Briefings to Incoming Ministers

The Briefings to Incoming Ministers (170+ documents) were published today:

Briefings to Incoming Ministers (BIMs) are to be made public today in one block, in another sign of the Government’s commitment to be open and transparent, State Services Minister Chris Hipkins says.

More than 170 documents will be published at midday on the Beehive website. They include BIMs for public sector agencies and Crown Entities, as well as supporting documents.

“The comprehensive release of BIMs in one go and in one place provides the public with a full picture of the issues the new government faces.

“While the documents contain a huge amount of information, we considered this to be a better approach than releasing BIMs one by one over time, which has happened in the past. It gets everything out in the open at the same time.”

“The documents reveal significant challenges, particularly in health, housing and social development. We will meet these challenges head on.

“They reinforce the need for urgent action in some areas. In our first 100 days, we’re already delivering meaningful change.”

The documents released are in the following categories:

NZ Herald: Briefings to incoming ministers: Highlights

Quote of the year finalists

Massey University’s NZ Quote of the Year 2017 finalists:

Vote here.

Thanks for the link Duncan.

Person of the year 2017 – the Silence Breakers

Time has announced a well deserved Person of the Year 2017 – the ‘Silence Breakers’.

Like the “problem that has no name,” the disquieting malaise of frustration and repression among postwar wives and homemakers identified by Betty Friedan more than 50 years ago, this moment is borne of a very real and potent sense of unrest. Yet it doesn’t have a leader, or a single, unifying tenet.

The hashtag #MeToo (swiftly adapted into #BalanceTonPorc, #YoTambien, #Ana_kaman and many others), which to date has provided an umbrella of solidarity for millions of people to come forward with their stories, is part of the picture, but not all of it.

This reckoning appears to have sprung up overnight. But it has actually been simmering for years, decades, centuries.

Women have had it with bosses and co-workers who not only cross boundaries but don’t even seem to know that boundaries exist. They’ve had it with the fear of retaliation, of being blackballed, of being fired from a job they can’t afford to lose. They’ve had it with the code of going along to get along. They’ve had it with men who use their power to take what they want from women.

These silence breakers have started a revolution of refusal, gathering strength by the day, and in the past two months alone, their collective anger has spurred immediate and shocking results: nearly every day, CEOs have been fired, moguls toppled, icons disgraced. In some cases, criminal charges have been brought.

The women and men who have broken their silence span all races, all income classes, all occupations and virtually all corners of the globe. They might labor in California fields, or behind the front desk at New York City’s regal Plaza Hotel, or in the European Parliament. They’re part of a movement that has no formal name. But now they have a voice.

In almost every case, they described not only the vulgarity of the harassment itself—years of lewd comments, forced kisses, opportunistic gropes—but also the emotional and psychological fallout from those advances. Almost everybody described wrestling with a palpable sense of shame. Had she somehow asked for it? Could she have deflected it? Was she making a big deal out of nothing?

Nearly all of the people TIME interviewed about their experiences expressed a crushing fear of what would happen to them personally, to their families or to their jobs if they spoke up.

Many examples are given in a long article, which concludes:

We’re still at the bomb-throwing point of this revolution, a reactive stage at which nuance can go into hiding. But while anger can start a revolution, in its most raw and feral form it can’t negotiate the more delicate dance steps needed for true social change. Private conversations, which can’t be legislated or enforced, are essential.

Norms evolve, and it’s long past time for any culture to view harassment as acceptable. But there’s a great deal at stake in how we assess these new boundaries—for women and men together. We can and should police criminal acts and discourage inappropriate, destructive behavior.

At least we’ve started asking the right questions. Ones that seem alarmingly basic in hindsight: “What if we did complain?” proposes Megyn Kelly. “What if we didn’t whine, but we spoke our truth in our strongest voices and insisted that those around us did better? What if that worked to change reality right now?” Kelly acknowledges that this still feels more like a promise than a certainty. But for the moment, the world is listening.

There are risks, but those are far outweighed by the risks of not doing anything about it, of sweeping an insidious problem under the carpet, of not confronting sexual harassers and predators who continue their attacks.

It should be pointed out that those mostly men being accused, while prominent people, are a small minority. The problem appears worse because the cretins often have assaulted and abused and harassed many victims.

Breaking the silence is a very significant step in the modern world. I hope it continues, carefully but loudly.

I think the Silence Breakers have the capability of making, forcing and encouraging significant positive change in society around the world.

Trans-Tasman 2017 MP and party ratings

Trans-Tasman has published their 2017 rating of MPs and parties. Kiwiblog has details (but links to the wrong year).

Average Ratings per Party

  1. ACT 5.5 (-1.5)
  2. National 4.0 (+0.3)
  3. Labour 5.0 (+0.9)
  4. Green 4.8 (+1.3)
  5. NZ First 4.5 (+1.4)

ACT is really the top rated party? Their party vote dropped from 0.69% (2014) to 0.5%.

