Labour-led govt will bring in Zero Carbon Act, Climate Commission and have an all-sectors, all gasses pricing scheme; Ardern says Peters agrees on outcome, advocated strongly for the regions, which will show through in policies

By Alex Tarrant

If we needed any more evidence that Winston Peters advocated strongly to have oversight over regional economic development policy, Prime Minister Elect Jacinda Ardern delivered that Friday.

Ardern seems confident that where this interacts with Labour's and the Greens’ focus on climate change, that Peters and the rural community will come out happy.

The Labour-led government is looking to introduce a Zero Carbon Act, establish an independent Climate Commission and have an all-sectors, all-gases pricing mechanism for carbon, Ardern said Friday. Whether that mechanism remains the current Emissions Trading Scheme was a tad murky.

Ardern made the comments during a press conference announcing which members of Labour’s caucus would become Ministers in her Cabinet. A brief note on that - swearing in is expected next Thursday, with portfolios set to be allocated sometime next week (see the names below).

In another sign that concessions were given to New Zealand First, and possibly the Greens, over certain policy areas, Ardern said she might split existing Ministerial positions to allow for more refined responsibility for aspects of some roles.

One example - and sticking with the regions - was Primary Industries, which might at least have forestry split from that portfolio. While Labour ran on a strong forestry platform, it was also a feature for New Zealand First during the campaign.

Ardern also hinted that Transport might be divided along the lines of different modes. Perhaps the old Minister for Railways is coming back for Winston Peters, I asked, to which she effectively replied, ‘wait and see’. Ardern said she's still working on the specifics.

In other comments, Ardern said NZ First and the Greens had agreed to row back on National's tax cut package in favour of Labour's superior families package (both had voted for it). Immigration policy would be focussed on getting the settings right, she said. Ardern also touched upon Peters' comments on capitalism, saying the Labour-led government would be proactive, and not be hands-off.

Agreement that climate action is needed

Ardern was asked whether the government would bring in a Climate Act and Climate Commission, and whether agriculture would be included in any emissions trading scheme.

“Yes, I do anticipate that we will be a government, as I said during the campaign, that will be absolutely focussed on the challenge of climate change,” she said. 

“That will include a Zero Carbon Act, that will include an independent Climate Commission, that will include making sure that we have an all-gasses, all-sectors Emissions Trading Scheme.”

Asked whether Winston Peters had given the all-clear for this, Ardern said some of the elements of “Mr Peters’ advocacy on behalf of the regions reflected in our agreements.” She said she’d like to wait until those agreements were released early next week.

Again asked if Peters was okay with Labour’s policy to include agriculture under the ETS, but being exempt from 90% of the full costs, she said: “I’d like to leave it until those agreements are released for people to see where that advocacy has been strongest. But, we have absolutely stuck to our goal of net zero carbon emissions by 2050, a Zero Carbon Act and an independent Climate Commission.”

Labour, the Greens and New Zealand First shared “an absolute commitment to addressing climate change,” she said. Asked whether that meant the ETS was staying: “We all agree as well, the need for having a tool to reach our goals, and that includes a price on carbon.”

On whether she expected push-back from the farming community on climate change policy, she said it “would only be fair for me to reflect that there was advocacy from New Zealand First around making sure there is support for the regions, and that will be reflected strongly in our agreement with them.”

‘Spoilt for choice’

Ardern said she had been spoilt for choice when it came to making the selection of who would make up the Labour Cabinet team. See their names below.

She’ll allocate portfolios over the weekend. This will include New Zealand First’s final allocation of portfolios for Ministers inside of Cabinet. The Greens had already had a discussion and a process that had been signed off around allocation of members for them, Ardern said – the positions had already been through the Green Party special meeting last night.

On whether she might split existing roles – say Minister for Primary Industries – Arder said that was something she’ll be giving some consideration to. “There is, of course, an extraordinary amount of interest in beefing up the amount of work that we do in the forestry portfolio, and of course Labour has a position that we would locate the forestry service within the regions – within Rotorua.”

Asked whether this would be done to please or placate Peters at all? “No, it was our policy originally, of course, to split out Forestry from where it current sits, because our current view is it was underdelivering,” she said.

Meanwhile, Ardern said she intended to have a role in the Children’s portfolio, and would also take responsibility for the Security Services – as previous PMs had done. She indicated she wouldn’t be taking on the Minister for Children role itself, saying it would be unwise for her to be working across areas that related to individual CYFs cases, but that she could focus on the operational side the portfolio.

Minister for Women outside Cabinet? For the Greens perhaps?

Ardern was asked whether the Minister for Women role would be held by a senior government member. She said that she had great ambitions to make great gains as a government on issues like equal pay, making sure women were supported in any role they chose to take – work, or carer roles – was at the heart of what the government does.

The role might not be inside Cabinet, but it would be held by someone who is passionate for the work they do, she said.

That last comment might be of interest – the only Labour woman who will hold a Ministerial position outside Cabinet will be Meka Whaitiri, who didn’t hold the portfolio in Opposition. Meanwhile, the Greens are likely to have two women in their three slots outside Cabinet.

