There is such a vast broad platform of policy on which this Labour-led Government is promising to deliver, that it is a bit difficult to know where to start. There are some Ministers holding substantial portfolio’s such as Social Welfare and smaller yet critical ones like Local Government who have yet to pop their heads above the parapet. Maybe they have significant work in progress that is simply not ready to face the harsh glare of the voting public, but it would be good to know that they are not “Missing In Action”.
This is a year in which Labour and its New Zealand First and Green Party cabinet colleagues will need start delivering significant policy. Reviews can only go for so long before they start to imply that the incumbent government is frozen on policy making.Such a freeze tends to send a clear signal to the voting public that the Government does not know what it is doing, which 18 months into its first term would be a really dangerous sign.
It has so far been a year where the major call has been to scrap a capital gains tax which will give attempts at equality reform the wobbles. This move will pile on the pressure in terms of expecting the minimum wage increases the state of a living wage to perform. It potentially locks away billions of dollars in tax that could be used to help fund projects that might now struggle to be seen or heard. And it is a move I am disappointed to see happen.
There are things that I am expecting the Government to deliver or start work on in this term:
- A comprehensive waste recycling programme that covers wood, paper, glass, plastics and aluminium – we have the know how, but do we have the will?
- Announcing how it will reform New Zealand’s schools 30 years after Tomorrow’s Schools, which was seen as a visionary programme in 1989, but is not so now
- Reform of Ministry of Social Development – I have mentioned in the past, the failings of this Ministry, which is straight jacketed by a legislative framework
- Reform of the justice system, which has lost the confidence of victims of crime and seems to be failing to address the reoffending of youth
- Sustainability – we might be phasing out oil and gas, but is electricity able to sustain New Zealand’s energy needs on its own; the reduction of carbon emissions affects the marine ecosystem; fresh water quality and usage is not sustainable
- Transport – a much larger investment in railways is needed; New Zealand also needs to look at a long term plan for the sea going merchant ships
Of course the terrorist attacks have overtaken all of this and we need to revisit how we gather and use state intelligence. We will need to revisit our constitutional arrangements sometime in the next decade or whenever the Head of State, Queen Elizabeth II passes on. And if that is not enough the West Coast flood event of 25-27 March 2019 raised some alarming questions about the readiness of the West Coast for a bigger disaster.
Much going on, but how is the Government going at delivering? Find out this year (and next).