Ratings for MPs in Parliament up to the election:

Top MPs

  1. Jacinda Ardern 8.5 (+4.5)
  2. Bill English 8.0 (-0.5)
    David Parker 8.0 (+2.0)
  3. Amy Adams 7.5 (-1.0)
    Simon Bridges 7.5 (nc)
    Christopher Finlayson 7.5 (nc)
    Steven Joyce 7.5 (+0.5)
  4. Anne Tolley 7.0 (nc)
    Andrew Little 7.0 (+0.5)
    Trevor Mallard 7.0 (+3.0)
    Grant Robertson 7.0 (+2.5)
  5. Nikki Kaye 6.5 (+1.0)
    Paula Bennett 6.5 (-0.5)
    Chris Bishop 6.5 (+1.0)
    Judith Collins 6.5 (+0.5)
    Julie Anne Genter 6.5 (+1.0)

Top Labour MPs

  1. Jacinda Ardern 8.5 (+4.5)
  2. David Parker 8.0 (+2.0)
  3. Andrew Little 7.0 (+0.5)
    Trevor Mallard 7.0 (+3.0)
    Grant Robertson 7.0 (+2.5)
  4. David Clark 6.0 (+2.5)
    Chris Hipkins 6.0 (nc)
    Stuart Nash 6.0 (+1.0)
    Damien O’Connor (-1.5)
    Phil Twyford 6.0 (+0.5)

Top Third Party MPs

  1. Julie Anne Genter 6.5 (+1.0)
  2. Winston Peters 6.0 (-1.5)
    James Shaw 6.0 (nc)
  3. David Seymour 5.5 (-1.5)
  4. Shane Jones 5.0
    Ron Mark 5.0 (+1.0)
    Eugenie Sage 5.0 (+1.0)

Interesting to see Genter rated ahead of Shaw. She will have tough competition to become the new Green (female) co-leader.

Scientists’ warning to humanity over health of planet

More than 16,000 scientists from 184 countries have published a second warning to humanity advising

In 1992, 1,700 independent scientists signed the “World Scientists’ Warning to Humanity.” The letter warned that “human beings and the natural world are on a collision course” and if environmental damage was not stopped, our future was at risk.

25 years on many scientists (and some politicians and others) believe that the world still faces major environmental challenges. So environmental scientist William Ripple and his colleagues created a new letter. Since it was published in the journal BioScience on Monday, hundreds more scientists have signed on.

The letter:

Twenty-five years ago, the Union of Concerned Scientists and more than 1700 independent scientists, including the majority of living Nobel laureates in the sciences, penned the 1992 “World Scientists’ Warning to Humanity”. These concerned professionals called on humankind to curtail environmental destruction and cautioned that “a great change in our stewardship of the Earth and the life on it is required, if vast human misery is to be avoided.”

In their manifesto, they showed that humans were on a collision course with the natural world. They expressed concern about current, impending, or potential damage on planet Earth involving ozone depletion, freshwater availability, marine life depletion, ocean dead zones, forest loss, biodiversity destruction, climate change, and continued human population growth.

They proclaimed that fundamental changes were urgently needed to avoid the consequences our present course would bring.

The authors of the 1992 declaration feared that humanity was pushing Earth’s ecosystems beyond their capacities to support the web of life. They described how we are fast approaching many of the limits of what the biosphere can tolerate without substantial and irreversible harm.

The scientists pleaded that we stabilize the human population, describing how our large numbers—swelled by another 2 billion people since 1992, a 35 percent increase—exert stresses on Earth that can overwhelm other efforts to realize a sustainable future.

They implored that we cut greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions and phase out fossil fuels, reduce deforestation, and reverse the trend of collapsing biodiversity.

On the twenty-fifth anniversary of their call, we look back at their warning and evaluate the human response by exploring available time-series data. Since 1992, with the exception of stabilizing the stratospheric ozone layer, humanity has failed to make sufficient progress in generally solving these foreseen environmental challenges, and alarmingly, most of them are getting far worse.

Especially troubling is the current trajectory of potentially catastrophic climate change due to rising GHGs from burning fossil fuels (Hansen et al. 2013), deforestation (Keenan et al. 2015), and agricultural production— particularly from farming ruminants for meat consumption (Ripple et al. 2014).

Moreover, we have unleashed a mass extinction event, the sixth in roughly 540 million years, wherein many current life forms could be annihilated or at least committed to extinction by the end of this century.

Humanity is now being given a second notice, as illustrated by these alarming trends.

Trends over time for environmental issues identified in the 1992 scientists’ warning to humanity. The years before and after the 1992 scientists’ warning are shown as gray and black lines, respectively.

Panel (a) shows emissions of halogen source gases, which deplete stratospheric ozone, assuming a constant natural emission rate of 0.11 Mt CFC-11-equivalent per year.

