Danyl McL writes:
At the start of the year Jacinda Ardern declared that 2019 was her government’s ‘year of delivery’. Last year they were still figuring out how their phones worked. Next year is another election. This is the one that counts; the year they make good on those campaign promises of transformational change to our economy and society. They’re doing this through four huge, hugely ambitious policy projects. Or, at least, they were.
Danyl then looks at their four major projects.
The first transformational project is KiwiBuild: the solution to the housing crisis. It doesn’t appear to be going well, with Judith Collins exposing a new flaw, or scandal or oversight in the scheme roughly every seventy-two hours.
Not far off the truth. They promised 1,000 homes by 30 June. They have 73 days to go and have completed 74 of the 1,000 homes.
The second is the Zero Carbon Act: a framework to price greenhouse emissions and transition us to a green economy. This was supposed to come before select committee in February, but New Zealand First has fought such a prolonged and ruthless campaign against it the prime minister was forced to intervene in the negotiations to ensure its very survival. We don’t know what the act will look like, but Climate Minister James Shaw now predicts our emissions will continue to rise until the mid-2020s, which doesn’t sound hugely reassuring.
GG emissions dropped under National and James Shaw is claiming under his policies they will increase until 2025 or later. How is that delivery?
Next month we get the Wellbeing Budget, built around a ‘living standards’ framework. This is designed to shift the public service away from its neoliberal focus on economic and financial measures and towards ‘human, social and natural capital’, and will let the PM go on TV and talk about how much she cares about Kiwi kids and mums ‘as a mum herself’ If nothing else we can probably put this down as a foregone PR triumph.
The Living Standards Framework was started by Treasury in 2011 under Bill English. Its a worthwhile project but it isn’t about delivery. In terms of delivery the data shows child poverty dropped under National and rose in Labour’s first year of office.
The fourth was the capital gains tax, which Labour has campaigned on for the last three elections – because it is an issue which goes to the heart of inequality in New Zealand – and which they just ditched after one of the most bafflingly disastrous public policy debates imaginable, making John Key’s flag-change campaign look like the Normandy landings. There will be no capital gains tax, the prime minister announced today, and Labour will not campaign for one under her leadership.
So on all four major projects, the Government’s year of delivery is seeing either zero progress or moving backwards.