Well, the niceties (and un-niceties) have been completed, the new Government has been sworn in and the nation now waits to see how the Big Three (or should that be medium size one and undersize two) will perform over the next three years.
There will, of course be questions. Having looked over the many promises made in the Labour Party’s fiscal policy it seems to me as if everyone’s Christmases may come at once, but I wonder how many pledges are viable.
The party has set a target of lifting 100,000 children out of child poverty by 2020. With this in mind wages will be boosted by introducing Fair Pay Agreements and raising the minimum wage to more than $16 an hour and up to $20 an hour by 2021. Families will also benefit from higher Working For Families payments and a Best Start payment to families with babies and toddlers.
On the other hand, the announced 10 cent per litre tax on fuel for Aucklanders will no doubt erode those benefits in this part of the country. Or don’t struggling families own cars? I may be nit-picking but I see Catch 22 situations emerging.
What’s more, when I see the word ‘free’ as in free tertiary studies, I’m a bit sceptical. There’s not much that comes truly free in the world so I’m thinking the taxpayer will be footing this bill.
I’m impressed that our new Prime Minister is keen to be everything to everyone – she has, indeed, promised to be a PM and a government for ALL New Zealanders; I hope so. Certainly she is measured, self-assured, and not afraid to do battle. And, I believe we will see some great battles between the Government and the Opposition and, perhaps, some sibling rivalry in the Coalition, too.
Ms Adern seems genuinely earnest in her desire to create an even better New Zealand than what we have had and I expect that in settling on a large executive – 31 cabinet ministers, ministers outside of cabinet and under secretaries – she is intent on making a sound start.
But looking at the allocation of finance portfolios – Grant Robertson as Minister of Finance came as no surprise – I had to smile at four associate Ministers of Finance;I guess the new government wants all three parties to have a say – did I mention bun fight last month?
That aside, the PM is said to dream of heading an active government working alongside people to ensure that they have all their needs met. Perhaps that’s all it will be, a dream…or not. She has started by showing some mettle but can she keep scrapping between the minor parties at bay for three years or more? Like the rest of the nation I will have to wait and see.
In the meantime, it is now full steam ahead with Jacinda and Winston at the helm and James Shaw riding on their coat tails.