In panel (c), marine catch has been going down since the mid-1990s, but at the same time, fishing effort has been going up (supplemental file S1).

The vertebrate abundance index in panel (f) has been adjusted for taxonomic and geographic bias but incorporates relatively little data from developing countries, where there are the fewest studies; between 1970 and 2012, vertebrates declined by 58 percent, with freshwater, marine, and terrestrial populations declining by 81, 36, and 35 percent, respectively (file S1).

Five-year means are shown in panel (h).

In panel (i), ruminant livestock consist of domestic cattle, sheep, goats, and buffaloes.

Note that y-axes do not start at zero, and it is important to inspect the data range when interpreting each graph. Percentage change, since 1992, for the variables in each panel are as follows:
(a) –68.1%; (b) –26.1%; (c) –6.4%; (d) +75.3%; (e) –2.8%; (f) –28.9%; (g) +62.1%; (h) +167.6%; and (i) humans:
+35.5%, ruminant livestock: +20.5%.

We are jeopardizing our future by not reining in our intense but geographically and demographically uneven material consumption and by not perceiving continued rapid population growth as a primary driver behind many ecological and even societal threats (Crist et al. 2017).

By failing to adequately limit population growth, reassess the role of an economy rooted in growth, reduce greenhouse gases, incentivize renewable energy, protect habitat, restore ecosystems, curb pollution, halt defaunation, and constrain invasive alien species, humanity is not taking the urgent steps needed to safeguard our imperilled biosphere.

As most political leaders respond to pressure, scientists, media influencers, and lay citizens must insist that their governments take immediate action as a moral imperative to current and future generations of human and other life. With a groundswell of organized grassroots efforts, dogged opposition can be overcome and political leaders compelled to do the right thing. It is also time to re-examine and change our individual behaviors, including limiting our own reproduction (ideally to replacement level at most) and drastically diminishing our per capita consumption of fossil fuels, meat, and
other resources.

The rapid global decline in ozone depleting substances shows that we can make positive change when we act decisively. We have also made advancements in reducing extreme poverty and hunger ( Other notable progress (which does not yet show up in the global data sets in figure 1) include the rapid decline in fertility rates in many regions attributable to investments in girls’ and women’s education (, the promising decline in the rate of deforestation in some regions, and the rapid growth in the renewable-energy sector.

We have learned much since 1992, but the advancement of urgently needed changes in environmental policy, human behavior, and global inequities is still far from sufficient. Sustainability transitions come about in diverse ways, and all require civil-society pressure and evidence based advocacy, political leadership, and a solid understanding of policy instruments, markets, and other drivers.

Examples of diverse and effective steps humanity can take to transition to sustainability include the following (not in order of importance or

(a) prioritizing the enactment of connected well-funded and well-managed reserves for a significant proportion of the world’s terrestrial, marine, freshwater, and aerial habitats;

(b) maintaining nature’s ecosystemservices by halting the conversion of forests, grasslands, and other native habitats;

(c) restoring native plant communities at large scales, particularly forest landscapes;

(d) rewilding regions with native species, especially apex predators, to restore ecological processes and dynamics;

(e) developing and adopting adequate policy instruments to remedy defaunation, the poaching crisis, and the exploitation and trade of threatened species;

(f) reducing food waste through education and better infrastructure;

(g) promoting dietary shifts towards mostly plant-based foods;

(h) further reducing fertility rates by ensuring that women and men have access to education and voluntary family-planning services, especially where such resources are still lacking;

(i) increasing outdoor nature education for children, as well as the overall engagement of society in the appreciation
of nature;

(j) divesting of monetary investments and purchases to encourage positive environmental change;

(k) devising and promoting new green technologies and massively adopting renewable energy sources while phasing
out subsidies to energy production through fossil fuels;

(l) revising our economy to reduce wealth inequality and ensure that prices, taxation, and incentive systems take into account the real costs which consumption patterns impose on our environment; and

(m) estimating a scientifically defensible, sustainable human population size for the long term while rallying nations and leaders to support that vital goal.

To prevent widespread misery and catastrophic biodiversity loss, humanity must practice a more environmentally sustainable alternative to business as usual. This prescription was well articulated by the world’s leading scientists 25 years ago, but in most respects, we have not heeded their warning.

Soon it will be too late to shift course away from our failing trajectory, and time is running out. We must recognize, in our dayto-day lives and in our governing institutions, that Earth with all its life is our only home.

Full letter with supplemental files:

Click to access Warning_article_with_supp_11-13-17.pdf

Antarctic ice tipping point or irregularity

Summer sea ice in Antarctica dropped significantly last year and remains low. Scientists say time is needed (years) to determine if it is a one-off irregularity, or if a tipping point  has been passed and Antarctica is catching up with Arctic warming.



