The Labour Party made ambitious targets and won votes for their 100-day plan which was campaigned on. Have they done everything they said they would, or were these just tactics to win votes?
February 3rd, 2018. That date marks 100 days of the Labour-New Zealand First government with confidence and supply from the Green Party. In case you were unaware, a confidence and supply agreement is where the party supports the government’s budget but are not obliged to vote in favour of anything else. If the Greens disagree with something and so do the opposition, it won’t pass parliament or become law.
The end of the parliamentary term for 2017 was December 20th, and parliament will next sit on the 30th of January. Is that enough time for the government to meet its 100 day plan, which ends on February 3rd?
Here’s a full list of Labour’s 100 day plan which was promised during the election, and whether the promise has been kept, so far.
Make the first year of tertiary education or training fees free from January 1, 2018
Done. Education Minister Chris Hipkins says that this will be available for those who are able to work or live in New Zealand permanently or for residents living here for an upwards of three years.
Increase student allowances and living cost loans by $50 a week from January 1, 2018
Done. The student allowance is set to increase by $50 weekly to all students who qualify, and the maximum living cost loan will now be just under $230, compared to $177 before. The living cost payments are considered a loan and would have to be paid back, so students must be aware of this before increasing their loans. Student allowance payments do not need to be paid back as they are counted as benefits.
Pass the Healthy Homes Guarantee Bill, requiring all rentals to be warm and dry
Done. The bill passed in November with 63 votes in favour and 57 against. The bill imposes a ‘warrant of fitness’ for rental housing requiring it to meet certain regulations.The bill has a set of standards for heating, ventilation, and insulation to ensure rentals are healthy, warm, and dry homes.
Ban overseas speculators from buying existing houses
Not yet. The bill that has not become law yet amends the Overseas Investment Act making New Zealand homes listed as “sensitive,” meaning only New Zealand citizens or permanent residents who were in New Zealand for over 181 days in the past year could purchase the housing. People on other visas would only be able to purchase land if they planned to build a house on it and later sell it. The amendment to the OIA hasn’t passed its third reading yet.
Issue an instruction to Housing New Zealand to stop the state house sell-off
No. There has been no progress on this after a public meeting before the election in Riccarton. It could’ve been just to win votes or it could be occurring later. All we know is that this didn’t happen within 100 days.
In addition, Labour voters were shocked at Housing Minister Phil Twyford’s announcement not to restructure Housing New Zealand as a government agency. This was a major campaign issue for Labour, and Twyford’s announcement has lost them credibility from voters.
Begin work to establish the Affordable Housing Authority and begin the KiwiBuild programme
Not yet, but the Housing Minister hasn’t said whether this will actually occur or not, or if it was just an election promise.
Legislate to pass the Families Package, including the Winter Fuel Payment, Best Start and increases to Paid Parental Leave, to take effect from 1 July 2018
Done. The Families Package bill was debated in Parliament on December 14th in its committee stage, and it is likely to pass its third reading, making this become law. Increases to the amount of weeks a parent can take paid parental leave is also on the table.
Set up a Ministerial Inquiry in order to fix our mental health crisis
Not yet. The Health Minister says that the inquiry is still in its preliminary stages. The minister claimed that this was a priority for the government, but it may not happen in the 100 day time frame.
Introduce legislation to make medicinal cannabis available for people with terminal illnesses or in chronic pain
Done. The legislation was debated on the last day of parliament in 2017 and passed its first reading.
Resume contributions to the New Zealand Superannuation Fund to help safeguard the provision of universal superannuation at age 65
Done, Labour have already delivered on this promise.
Introduce legislation to set a child poverty reduction target and to change the Public Finance Act so the Budget reports progress on reducing child poverty
Not yet. This could be tough for the government as now minister for Child Poverty Reduction Jacinda Ardern has said that there shouldn’t be a target for reducing child poverty unless it is zero.
Increase the minimum wage to $16.50 an hour, to take effect from 1 April 2018, and introduce legislation to improve fairness in the workplace
Done. The Government predicts that over 150,000 kiwis will be getting higher wages. Labour also agreed with New Zealand First to raise the minimum wage to $20 by 2021, but that’s another story. Unions across New Zealand have shown support for the policy, whilst small businesses are upset about the potential change.
Establish the Tax Working Group
Done. The tax working group is chaired by Sir Michael Cullen, former Labour Minister of Finance. Other members include Finance Minister Grant Robertson and Revenue Minister Stuart Nash, as well as economists and scholars.
Establish the Pike River Recovery Agency and assign a responsible Minister
Done. The Pike River Recovery Agency is part of the Ministry of Business, Innovation, and Employment and will be established in the end of January 2018, just in time to mark 100 days of the new government. The minister responsible is Andrew Little.
Set up an inquiry into the abuse of children in state care
Not yet. Minister for Children Tracey Martin is still engaging with stakeholders who would be affected by the inquiry. This comes after a plea from members of the Catholic church requesting that faith-based institutions be included in the inquiry. We are yet to know when it will go ahead.
Hold a Clean Waters Summit on cleaning up our rivers and lakes
The government have shown commitment to cleaning up rivers and lakes, but a water tax is off the table. This is likely not going to happen, and if it does it will not include the water tax that Labour campaigned on.
Set the zero carbon emissions goal and begin setting up the independent Climate Commission
Done. Climate Change Minister James Shaw announced on that the plan would go ahead, and answered questions on December 19th with his colleague Chloe Swarbrick on the zero carbon emissions goal.
The government have some work to do but have overall been tracking quite well on their election promises. We’ll keep you updated on TADS closer to February 3rd to see if all the 100-day goals were achieved or not.
Since parliament is next sitting on January 30th, the government will need to be expeditive to deliver on all of their promises.
The targets in the 100-day plan were ambitious, but now the government has to show their true ambition by delivering on these promises.