Jacinda’s first 100 days

100 days. The first three months plus 10 days. It is a thing in politics to lay out for everyone to see what one plans to do in their first 100 days in office.

Well, most governments. I cannot recall any such plan being put in place by the LIberal Government of Malcolm Turnbull in Australia, which at a glance looks like it is really not supposed to be there. Clueless as to the issues, wracked by infighting and potentially crippled by revelations that several of its most senior politicians are not legally entitled to be serving, one cannot help but wonder if they will the next Government to fall.

Contrast that with former President Barak Obama of the United States and current President Donald Trump. Both had extensive plans for their first 100 days in office. Contrast it also with former Prime Minister John Key who also had a first 100 day plan.

So does Labour leader Jacinda Ardern. And yesterday she laid out for everyone to see, what Labour’s priorities would be should Ms Ardern and her colleagues in Parliament pick up enough seats to form a coalition. At an address in Wellington to hundreds of Labour Party supporters and their candidates, Ms Ardern told New Zealand what Labour would do as immediate priorities:

  • Urgent legislation banning overseas speculators by Christmas from purchasing houses that they are not going to live in
  • Tertiary education will be free from 01 January 2018

Other priorities outside the first 100 days, but within the first year of taking office would include:

  • The minimum wage will rise to $16.50 from
  • Implementing Labours family support package by not later than 01 July 2018
  • Locking in carbon emissions at zero
  • Investigating a capital gains tax that exempts the family home – no details until after the election

Whilst appearing to be a relatively full on agenda for the first 12 months, Labour caucus members need to be thinking at the back of their minds about a longer plan. I am not talking about one just until 2020 when Labour would be up for re-election. I am talking about a bigger vision for New Zealand for the next couple of generations. In other words a plan that New Zealanders can try to see into the future with.

Political parties – and this might be an M.M.P. symptom – generally seem to look at the country’s future through the election cycle, i.e. every 3 years. Yet they seem to like using the word visionary. It would be more realistic if they could think about the next couple of generations rather than the next couple of election cycles.

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