2017 (blue) is similar to an unusual low on 2002 (green), both well below median.

Newshub: ‘Daunting’ Antarctic sea ice plummet could be tipping point

A dramatic drop in the amount of sea ice around Antarctica has scientists wondering if the continent has hit a tipping point.

There has been a record 30 percent decrease in the total amount of sea ice, and this summer it’s disappearing from the Ross Sea at a rate not seen in more than 30 years.

The rapidly changing conditions are having a major impact on this year’s scientific research at Scott Base, with scientists describing the changes as “unusual”, “unprecedented” and “daunting”.

One of the affected scientists is Antarctic oceanographer Dr Natalie Robinson, who studies sea ice and what lies beneath it.

“We had about 200km of sea ice to play with last year, but this year we’re down to about 25-30km, so it’s certainly a very different ball game,” she told Newshub.

The Antarctic sea ice growth in winter and melt in summer is the biggest annual change on the planet. Dr Robinson describes it as the heartbeat or pulse of Earth, and it affects everybody because it drives global weather.


During November the sea ice edge is usually around 100km further north of where it is this year. For it to have broken out this early is a significant change and it’s causing alarms bells to ring.

“This is my 30th trip into the Southern Ocean and Antarctica,” climate scientist Professor Gary Wilson told Newshub.

“Of all the visits I’ve made down here, we haven’t seen the sea ice break out as much as it has this early.”

The sea ice is not only melting ahead of schedule, there’s a lot less of it to begin with. Last year there was 30 percent less ice – a drop of around 1 million square kilometres.

Climate scientists believe Antarctica may have hit a tipping point.

“This could be the moment that Antarctica is catching up with the Arctic,” Prof Wilson said.

Climate scientists will be watching closely over the next few years to establish whether this is a one-off event, or the moment Antarctica began to succumb to a rapidly warming planet.

A problem with monitoring the climate is it can take years to determine whether changes are normal fluctuations or signifying trends – and trends are unlikely to be smooth progressions.

Speech from the Throne

The Speech from the throne outlined the legislative intentions of the 52nd Parliament of New Zealand.

The first formal opportunity for a government to outline its legislative intentions is the delivery of the Speech from the Throne. The Speech from the Throne is given by the Governor-General or the Sovereign (if in New Zealand) on the second sitting day of a parliamentary term, when the State Opening of Parliament is held.

The formal purpose of the speech is to explain the reasons for summoning Parliament. It is usual for the speech to announce, in broad terms, the government’s policy and legislative proposals on the principal issues of the day.

The Speech from the Throne is prepared following a process determined by the Prime Minister, with officials assisting as required.

Delivered by Her Excellency The Rt Hon Dame Patsy Reddy, GNZM, QSO, Governor-General of New Zealand, on the occasion of the State Opening of Parliament, Wednesday 8 November 2017.

Tuhia ki te rangi

Tuhia ki te whenua

Tuhia ki te ngakau o nga tangata

Ko te mea nui

Ko te aroha

Tihei mauri ora!

E nga mema honore o te whare nei, te whare paremata o Aotearoa, tēnā koutou, tēnā koutou, kā nui te mihi ki a koutou.

It is a privilege for me to exercise the prerogative of Her Majesty the Queen and open the 52nd Parliament.

In September, New Zealanders cast their votes in the general election. After final results were announced on October 7, negotiations began towards the formation of a new government. That government has been formed by way of a Coalition Agreement between the New Zealand Labour Party and the New Zealand First Party, and a Confidence and Supply Agreement between the New Zealand Labour Party and the Green Party of Aotearoa New Zealand. The government took office when I swore in the Prime Minister the Right Honourable Jacinda Ardern, the Deputy Prime Minister, the Right Honourable Winston Peters, and other Ministers from the Labour, New Zealand First, and Green parties.

The government enjoys the confidence of a clear majority of members in the House of Representatives. It also enjoys the confidence of a majority of New Zealanders who voted in the general election. Its formation marks an important moment in the evolution of the mixed member proportional representation system – a system that was designed to ensure that governments could only be formed with the support of a majority of voters.

This new government was formed by negotiation – but it was a negotiation that allowed each party to remain true to its values and honour its core election commitments. This government will not be a government of parties acting separately, it will act clearly as one government in the best interests of all New Zealanders.

Honourable members.

The programme I will outline today is ambitious. It draws on the priorities of the parties. In the first 100 days, this government will put in place the building blocks for this programme of work.

This government is committed to major investments in housing, health, education, police, and infrastructure.  The Government will protect the environment, create more jobs and lift the incomes of families to reduce child poverty, while running surpluses and paying down debt.

In the last nine years, New Zealand has changed a great deal. Ours is a great country still. But it could be even greater. In our society today, no one should have to live in a car or on the street. No one should have to beg for their next meal. No child should be experiencing poverty. That kind of inequality is degrading to us all.

