Saturday, November 25, 2023

Russell Palmer: Coalition details at a glance - What you need to know

National's foreign buyers tax will not go ahead, NZ First has secured a $1.2 billion regional infrastructure fund, and the new government will support a Treaty Principles bill to Select Committee.

ACT's policy for a Minister for Regulation will be accompanied by the disestablishment of the current Productivity Commission. Firearms laws will also be reformed.

The three parties have unveiled the details of their coalition agreements this morning, with National making separate coalition agreements with each of its partner parties.

Here are some of the major points:

* National's tax cuts will continue, but the parties do not promise any further tax cuts beyond 2024, and via the agreement with NZ First it will no longer be funded through a tax on foreign buyers - instead the money will be found through reprioritisation and other revenue gathering.

* The Parties confirm no ongoing commitment to income tax changes, including threshold adjustments, beyond those to be delivered in 2024, and recognise that details of the Fiscal 
Plan may be subject to amendment in response to significant new information or events

* Public sector agencies will each have expenditure reduction targets "informed by the increase in back office head count at that agency since 2017"

* The ACT agreement says the parties will introduce a Treaty Principles Bill based on existing ACT policy and support it to a Select Committee as soon as practicable. However, the NZ First agreement also requires the Coalition Government to "honour the undertakings made by the Crown through past Treaty of Waitangi settlements" and says it would "amend the Waitangi Tribunal legislation to refocus the scope, purpose, and nature of its inquiries back to the original intent of that legislation", accompanied by a review of all existing legislation to replace mentions of the Treaty principles with "specific words relating to the relevance and application of the Treaty, or repeal the references"

* A Regional Infrastructure Fund, proposed by New Zealand First, that will have $1.2 billion in capital funding

* 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

* NZ First secured commitments to "end all Covid-19 vaccine mandates still in operation", and ensuring a full-scale, wide-ranging independent inquiry conducted publicly with local and international experts into the Covid pandemic's handling including use of multiple lockdowns, vaccine procurement and efficacy, social and economic impacts on both regional and national levels, and whether the decisions made, and steps taken, where (sic) justified

* A "national interest test" will also be applied before accepting any "agreements from the UN and its agencies that limit national decision-making and reconfirm that New Zealand's domestic law holds primacy over any international agreements"

* ACT's plan to issue stop-work notices to departments on projects including Three Waters, Auckland Light Rail, Let's Get Wellington Moving, Income Insurance, Industry Transformation Plans, and Lake Onslow Pumped Hydro would also be carried out "immediately"

* ACT's policy to speed up the restoration of interest deductibility has been adopted, along with the parties tenancy law proposals like a "pet bond"

* Concurrent sentences would come to an end, prisoners would be required to work, and Corrections officers would get body cameras

* Legislation would be introduced to create a specific offence for anyone "who injures or kills someone with a coward punch"

* All references to gender, sexuality and "relationship-based education guidelines" will be removed and replaced from curriculums

* The Fees Free scheme will be switched from the first year free to the final year, with no change before 2025

* Requirements to remove nicotine, reduce the number of smoking retail outlets, end the generational ban on buying tobacco products, but penalties for sales to under-18s would be increased

* In addition to National's gangs and youth crime policies, the parties have agreed with ACT to re-write the Arms Act, and agreed with NZ First to train no fewer than 500 new police

* Firearms law will be reviewed and reformed

* National's commitment to requiring an hour each day of reading, writing and maths will be adopted, along with ACT's policy to reintroduce partnership (charter) schools and allowing state schools to become one

* National's commitments to the "taxpayers' receipt", removing two farming regulations for every new one introduced have been abandoned. The commitment to a new medical school will be subject to a full cost-benefit analysis

* The flexibility of the Medium Density Residential Standards will be accompanied by ACT's plan to share a portion of GST from new builds with councils

* The NZ First agreement also confirms the superannuation age will be kept at 65, the Retirement Villages Act will be reviewed, residential care funding will be investigated, a select committee inquiry into aged care provision and upgrading the Super Gold Card

* As per NZ First policy, the English language will be legislated as an official language, with all departments having "their primary name in English, except for those specifically related to Māori", a stop to "all work on He Puapua" and confirming the UN Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples has no binding legal effect on New Zealand

* Hate speech law would also be ruled out, with work on it stopped

* National's fiscal plan, tax plan, 100-day plan and 100-point economic plan will go ahead, with exceptions as specified in the agreements

* The current review of the Emissions Trading Scheme will be stopped "to restore confidence and certainty to the carbon trading market"

* NZ First secured a Select Committee inquiry into banking competition, focused on competitiveness, customer services, and profitability

* NZ First got agreement to explore options to strengthen the Grocery Commissioner and address lack of a third entrant

* Assessment and response to the impact of energy prices on inflation, and the impact of inflation on average tax rates will be assessed by 2026

* "Moderate" increases to the minimum wage each year

* Establishment of an "essential worker" planning mechanism will be investigated

* A study into New Zealand's fuel security needs will be commissioned

* The National Policy Statement on Indigenous Biodiversity will be urgently reviewed, the National Policy Statement for Freshwater Management 2020 and the National Environmental Standards for Freshwater will be replaced, and work on the new Significant Natural Areas will be ceased

* The Overseas Investment Act will be amended to limit ministerial decision making to national security concerns, with those decisions more timely

* Fair pay agreements and Labour's replacements for the RMA will be repealed by Christmas. New resource management laws will be "premised on the enjoyment of property rights as a guiding principle"

* Ban on offshore oil and gas exploration to be repealed.

Russell Palmer works as a Digital Political Journalist at Radio New Zealand. This article was first published HERE


DeeM said...

Well, thank goodness both ACT and NZFirst ended up in partnership with National, since they have contributed by far the most meaningful and necessary policies to our new government.

A National only government would definitely have been Labour Lite with no real change on the democratic, pro-Maori, and divisive social issues pushed by the Left.

Will the voters remember that in 3 years time?

Rob Beechey said...

Amen to that DeeM. Totally agree re Nationals vanilla policies.

Terry Morrissey said...

After having skimmed through the agreements from another source it becomes apparent the the National Party are almost redundant. Most significant improvements in direction appear to come from NZ First and ACT. If National don't start to get rid of some deadwood from their hierarchy they may find themselves as a minor party at the next election.

Anonymous said...

is it wrong for me to rejoice that ganesh nene will be looking for a job in 2024? would that be racist even if i'm an indian???