14 February 2018

How would you rate the Government’s first 100 days?

The first 100 days of the Labour-led Coalition with NZ First and the Green Party are up.

They had 17 goals and apart from the last one – to set a zero carbon emissions target and set up an independent Climate Commission – they’ve all been scored.

New Zealand now has a $2 billion per year Family Incomes Package, a child poverty reduction target, two inquiries into mental health and abuse in state institutions, and proposed laws for a foreign house buyer’s ban and medicinal cannabis.

The Coalition has also resumed payments to the Superannuation Fund and provided a fee-free first year of tertiary education.

When asked by broadcaster Mike Hosking to rate her first 100 days, Ardern gave herself a 7.5 out of 10, saying she was "a perfectionist."

Opposition leader Bill English has described her reign as "the start of long, complicated bureaucratic processes" and “100 days of confused government”.

But public opinion, at least according to mainstream media, appears to be overwhelmingly positive. 

We decided to ask a few ‘prominent retirees’ for their opinion to see if older people are also feeling the love.

Diana Crossan – Former Retirement Commissioner of NZ and Chair of Lifetime Retirement Income

I think Jacinda is doing a great job and the ministers are all really stepping up. It’s been hard for some of them being so new but I think so far, so good.

The Opposition was very challenging and aggressive in the first few weeks so they really had to be on their toes and responding. I think they handled that very well and I’m glad to see National being a bit more constructive now.

Prime Minister, Jacinda Ardern

Prime Minister, Jacinda Ardern

Jacinda is very articulate and quick to tell us what we need to know. That’s been appreciated by a variety of people whom I think have been a bit surprised.

Waitangi seems to have been a very successful few days. Her communication and how she led that process was very impressive.

She’s used a wide variety of media platforms to her advantage. I think her social media presence makes her appear more transparent and ‘in touch’ than previous leaders. 

The biggest challenge for our government now is going to be prioritizing.

I’d like to see them settle down and really focus on what I see as the three biggest issues: child poverty, housing and clean rivers.

I do think that there’s work to be done for older people but there are issues in all sectors, we all want things done.

I’m very pleased Labour is not going to build another prison as National proposed, as that’s a billion dollars that can be used elsewhere. And there are a lot of areas where a small amount could potentially make a big difference.

Former Retirement Commissioner, Diana Crossan

Former Retirement Commissioner, Diana Crossan

Alan Isaac - former National Chairman of KPMG, Companion of the New Zealand Order of Merit, and Director of Oceania Health Care

I think Jacinda has a huge challenge in front of her but her popularity is going to ensure a longer honeymoon period.

Although I am supportive of some Coalition policies - they’ve certainly followed through on the things they talked about and I think it’s positive they’re going to sign the TPP agreement - I’m mostly concerned about her lack of experience.

It’s one thing being in politics, or being a policy advisor. It’s quite another being a political leader.

And unlike John Key and Helen Clark, Jacinda’s leadership experience is limited.

I’m a very passionate New Zealander and of course I want her to succeed. 

But I think she was elected because she’s a young woman with good communication skills. The whole world is clamouring for diversity in gender, age and so forth, so it’s not a surprise. People were ready for a change. That’s fine, but now Jacinda really has to deliver.

Fortunately, she’s taking over the books in good shape so I think we’ll be ok economically. But Grant Robertson will need to maintain that momentum.

And I suspect National will now start identifying a younger female leader.

Joanne Morris OBE – retired barrister, former chair of Broadcasting Standards Authority and former member of the Waitangi tribunal

I feel very positive about the 1st 100 days - the tone of New Zealand politics has changed for the better and the policy priorities and actions taken are more humane than we've seen for years.  

I love the way Jacinda is leading!  She is incredibly well informed and measured and calm and clever and funny and nice (and pregnant - yay!)

The Coalition has exceeded my expectations. I'm actually impressed with the way the Deputy PM has handled his role in the government.

A highlight for me so far has been the actions on child poverty and mental health - surely two areas desperately needing attention but fobbed off and dealt with in a fragmented and half-hearted way for years.

 I’d now like to see further effective action re the housing crisis, more help for lower income New Zealanders, and a clear policy on what’s replacing NCEA.   

Stephanie Clare, Chief Executive of Age Concern New Zealand 

Age Concern New Zealand welcomes the focus of the new coalition Government and the approach they have taken for the first 100-days.

We’re pleased that the Government has started payments into the NZ Super Fund and has indicated that they will gradually increase future payments. The NZ Super Fund will protect universal access to NZ Superannuation for future generations of older New Zealanders. This is a great development that recognises that the number of older people will increase in future years and that as a country we need to be prepared to ensure that the well-being of future generations of older people is protected.

Age Concern New Zealand would also like the Government to focus on older workers. Older workers have essential skills, knowledge and experience that can make a difference to the skills shortage experienced in NZ. We would like the Government to invest in maximising the economic potential of our older workers and the value they can bring to our economy. 

Robyn Prior, former Chair Association of Integrated Schools NZ and Deputy Chair of Association of Proprietors of Integrated Schools

I think some of the legislation may have been rushed to meet the first 100 days expectation, which I find a rather artificial concept, but it’s very “hip” these days.

Jacinda’s personable, but I find the perpetual grin and her “life is great” attitude a little trying. She seems to have Winston under control for now – time will tell.

A high point was concluding the TPP agreement. It was so clearly needed and the Labour Party’s denigration of it during the election campaign was point scoring. 

I’m waiting for an announcement about the status of trusts in terms of a capital gains tax or inheritance tax – I’m not convinced that is off the table permanently. 

I am concerned about sustainability and global warming and want to see movement towards sustainable and equitable improvements here. But taxing people / industry / farming to the hilt is not an answer, it’s just a convenient way to deal with it and I suspect its vote catching. 

I hope this government recognises that they are inexperienced and that they won’t always be right. Hopefully, the U-turns made in the election campaign raised their consciousness on this.

The prosperity of the last nine years must be preserved and built on. It is how we will afford to improve the NZ way of life for everyone.

What do you think?

We’d like to know. Go ahead and comment on this post on our Facebook page here.

Stephanie Clare, CEO Age Concern NZ

Stephanie Clare, CEO Age Concern NZ

What could your income be?