This will be a government of inclusion. All who live in this country are entitled to respect and dignity; all are entitled to live meaningful lives; all are entitled to care and compassion. Everyone should have a roof over their head and be warm in winter. Everyone should have food and a table to put it on.

This will be a government of transformation. It will lift up those who have been forgotten or neglected, it will take action on child poverty and homelessness, it will restore funding to education and the health systems to allow access for all, it will protect the environment and take action on climate change, and it will build a truly prosperous nation and a fair society, together.

This will be a government of aspiration.  It aspires to make this a nation where all cultures and human rights are valued, where everyone can have decent housing and meaningful work, where education is free and good ideas flourish, where children live surrounded by creativity and love, and are encouraged to reach their full potential, and where we become world leaders on environmental issues and climate change.

This government aspires for this to be a country where all are accepted, no matter who they are, where they come from, how they live or what their religious beliefs are.

To do this, we must focus on what is most important to us and what unites and connects us. For we are all connected, and the way we live has an impact on others. And so, this government will take an approach that looks across all areas to truly understand the interconnections. This government knows that the economy cannot be looked at separately from its impacts on the environment and society.

Honourable members.

This government is committed to building a strong economy, to being fiscally responsible and to providing certainty. It will work within the Budget Responsibility Rules that include running sustainable operating surpluses across the economic cycle, reducing net debt to 20% of GDP within five years and keeping government expenditure as a percentage of GDP in line with historic trends.   There will be a clear focus on sustainable economic development, supporting regional economies, increasing exports, lifting wages and reducing inequality.

This government will work with business to deliver shared prosperity for all. It will encourage the economy to flourish, but not at the expense of damaging our natural resources or people’s well-being.

New Zealand needs to measure success in new ways. We need to move beyond narrow measures and views of value and broaden the definition of progress.  The economic strategy will focus on how we improve the wellbeing and living standards of all New Zealanders.  As agreed between Labour and the Green Party, this government will develop a comprehensive set of environmental, social and economic sustainability indicators to better show how we are doing as a country.

There will be a progressive tax system where everyone pays their fair share, according to their means, so together we have the resources to provide quality public services for all New Zealanders.

The government will review the tax system, looking at all options to improve its structure, fairness and balance, including better supporting regions and exporters, addressing the capital gain associated with property speculation and ensuring that multinationals contribute their share. Penalties for corporate fraud and tax evasion will increase. Personal income taxes, taxes on the family home and GST will remain at the same rates as they are today.

As pledged during the election campaign, any significant decisions on tax changes will not take effect until the 2021 tax year.

Contributions to the New Zealand Superannuation Fund will resume immediately to help safeguard the provision of universal superannuation at age 65, and as part of the Agreement with New Zealand First, the government will introduce a new-generation SuperGold smartcard containing entitlements and concessions.

Building a truly prosperous country means sharing the wealth generated by our economy with a wider range of New Zealanders. As agreed in the coalition agreement between Labour and New Zealand First, the government’s 100 Day Plan includes a commitment to raise the minimum wage to $16.50 an hour from April 1, rising to $20 an hour by 2020.   We must aspire to be more than a low wage economy.

Honourable members.

A shift is required to create a more productive economy. This government will support those who produce goods and services, export and provide decent jobs for New Zealanders. This does not mean increasing productivity through more people working more hours to increase outputs, while eroding our natural and social assets.

This means working smarter, with new technologies, reducing the export of raw commodities and adding more value in New Zealand. For example, by securing the supply for forestry processing, greater investment in fishing and aquaculture, increasing skills and training, and more research and development to add value to dairy and other products and to create new technologies.

Monetary policy will be reformed. The Reserve Bank Act will be reviewed, and a new objective added to include a commitment to maximising employment. The Bank’s decision-making processes will be changed so that a committee, including external appointees, will be responsible for setting the Official Cash Rate, improving transparency. Price stability will continue to be a focus, with the same inflation goals as now.

High quality trade agreements that benefit our exporters, at the same time as protecting New Zealand’s sovereignty, will be supported. This government will make sure New Zealand always retains the right to make laws in the public interest. This includes seeking to renegotiate the Trans Pacific Partnership to exclude investor state dispute mechanisms and avoid their inclusion in all future agreements. This government will also pursue new trade opportunities, including with Russia and its Custom Union partners, Europe and the United Kingdom post-Brexit.

The benefits of economic prosperity will be fairly shared with the regions, so people have the resources they need to deliver on their potential, wherever they live. This government will invest in regional infrastructure and broadband.

The coalition agreement between Labour and New Zealand First commits this government to a $1 billion per annum Regional Development (Provincial Growth) Fund. This includes significant investment in regional rail and other large capital projects. The future of the upper North Island Ports, including examination of whether Ports of Auckland should be moved to Northport, near Whangarei, will be considered as part of a wider ports strategy,

Some government services will be regionalised. The New Zealand Forestry Service will be re-established and located in regional New Zealand. This government is committed to a new planting programme, planting 100 million trees a year to reach a billion more trees in ten years. This New Zealand First initiative also connects directly to this government’s determination to take action on climate change.

