Government in a hurry – Luxon lists 49 priorities in 100-day plan while Peters pledges to strengthen NZ ties with USA
Yes, ministers in the new government are delivering speeches and releasing press statements.
But the message on the government’s official website was the same as it has been for the past several days, when Point of Order went looking for news from the Beehive that had not been pre-digested by hostile political journalists.
Beehive.govt.nz is currently under maintenance. We will be back shortly. Thank you for your patience.
Thanks to email, however, we have a copy of the press statement released yesterday by our freshly minted PM:
29 November 2023
Coalition Government unveils 100-day plan
Prime Minister Christopher Luxon has laid out the Coalition Government’s plan for its first 100 days from today.
And today, we were sent speech notes from the Deputy PM and Minister of Foreign Affairs, Winston Peters It was headed:
Keynote Address to the United States Business Summit, Auckland
Few relationships matter more to New Zealand than its relationship with the United States, Peters said.
The new government intended “to raise the energy and intensity” it brings to the relationship,
We share a special connection for we both retain democratic traditions that have stood firm despite the global upheavals they’ve faced.
Our institutions are founded on democratic values, respect for human rights, freedom of speech and assembly, and free and fair trade. Promoting and maintaining the rule of law is the defining feature of both of our political systems.
These strong foundations see our countries as two of only nine that have held continuous democratic elections since 1854. This achievement should never be forgotten, nor ever taken for granted.
It is too precious, because democracy is a fragile flower, and it needs constant nourishment and care to maintain the conditions for our societies to flourish.
It’s worth noting this emphasis on “democracy” in those opening remarks.
New Zealand has just gone to the polls and decisively cast votes to be rid of a Labour government which had no compunctions about undermining democratic arrangements by giving primacy to politically contentious “Treaty principles”.
Peters went on:
Because of these common values and democratic traditions, it’s hardly surprising that our global interests so often correspond, and that we have repeatedly worked together in times of international crises and in the face of major global challenges. And we will continue to do so.
He recalled that, in his previous term as Foreign Minister, he had delivered a speech at Georgetown University in Washingtron. He had urged the United States
“… to renew its focus on the blue Pacific continent because of the development needs, the increasingly severe impacts of climate change, the intensified geostrategic competition in our region, and increasing threats to Pacific peoples’ peace and prosperity.”
Peters said it had been pleasing to see that renewed focus begin under the last US administration, and New Zealand welcomed the greatly enhanced focus and initiatives pursued by the Biden administration.
For example, we’ve warmly welcomed the opening of new US Embassies in the region. Presence is critical to building enduring relationships in the Pacific.
We have joined the US-led Partners in the Blue Pacific Initiative which has been a catalyst for President Biden’s hosting Pacific leaders twice in Washington DC in recent years.
We’re delighted to see the return of the US Peace Corps and renewed attention from USAID in the region.
We acknowledge the significant lift in the contribution through the US Tuna Treaty.
And we have welcomed the increased US security commitment to the region.
The manner in which the US has engaged with our region has been instrumental in the Pacific’s success. The US’s meaningful and constructive engagement with Pacific regional bodies has helped reinforce and support the Pacific architecture upon which we rely.
As a small democracy with deep relationships across the region, and focused on regional security and prosperity, New Zealand had a crucial role to play in promoting shared values in our part of the world and in growing economic opportunity and performance, Peters said.
We seek to strengthen engagement with the US on strategic and security challenges, centred on our common interest in a stable, peaceful and prosperous Indo-Pacific. We can do this by,
- Being deliberate and attentive to New Zealand’s contribution to international and regional security challenges, working alongside the US and our many other partners.
- New Zealand pulling its weight, where we can have the most impact.
- Encouraging the continued step-up in US commitment and engagement in the Pacific, and advancing opportunities to work with Pacific countries.
- Seeking new opportunities to intensify and contribute to dialogue on strategic and security issues with the US.
- Maximising the value, not just volume, of our bilateral trade.
- Fostering our business-to-business connections and redoubling our efforts to resolve barriers to trade between our countries.
- Working with the US to strengthen supply chains and build our resilience to shocks.
- Seizing opportunities for collaboration in areas and industries that are key to building a more prosperous and secure future, including critical technologies and space.
“We know moving with the speed and intensity required to meet current challenges is going to require all of us to step up. New Zealand stands ready to play its part.”
Hitting the ground running was the thrust of the message contained in the press statement which Christopher Luxon released yesterday.
He said New Zealanders had voted not only for a change of government, but for a change of policies and a change of approach
– and our Coalition Government is ready to deliver that change.
It has 49 actions to deliver in the next 100 days, focused on rebuilding the economy, easing the cost of living, restoring law and order and delivering better public services.
The 49 actions include:
- Introducing legislation to remove the Auckland Regional Fuel Tax
- Repealing the Clean Car Discount scheme, also known as the ‘Ute Tax’
- Introducing legislation to refocus the Reserve Bank on a single mandate of price stability
- Repealing the Fair Pay Agreement legislation
- Stopping blanket speed limit reductions
- Starting work to establish a new regulation agency to improve the quality of regulation
- Repealing the Water Services Entities Act, also known as Three Waters
- Introducing legislation to ban gang patches
- Requiring primary and intermediate schools to teach an hour of reading, writing and maths per day starting in 2024
- Banning the use of cellphones in schools
- Setting five major targets for the health system, including for wait times and cancer treatment
- Introducing legislation to disestablish the Māori Health Authority
- Begin work to repeal the Therapeutics Products Act 2023
- Repealing amendments to the Smokefree Environments and Regulated Products Act 1990 and regulations.