Friday, November 24, 2023

Point of Order: Buzz from the Beehive - 24/11/23

Hurrah – we have a new government (National, ACT and New Zealand First commit “to deliver for all New Zealanders”)

Sorry, there has been no fresh news on the government’s official website since the caretaker trade minister’s press statement about the European Parliament vote on the NZ-EU Free Trade Agreement.

But the capital is abuzz with news – and media comment is quickly flowing – after the outcome of the coalition negotiations was announced. In a nutshell: we have a new government.

A copy of the incoming PM’s press statement can be found on the Scoop website.

We have not tried to digest it, except to note there will be no referendum on Treaty principles and the job of deputy PM will be shared by the leaders of ACT and New Zealand First on a time basis

Each deputy will serve in that role for 18 month .

Winston Peters presumably won the toss and opted to bat first. The pitch might have turned sticky by the time it’s David Seymour’s turn.

The coalition government will be the country’s first made up of three parties.

Here’s the raw statement:

National, ACT And New Zealand First To Deliver For All New Zealanders

The new coalition government of National, ACT and New Zealand First will be stable, effective and will deliver for all New Zealanders, National Leader and incoming Prime Minister Christopher Luxon says.

“Despite the challenging economic environment, New Zealanders can look forward to a better future because of the changes the new Government will make,” Mr Luxon says.

“I said on election night that we would be a government that would deliver for every New Zealander, regardless of who we are, where we are and whatever our life circumstances. How the coalition parties do that has been at the core of our negotiations.

“New Zealanders have put their trust in us. In return, we trust New Zealanders. We believe in this country. We are ambitious for it. We know that, with the right leadership, the right policies and the right direction, together New Zealanders can make this an even better country.”

The three-party coalition government is the first in New Zealand’s MMP history, with all parties represented in Cabinet. 
  • New Zealand First Leader Rt Hon Winston Peters will be Deputy Prime Minister for the first half of the three-year Parliamentary term
  • ACT Leader David Seymour will be Deputy Prime Minister for the second half of the term
  • Mr Peters will be Minister of Foreign Affairs, and Mr Seymour Minister for Regulation.
  • The 20-strong Cabinet will have 14 National Ministers, three ACT Ministers and three New Zealand First Ministers
  • Nicola Willis will be Minister of Finance, Brooke van Velden will be Minister for Workplace Relations and Safety and Hon Shane Jones will be Minister for Regional Development
  • There will be five ministers from National, two from ACT and one from New Zealand First outside Cabinet
  • ACT and New Zealand First will each have one Parliamentary Under-Secretary
“The Government will manage a strong economy that will ease the cost of living and deliver tax relief, restore law and order, deliver better public services and strengthen democracy.

“The coalition documents between National and ACT, and National and New Zealand First, provide for both ACT and New Zealand First to support the major elements of National’s policy programme including our 100-day plan, our 100-point economic plan, and our tax and fiscal plans, with some adjustments.

“The National and ACT agreement provides that the Government will progress a range of ACT initiatives, and these will be supported by New Zealand First. Equally, the National and New Zealand First coalition agreement outlines a range of New Zealand First priorities, which will be supported by ACT.

“The coalition parties believe people should be rewarded for their effort and hard-working Kiwis should keep more of what they earn. National campaigned on that commitment and, next July, the Government will deliver it.

“The tax package will continue to be funded through a combination of spending reprioritisation and additional revenue measures. However, as part of National’s agreement with New Zealand First, the proposed foreign buyer tax will no longer go ahead. Policy changes will help offset the loss of revenue from that change. National’s fiscal plan also had buffers which give confidence that tax reduction can still be funded responsibly.

“The coalition parties have adopted ACT’s policy to speed up the rate at which interest deductibility for rental properties is restored.

“Delivering tax relief is just one part of the Government’s plan to rebuild the economy. The Government will ease the cost of living, reduce wasteful spending, and lift economic growth to increase opportunities and prosperity for all New Zealanders.”

“Restoring law and order will be as important to the Government as it is to the public. In addition to National’s policies to tackle gangs and youth crime, the parties have agreed with ACT to re-write the Arms Act, and agreed with New Zealand First to train no fewer than 500 new Police.

“Part of treating taxpayers’ money with respect is getting better value from public services. We will set targets, like shorter wait times in hospitals, and public services will be delivered on the basis of need.

“To lift educational performance, every class will undertake an hour a day each of reading, writing and maths. The parties have agreed to adopt ACT’s policies to reintroduce partnership schools and to allow state schools to become partnership schools.

Other key policies in the agreements include:
  • A new agency, accountable to the Minister for Regulation, will assess the quality of new and existing regulation. This agency, proposed by ACT, will be funded by disestablishing the Productivity Commission
  • A Regional Infrastructure Fund, proposed by New Zealand First, that will have $1.2 billion in capital funding
“I thank the public for their patience since Election Day. It’s a credit to our country that we now handle the MMP process with such calm and maturity.

“I also thank the caretaker government for their assistance during the transition period.

“It’s exciting to be on the cusp of delivering a big policy programme with two coalition partners who, alongside National, are determined to make New Zealanders’ lives better.

“On election night, I said that we’d listened to the public and heard a description of a better New Zealand. New Zealanders want change that makes our lives easier. We want change that improves our opportunities. We want change that makes this great country even better. The Government is going to deliver that change and we are ready to get on with it.”

Readers who are keen to learn who’s who in the new government’s ministerial team, and how the portfolios have been allocated, David Farrar provides the answers with a list on Kiwiblog.

Point of Order is a blog focused on politics and the economy run by veteran newspaper reporters Bob Edlin and Ian Templeton

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