Honourable members.

Climate change is the greatest challenge facing the world. If we do not urgently reduce our emissions of greenhouse gases, warming will disrupt the climate which our agriculture and other industries depend upon, and sea-level rise will affect our coastal cities, along with other profound changes.

New Zealand must do its part, as the cost of doing nothing is too high. This government will set a target of a Net Zero Carbon Emissions Economy by 2050, with legally binding emissions reduction targets and carbon budgets to keep New Zealand on track to this goal.

An independent Climate Commission will be established to recommend interim emissions reduction targets and provide advice, focusing on policy development and initiatives in transport, urban form, energy and primary industries.

This government will restore an effective pricing mechanism for climate pollution, with the Climate Commission to determine more details, including how to transition to 100 per cent renewable electricity by 2035, and how to bring agriculture into the scheme.

This government will support a just transition for workers in industries that need to reduce emissions, and it will support the creation of jobs in sectors that are carbon-free or carbon sinks, such as forestry.  Farmers operating at best practice will be credited for emissions reductions.

The agreement between Labour and the Green Party also provides for up to $1 billion of new investment to be stimulated in low carbon industries by 2020, kick-started by a government-backed Green Investment Fund of $100 million.

This ambitious plan to take real action on climate change will involve all New Zealanders. This government will act as a role model, showing leadership by requiring State-owned enterprises and other government organisations to pursue low-carbon options and technologies, including electric vehicles for all Government vehicle fleets. Young people will be encouraged to take part in a Youth Climate Change Challenge.

There are other environmental challenges to be faced. This government is conscious of increasing pressure on our natural resources, as environmental pressure points are reached. It is clear New Zealand needs to improve the way it manages natural resources.

Our lakes and rivers need to be protected and restored, which can only happen if all water users and the government work together. The government will offer young people without jobs the opportunity to work to improve the health of this country’s waterways, with the aim of restoring them to a swimmable state within a generation.

Support will be given to regional councils to better monitor and control nutrients and sediments in waterways. The agriculture sector will also be assisted to improve water quality and to shift to more sustainable land uses, such as forestry.

Existing Crown investments in irrigation will be honoured, but government support for irrigation will not grow. Commercial users who profit from bottling water and exporting it overseas will pay a royalty. Action will also be taken on improving cities’ water quality, with higher water quality standards for both urban and rural areas.

Other environment initiatives include a commitment to minimising waste to landfill and a fund to take action on old tyres.

This government will increase funding for the Department of Conservation, to reduce the extinction risk for 3,000 threatened plant and wildlife species. More support will be given for National Science Challenges, including piloting alternatives to 1080 and countering myrtle rust and kauri dieback. There will be no new mines on conservation land.

This government will take steps to improve our resource management system, with better spatial planning and better enforcement. An urban development agency will be introduced, and more emphasis placed on public transport and light rail.

This government will remove the Auckland urban growth boundary and free up density controls. New developments, both in Auckland and the rest of New Zealand, will be able to be funded through innovative new financing methods like infrastructure bonds. This government will also give Auckland Council the ability to implement a regional fuel tax.

To help ease pressures on our housing, infrastructure and public services, this government will make sure we get our immigration settings right.  It will cut down on low quality international education courses and will ensure work visas issued reflect genuine skill shortages.

Housing is a top priority for this government. Action will be taken to address homelessness. State house sell offs will stop. And the State will take the lead in building affordable houses.  Through its Kiwibuild programme, this government pledges to build 100,000 high quality, affordable homes over the next 10 years; half of them in Auckland.

A Housing Commission will work with the private sector, councils and iwi to cut through red tape, undertake major projects and ensure new, affordable homes are built rapidly.

This work will begin immediately, as part of this government’s 100 Day Plan. To boost the workforce, employers will be financially supported to train 4000 young people as apprentices, including on-the-job construction training.

High demand for housing will be dealt with by cracking down on speculators who are pushing prices out of reach of first home buyers. Foreign speculators will be banned from buying existing New Zealand homes. A comprehensive register of foreign-owned land and housing will be created, and the Overseas Investment Act will be strengthened.

The ‘bright line test’ will be extended, so income tax is paid on any gains from the sale of residential property bought and sold within five years. Speculators will also no longer be able to use tax losses on rental properties to offset tax on other income.

This government will make life better for renters. A ‘Rent to Own’ scheme will be developed. All rental properties will be required to meet standards for insulation, heating and drainage. Funding for home insulation in general will be boosted and a Winter Energy payment will be introduced for superannuitants and those receiving main benefits. This government aims to ensure that every New Zealander has access to a warm, dry, safe home.

