In the immediate term these kind of funding shifts can change individual lives, but this Government clearly has ambitions beyond that, for change that can’t be undone by a future Finance Minister short on cash.

Those kinds of changes – kicked off by the 100-day plan, but nowhere near completed – will dominate the term.

And unless a promise is broken it won’t all happen this term – the tax working group will make recommendations, but Ardern has committed to going to another election before implementing tax changes.

Political scientists don’t generally think that big speeches like the ones coming up this week matter, but politicians definitely do.

It’ll be worth watching both of them to see how each leader is planning to take on the battles this year will bring.

What Ardern and English say this week may give us some hints about how they will approach the year and the term, but it will take months and years to see how their actual actions pan out.

18 Comments

  1. Gerrit

     /  January 29, 2018

    Be interesting if the Labour/NZFirst/Greens government will address the issue of how to increase productivity, that will generate the tax cash-flow to fund everything.

    So far it has been all about tax spend not tax generation.

    • PDB

       /  January 29, 2018

      Increase debt for this term, rape the taxpayer the following term if they get back in.

    • Blazer

       /  January 29, 2018

      productivity growth ground to a halt…under the ‘soundeconomic..managers’…borrow 100 bil and…hope.

      • Kitty Catkin

         /  January 29, 2018

        Under Labour….spend every cent and hope. There’s plenty more where that came from.Plenty more tax money to squander.

  2. Corky

     /  January 29, 2018

    Time for National to start putting together their alternative budget. Time to look at Bill. Time to do any knifing if needed. Time to clobber these socialists at every turn as the heat and reality of being the government starts to bite. Catch Cry- ”where is the money for your credit card debt?”

    • Corky

       /  January 29, 2018

      Just seen Bill on One News. Yes, it’s definitely time National looked at Bill. After viewing Jacinda, it was really hard seeing Bill front for National.

      How’s the weight issue coming along, Paula.

      • PartisanZ

         /  January 29, 2018

        When Paula Bennett is the leadership hope of a political party you know you’re looking at two terms in Opposition …

        Especially when her gaining the leadership is likely to involve winning a b*^ch fight with Judith Collins!

        It’s a long wait for the National Party voting population to catch up with Jo Hayes and Melissa Lee, the true next generation of National Party leaders … especially considering the duration of ‘one generation’ of National voter is probably about 1.5 – 2.5 generations of any other sort.

  3. David

     /  January 29, 2018

    Pleasing to see an actual article in Stuff rather than the rubbish that Tracy Watkins has been churning out of late who needs to be reminded Ardern got pregnant by accident rather than had triplets, pushed NZ onto a growth path, solved child poverty and brought peace to the middle east while her progeny learned to speak 3 languages before starting pre school.

    • Kitty Catkin

       /  January 29, 2018

      Some accident-we have been told that she had ‘medical intervention’. The timing was accidental-I don’t think.

  4. And Labours medical Cannabis bill is little better than toilet paper………..

    • Zedd

       /  January 29, 2018

      @SLB

      I tend to agree, but even a ‘tiny step forward’ is better than Status Quo

      I emailed my local MP & highlighted that H Clark is now publicly supporting Greens Pvt Mbr bill (Chloe S).. hopefully it will also pass 1st reading.. ‘conscience vote’ :/

      • Kitty Catkin

         /  January 29, 2018

        Don’t be so ungrateful, Shane. Would you rather have things the way they are ?

  5. Zedd

     /  January 29, 2018

    looking forward to Q-time (comedy hour ?) 😀

    • Gezza

       /  January 29, 2018

      Me too. I’ve missed the Trevor Show.

    • robertguyton

       /  January 29, 2018

      Will we be able to see Paula…if she’s standing side-on??

      • Corky

         /  January 29, 2018

        Now you know why I think Greenies are prats. They are, in reality, no different from your average hate filled Lefty. Because they care about plastic pollution, they somehow believe they are sanctified.