Prime Minister Christopher Luxon has revealed the Government’s 100-day Action Plan, which he insists will make a difference to people’s wallets as they continue to navigate the cost-of-living crunch.
Yesterday, the Reserve Bank left the OCR unchanged and forecast the possibility of an increase next year.
The Government’s plan includes National’s key pledges as well as those from coalition partners Act and New Zealand First, including substantive changes such as to firearms laws and smoke-free legislation, and less substantive ones such as stopping work on He Puapua (which stopped in December 2022) and dropping Labour’s prisoner reduction target (which was discarded during the election campaign).
It also includes scrapping “industry transformation plans”, which are long-term partnerships between government and business, workers and Māori across eight industries including advanced manufacturing, agritech, construction, fisheries, forestry and wood processing, and tourism.
The Government will also repeal Labour’s RMA 2.0 laws and reinstate the Resource Management Act before Christmas. That law, ironically, requires that the principles of the Treaty of Waitangi be taken into account - something the new Government says it will review all legislation for and, according to the NZ First-National agreement, “replace all such references with specific words relating to the relevance and application of the Treaty, or repeal the references”.
Reinstating the RMA is meant to be a temporary measure while the Government looks to implement its own “fast-track consenting regime”.
National also has some seemingly redundant items on the list, such as making gang membership an aggravating factor at sentencing. The Sentencing Act already includes “the nature and extent of any connection between the offending and the offender’s participation in an organised criminal group” as an aggravating factor. Perhaps the Government will make it something a judge must take into account without the current qualifier of whether it is applicable to the case in question.
More vague commitments include “better public services and strengthening democracy”.
Soon-to-be-gone are the Government’s participation in Auckland light rail and Let’s Get Wellington Moving, the Lake Onslow pumped hydro scheme, fuel tax hikes, fair pay agreements, and the clean car discount (or “ute tax”).
The plan also includes culture war-derived diversions on the likes of lodging a reservation against adopting amendments to World Health Organisation health regulations”. This must be done in the next two days, making it one of the most urgent of the actions in the plan - ahead of restoring the Reserve Bank’s single mandate.
- National’s wish to reduce spending on contractors and consultants remains, but the addition of public sector bosses to “report on current spending within 100 days” has been dropped.
- The pledge to allow remand prisoners to access rehabilitation programmes has been clarified to “offence-based” rehabilitation programmes.
- Changing the Overseas Investment Act 2005 to make it easier for build-to-rent housing to be developed has been watered down to “take policy decisions” on this change.
- The list no longer includes National’s demand for a 6.5 per cent reduction in “back-office” spending across certain public sector agencies, but Luxon said at his press conference yesterday that the figure still stood.
- Establishing a permanent Rural Regulation Review Panel to cut red tape in the primary sector is gone. This could be due to National’s concession to Act to scrap its wish to cut two farming regulations for every new one introduced, as well as adopting Act’s wish for a new Regulation Minister, Regulatory Standards Act, and government department running laws and regulations through a quality-control process.
- Abolish the previous Government’s prisoner reduction target.
- Stop all work on He Puapua.
- Start work to improve the quality of regulation.
- Begin work on delivering better public services and strengthening democracy.
Additions thanks to Act and NZ First
- Stop work on Industry Transformation Plans.
- Begin to cease implementation of new Significant Natural Areas and seek advice on the operation of the areas.
- Begin to repeal and replace Part 6 of the Arms Act 1983 relating to clubs and ranges.
- By December 1, 2023, lodge a reservation against adopting amendments to WHO health regulations to allow the Government to consider these against a “national interest test”.
- Repeal amendments to the Smokefree Environments and Regulated Products Act 1990 and regulations.
- Allow the sale of cold medication containing pseudoephedrine.
- Begin work to repeal the Therapeutics Products Act 2023.
The same as in National’s 100-day plan:
- Stop work on the Income Insurance Scheme.
- Stop work on the Lake Onslow pumped hydro scheme.
- Begin efforts to double renewable energy production, including an NPS (National Policy Statement) on renewable electricity generation.
- Withdraw central government from Let’s Get Wellington Moving (LGWM).
- Meet with councils and communities to establish regional requirements for recovery from Cyclone Gabrielle and other recent major flooding events.
- Make any additional Orders in Council needed to speed up cyclone and flood recovery efforts.
- Introduce legislation to narrow the Reserve Bank’s mandate to price stability.
- Introduce legislation to remove the Auckland Fuel Tax.
- Cancel fuel tax hikes.
- Begin work on a new GPS reflecting the new Roads of National Significance and new public transport priorities.
- Repeal the Clean Car Discount scheme by December 31, 2023.
- Stop blanket speed limit reductions and start work on replacing the Land Transport Rule: Setting of Speed Limits 2022.
- Stop central government work on the Auckland Light Rail project.
- Repeal the Fair Pay Agreement legislation.
- Introduce legislation to restore 90-day trial periods for all businesses.
- Begin work on a National Infrastructure Agency.
- Introduce legislation to repeal the Water Services Entities Act 2022.
- Repeal the Spatial Planning and Natural and Built Environment Act and introduce a fast-track consenting regime.
- Introduce legislation to ban gang patches, stop gang members from gathering in public, and stop known gang offenders from communicating with one another.
- Give police greater powers to search gang members for firearms and make gang membership an aggravating factor at sentencing.
- Stop taxpayer funding for section 27 cultural reports.
- Begin work to crack down on serious youth offending.
- Enable more virtual participation in court proceedings.
- Improve security for the health workforce in hospital emergency departments.
- Sign an MoU with Waikato University to progress a third medical school.
- Require primary and intermediate schools to teach an hour of reading, writing and maths per day starting in 2024.
- Ban the use of cellphones in schools.
- Appoint an Expert Group to redesign the English and maths curricula for primary school students.
- Begin disestablishing Te Pukenga (New Zealand Institute of Skills and Technology).
- Set five major targets for the health system, including wait times and cancer treatment.
- Introduce legislation to disestablish the Māori Health Authority.
- Take first steps to extend free breast cancer screening to those aged up to 74.
- Establish a priority one category on the social housing waitlist to move families out of emergency housing into permanent homes more quickly.
- Commission an independent review into Kainga Ora’s financial situation, procurement, and asset management.
Derek Cheng is a senior journalist who started at the Herald in 2004. He has worked several stints in the press gallery and is a former deputy political editor.