Honourable members.

This government will address the social deficit in this country and it will start with children. About 290,000 children live in poverty in New Zealand, in many cases without adequate food, healthcare and housing. Poverty hurts everyone, but it hurts children the most. Every child should be able to grow up free from poverty. To show the importance of this issue, the Prime Minister the Right Honourable Jacinda Ardern will take on the newly created role of Minister for Child Poverty Reduction.

Child poverty is a moral issue but it is also an economic one. Infometrics has estimated that poor investment in children in their early years costs the country between $6 billion and $8 billion per annum.

This government will put child poverty at the heart of government policy development and decision-making. It will establish targets to reduce the impact of child poverty and it will put these into law.  A work programme will be put in place across all relevant areas of government to achieve these targets.  Heads of government departments will be required to work together to deliver real reductions in child poverty.

To deliver genuine change for children, transparent mechanisms are needed to hold the government to account on poverty reduction. This government will also change the Public Finance Act so that, every Budget, New Zealanders will hear about how many kids have been lifted out of poverty and we can all see clearly what more needs to be done.

If we put child well-being at the heart of what we do, then the well-being of all New Zealanders will be lifted.

This government will invest in children and in families, increasing working for families, extending paid parental leave and bringing back the family benefit in the form of the Best Start package. This legislation will be introduced in the first 100 days, to take effect from July 1.

This government will repeal the tax cuts proposed by the previous government which would have seen $400 million a year going to the highest income earners. Instead, the government’s new Families’ Package will see 70 per cent of families with children better off, and will lift 30,000 more children out of poverty.

This government will ensure access to entitlements and remove excessive sanctions in the welfare system. But it will also go further. This government will consider the long-term changes which need to occur to our systems of welfare and employment and education, to look at how we value people, how we define decent employment and how we ensure people have sustainable incomes. It will eliminate the gender pay gap within the core public sector and encourage the private sector to do the same.

Honourable members.

One of the keys to better lives is education.

As well as being committed to increasing skills and training, this government will ensure our education system provides what is needed for the young people of New Zealand to do well in this rapidly changing world.

This government will revolutionise education by placing young people and their needs at the centre of the system and increasing funding at all levels. It will invest an additional $6 billion over four years in modernising our education system, including $1.8 billion to deliver more teachers, better professional development and more learning resources.  This scale and focus of investment will be both transformational for the development of our future generations and will strengthen the economy.

It will remove or reduce financial barriers to access, by offering more funding to schools that do not charge fees, by making the first year of tertiary education free, with the intention of making the first three years free in future terms, and by increasing student allowances and living cost payments. Those tertiary education changes will come into effect from January 1 next year, as part of the 100 Day Plan.

This government will develop a 30-year strategic plan for education. It will support quality teaching and education that equips students for the 21st century. It will not include charter schools and will support high quality public education accessible to all.

It will end bureaucratic national standards and replace them with new forms of assessment that meaningfully reflect student achievement. It will ensure that all students have access to technology to support their learning, and it will ensure that every child with special needs and learning difficulties can participate fully in school life.

This government will modernise and re-develop a comprehensive system of careers advice and guidance that is integrated into learning and will ensure every student has a career plan that is regularly updated through thier schooling.

This government will offer all high school students free driver training and financial literacy, as part of a toolkit giving all school leavers valuable practical skills.

It will pilot counsellors in primary schools, and it will rebuild outdated or unsuitable classrooms. It will grow the number of early childhood centres, and fund them to employ qualified and registered teachers.

It will support apprenticeships with incentives for employers to take on unemployed young people as apprentices. It will reinstate funding for night classes. And it will encourage lifelong learning.

Honourable members.

Health will also be a top priority. This government will restore funding to the health system to allow access for all. It will invest in the health system to provide the highest levels of care, support and treatment, wherever people live in New Zealand.

This government will put a real focus on primary health. GP fees subsidies will be increased to cut fees by $10 a visit, and the longer term funding system will be reviewed to ensure  doctor visits remain affordable into the future. Free doctor visits will be extended to everyone under 14, with teen health checks for all Year 9 students. Seniors will be entitled to an annual free health and eye check as part of the new SuperGold Card.

Funding for alcohol and drug addiction services will increase, and drug addiction will be treated as a health issue. Medicinal cannabis will be made available for people with terminal illnesses or in chronic pain. As part of the Confidence and Supply Agreement with the Green Party, this government is committed to holding a referendum on legalising the personal use of cannabis at, or by, the 2020 election.

There will be a special focus on mental health.  A ministerial inquiry into mental health will be set up and the Mental Health Commission will be re-established.  A review of mental health and addiction services will identify gaps and what more is needed to better care for people.

New Zealand’s high suicide rate, especially for adolescents, is shameful. This government will increase resources for frontline health workers and will put more nurses in schools to make it easier for young people and others with mental health problems to get the help they need. Free counselling will be available for those under 25.

