After one of the strangest elections in New Zealand history, New Zealand finally has a government. Labour's Jacinda Ardern has been crowned New Zealand Prime Minister by Winston Peters and New Zealand First.
Through this, we will go through the structure, the policy information we have and what the implications are for National.
The Government will be a Labour - NZ First government that has a confidence and supply agreement with the Green Party. This is not a Labour - NZ First - Green government as many commentators are stating. There is a Labour - NZ First Coalition agreement which is looking to give Winston Peters the Deputy Prime Minister job (the same job he held under National under Jim Bolger). New Zealand First will get four ministerial positions (it is unclear if this includes Winston or is including Winston) and one Parliamentary Undersecretary.
The Ministries that New Zealand First will get are:
• Foreign Affairs
• Regional Economic Development
• Internal Affairs
• Veterans' Affairs
• State Owned Enterprises
• Associate Finance
• Associate Education and an Under-Secretary for Foreign Affairs and Regional Economic Development
The Greens have a confidence and supply agreement with Labour. This government represents the first time that the Green Party have had Ministers, even if they are outside the cabinet.
The Ministries that the Greens will get are: Climate Change, Associate Finance, Conservation, Women, Land Information New Zealand, Associate Environment, Statistics, Associate Transport, Associate Health and an Undersecretary to the Minister of Justice (Domestic and Sexual Violence).
Prime Minister - designate Ardern has dismissed the fact Climate Change as a minsitry is outside the government as something she can do as she doesn't need convincing on the subject.
The full roll out of Ministries will happen at the swearing in ceremony later this week.
Considering the Labour gains from the Maori Party, the Maori Development portfolio is one that is promoting a lot of speculation as to who will receive that portfolio. This considering that Deputy Labour Leader, Kelvin Davis is likely to pick up Corrections as one of his portfolios in the government.
Today the Labour - NZ First agreement and the Labour - Green agreements were both signed.
Here are the substantive policies inside the agreements:
• Regional development: A $1 billion per year Regional Development (Provincial Growth) Fund
• Rail: Significant investment in regional rail.
• Forestry: Re-establish the New Zealand Forestry Service, and planting 100 million trees per year in a Billion Trees Planting Programme.
• Auckland Port: Commissioning a feasibility study on moving the Ports of Auckland to Northport
• Biosecurity: A funding increase to Biosecurity NZ and a select committee Inquiry into biosecurity
• Irrigation: Honour existing Crown Irrigation investment commitments
• Monetary policy: Review and reform the Reserve Bank Act
• Minimum wage: Increase to $20 an hour by 2020, with the final increase to take effect in April 2021
• Tax: Increase penalties for corporate fraud and tax evasion, and introduce a tax on exports of bottled water
• KiwiBank: Investigate KiwiBank's capabilities to become the Government's banker when that contract is next renewed.
• Foreign ownership: Strengthen the Overseas Investment Act and create a comprehensive register of foreign-owned land and housing
• Research and development: Increase R&D spending to 2 per cent of GDP over 10 years
• Health: Re-establish the Mental Health Commission, annual free health checks for seniors with the SuperGold card, free doctors' visits for all under 14s, increasing the age for free breast screening to 74
• Education: Restore funding for gifted students and Computers in Homes, pilot counsellors in primary schools, free driver training for all secondary school students, restart Te Kotahitanga teacher professional development
• Defence: Re-examine the Defence procurement programme
• Housing: Establish a Housing Commission
• Law and Order: Work towards 1800 new police officers over three years, investigate a volunteer rural constabulary programme, increase funding for Community Law Centres, establish a Criminal Cases Review Commission
• Social Development: More funding for family violence networks, including Women's Refuge and Shakti, pilot a Youth Education, Training and Employment programme and provide 800 extra places for the LSV scheme, introduce Ready for Work programmes
• Superannuation: Keep age of eligibility at 65
• Environment: Move to an emissions-free government-vehicle fleet by 2025/26, introduce a Zero Carbon Act and independent Climate Commission, which will consider including agriculture into the ETS, establish a tyre stewardship fund, piloting alternatives to 1080, work towards a Kermadec Ocean Sanctuary
• Conservation: More funding for the Department of Conservation
• Democracy: No new parliamentary building this term, an independent review of electoral processes and enrolments, and a review of the parliamentary processes, and pass a 'Waka Jumping' bill
• Immigration: Ensure work visas reflect skills shortages and cut down on low quality international education courses, and take action on migrant exploitation, particularly international students
• Pike River: Commit to re-entry to Pike River
• Other: Build a Maori Battalion museum at Waitangi, review retail-power pricing, allow a conscience vote on a NZ First euthanasia referendum bill, a Public Inquiry "a decade after Shand" to investigate the drivers of local government costs, support NZ First's racing policy, work towards a Free Trade Agreement with the Russia-Belarus-Kazakhstan Customs Union, record a Cabinet minute regarding the lack of process followed prior to the National-led government sponsorship of UNSC2334, concerning the Israeli settlements in Palestinian territories occupied since 1967
The New Zealand Green Party and Labour have a separate confidence and supply agreement which has a number of policy concessions in them in return. These include:
• Climate Change: Introduce a Zero Carbon Act and establish an independent Climate Commission (which will also look at transitioning to 100 per cent renewable electricity by 2035), analyse all new legislation for climate impact, establish a Climate Change board of public sector CEOs and a set of indicators for environmental, social and economic sustainability
• Transport: Investigate a Green Transport Card to reduce the cost of public transport for low-income people and welfare recipients, prioritise National Land Transport Fund towards rail infrastructure as well as cycling and walking, cancel Auckland's East-West motorway link, work towards light rail from Auckland city to airport
• Green economy: Government-backed Green Investment Fund of $100 million to stimulate up to $1 billion of new investment in low carbon industries by 2020, assist agricultural sector to reduce biological emissions and improve water quality
• Environment: Increasing conservation funding and predator control, commit to minimising waste to landfill by reducing all waste classes by 2020
• Rivers and lakes: Stronger regulation to clean up waterways, fund freshwater enhancement, wind down Government support for irrigation, better enforcement of the Resource Management Act
• Ocean Sanctuaries: Work with Maori to establish the Kermadec Ocean Sanctuary as well as a Taranaki blue whale sanctuary
• Welfare: Ensure access to entitlements, remove excessive sanctions, review Working for Families, provide safe sleeping environments for vulnerable families
• Health: Free counselling for under-25s, increase funding for alcohol and drug addiction services, referendum on the personal use of cannabis by the 2020 election
• Education: Ensure children with special needs and learning disabilities can fully participate in school
• Pay equality: Eliminate the gender pay gap within the core public sector
• Homes: A rent-to-own scheme will be part of Labour's Kiwibuild programme, increase in the number of homes insulated
• Refugees: Adequately fund and support family re-unification for refugees