This government wants to foster a kinder, more caring society. This will involve government leading the way and facing up to its responsibilities and the legacies from the past.

There will be an independent inquiry into historical claims of abuse of children in State care with a view to learning lessons to ensure that policy is changed to minimise the risk of this happening in the future.

This government will stand with the families of Pike River and reaffirm its commitment to safe workplaces. The Honourable Andrew Little, alongside the deputy Prime Minister, will be the Minister responsible for overseeing a safe re-entry of Pike River, where 29 people lost their lives in 2010. This is not just about those men and their families. It is about all working people, and the right to return home safe to loved ones at the end of the day.

As part of keeping our society safe, this government intends to add another 1800 new police officers over the next years and will investigate a volunteer rural constabulary programme. Community law centre funding will increase and a Criminal Cases Review Commission will be established. Family violence networks, including Women’s Refuge and Shakti, will get more funding.

This government will foster a more open and democratic society. It will strengthen transparency around official information. It will undertake an independent review to enhance the integrity of the electoral process and enrolments, ensure Parliament’s processes reflect MMP, and that the make-up of parliament continues to reflect the expressed preference of voters

Honourable members.

This government is proud to have the most Māori and Pacific Island cabinet ministers of any New Zealand government; with eight Māori and four Pacific Island ministers.

When our forebears signed the Treaty of Waitangi more than 170 years ago they did so in a spirit of cooperation.

Whatever else that agreement might have meant, it was supposed to bring opportunity and mutual benefit for tangata whenua and settlers alike. It was supposed to provide a place for all peoples in this country.

Instead what followed was a long process of colonisation, in which one of the treaty partners acquired most of the power and the resources, and the other was sidelined.

For almost 40 years, New Zealand has been addressing past injustices. Most of New Zealand’s major iwi are now involved in treaty settlements. This government is committed to bringing others to completion as quickly and fairly as it can.

It is time to start considering what the treaty relationship might look like after historical grievances are settled. To consider how we, as a nation, can move forward in ways that honour the original treaty promise.

A promise of a nation in which Māori values – diverse as they are – stand in their rightful place alongside those of European New Zealanders and other more recent arrivals.

A nation in which manaakitanga  and kaitiakitanga and whanaungatanga inform our decision-making.

A nation in which fairness and equality of opportunity are not just aspirations but facts. And a nation in which all communities are empowered.

This government looks forward to working with Māori communities and with other New Zealanders to support them to pursue their aspirations for better health, better housing, and better education for their rangatahi.

It will review the Whānau Ora delivery model so it can achieve its full potential. It will work with hapū and iwi and Māori organisations to ensure that Māori have fair and equal access to housing and opportunities for home ownership.

It will support the teaching of te reo Māori in schools. And it will strengthen programmes to enhance Māori educational achievement.

Honourable members.

People will always be at the heart of this government.

New Zealand has a great opportunity now to become a kinder, more caring and confident nation. This will take courage. We will have to do things differently. But it is possible, if we include each and every person, in each and every town and region of New Zealand.

This government invites you all to join us in creating a better future together. A future with a fair and unified New Zealand, where the wellbeing of all New Zealanders is at the heart of all we do.

Because, after all, what is the most important thing in the world?

He aha te mea nui o te ao? He tangata, he tangata, he tangata. It is the people, it is the people, it is the people.

No reira, tena koutou, tena koutou, tena tatou katoa.

Voter turnout by age group

Here are the final voter turnout totals and percentages by age band for the 2017 election:


Turnout is voters as % of total enrolled.

Under 30 turnout increased significantly more than older age brackets. This may be due to efforts to encourage young people to vote, and may also be influenced by increasingly easy advance voting options, including polling booths on university campuses.

It may also be that younger peoeple were more inclined to vote this time because Labour suddenly didn’t look hopeless any more, and Jacinda Ardern encouraged them to participate.

Whatever the reasons, higher turnout, especially of young voters, is a good thing.

Age band comparison of turnout:



Roy Morgan post-election poll

The first post-election poll is from Roy Morgan:

  • National 46%
  • Labour 31%
  • Greens 11%
  • NZ First 6.5%
  • TOP 2.0%
  • Maori Party 1.5%
  • ACT Party 0.5%

It’s a bit surprising to see Labour down 5% from their election result, and Greens up 5% on  their’s

Combined totals:

  • Labour+Greens 42%
  • Labour+NZ First 37.5%
  • Labour+Greens+NZ First 48.5%

The polling period was 25 September to 8 October, so straight after the election but before Winston Peters chose tenable a government with Labour and Greens.

Of course these results don’t matter but they are of a little bit of interest to see how the public views the parties after the election.

Election results since MMP started plus polls before and after this election:





Disallowed special votes

Relatively very small numbers apart from ‘not enrolled anywhere’.