Ardern was asked whether Winston Peters had yet taken up the offer of Deputy Prime Minister. She said they’d spoken today to go through logistical matters, and that there would be ongoing discussions. But she wasn’t placing any pressure on him over the timing, she said.

MBIE split? Regional development emphasis

Ardern was asked whether MBIE should be broken up – it incorporates the old Ministry for Economic Development, Department of Labour, Building & Housing and Science and Innovation – and whether there would be an Economic Development Minister?

She said the interest in Economic Development and Regional Economic Development in this Labour-led government was “immense.” There was a strong view that the regions had been neglected, she said. There would be a strong emphasis on infrastructure, growth and development in the regions, in particular.

“You’ll see, in the line-up of Ministers, and the way that we divide our portfolios, a real emphasis on that area,” Ardern said. She still needed a bit of time to make sure that there was alignment between those portfolios.

“I don’t want to split things beyond what they make sense,” Ardern said. In some areas, she’ll look to bring thing together. “But I also want to make sure we put emphasis on the areas that are of great importance to this government.”

Asked about the Transport portfolio – with a focus on regional and urban transport policies during the campaign – Ardern said any split here would make more sense along the lines of modes of transport. This was again something she’d be working through over the coming days.

“Of course, there are competing transport needs. But I’m going to be very, very cautious to make…sure that I don’t break up those portfolios beyond what makes sense.”

Meanwhile, Ardern said Labour’s 100-day plan was largely in-tact, with one policy added and one taken away at this stage. “But otherwise it will essentially stay the same.”

Tax package, immigration, hands-on govt

She also said Labour would still be rowing back National’s tax cut package that NZ First and the Greens both voted for, in favour of Labour’s own families package which was “substantially more generous to low and middle-income families.”

On Friday’s net migration figures, which showed a dip from the last few months’ record highs above 71,000 a year, Ardern was asked, if that kept falling, would Labour’s stance change?

She replied that the policy – which she indicated yesterday was agreed to by New Zealand First –  was very much focussed on getting the settings right, more broadly, for New Zealand. Labour’s view was that it needed to be made sure that labour market tests were tighter to prove genuine skills shortages, and that people would not be exploited through temporary work visas and export education. Dips would not change that the settings needed to be corrected.

She was also asked about Peters comments on capitalism Thursday night, and where she stood on them. “The sentiment that was captured in those comments was very clear,” she said. “That, when you are a hands-off government, where you simply allow markets to decide the fate of your people, then that does not serve a country or its people well. That is what I think we’ve seen over the last nine years.”

People will see a proactive government led by Labour, she said. “One that ensures that we are investing in our regions, that we are investing in infrastructure, that we’re investing directly in areas that will lead to job creation and to growth. That we want us to be a productive economy, so we will invest in skills, and trade training, we’ll invest in innovation. We will be a very proactive government.”

See the list of Labour caucus members who will be given Ministerial posts next week, below:

Today caucus has elected the 21 Labour Ministers of the Crown who will serve in the new government’s executive, says Labour Leader Jacinda Ardern.

“Across the board these members have the experience, expertise and drive I want in our team so we can make the right decisions to tackle the challenges our country faces. The well-being of all New Zealanders will be at the heart of our work as we seek to build a better, fairer New Zealand.

“I will announce the portfolios of Ministers next week, including the New Zealand First and Green Party Ministers.

“New Zealand First will hold four positions inside Cabinet, and the Green Party will hold three positions outside of Cabinet. In total the Executive will contain 28 members, in line with past governments.

“Early next week, there will also be an official signing of agreements with New Zealand First and the Green Party that will form the foundation of a strong and durable government.

“I have been very heartened by the level of support I have received since last night’s announcement and look forward to ushering in a new era for New Zealand when the Labour-led Government is sworn in next Thursday,” says Jacinda Ardern.
 
Cabinet Ministers (alphabetical order)
Jacinda Ardern
David Clark
Clare Curran
Kelvin Davis
Chris Hipkins
Iain Lees-Galloway
Andrew Little
Nanaia Mahuta
Stuart Nash
Damien O’Connor
David Parker
Grant Robertson
Jenny Salesa
Carmel Sepuloni
Phil Twyford
Megan Woods

Ministers outside Cabinet (alphabetical order)
Kris Faafoi
Peeni Henare
Willie Jackson
Aupito William Sio
Meka Whaitiri

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22 Comments

Quoting NZ Herald :

The 100 Day Plan released during the campaign includes:

Make the first year of tertiary education or training fees free from January 1, 2018.
Increase student allowances and living cost loans by $50 a week from January 1, 2018.
Pass the Healthy Homes Guarantee Bill, requiring all rentals to be warm and dry.
Ban foreigners from buying existing houses.
Issue an instruction to Housing New Zealand to stop the state house sell-off.
Begin work to establish the Affordable Housing Authority and begin the KiwiBuild programme.
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.
Set up a Ministerial Inquiry in order to fix our mental health crisis.
Introduce legislation to make medicinal cannabis available for people with terminal illnesses or in chronic pain.
Resume contributions to the New Zealand Superannuation Fund to help safeguard the provision of universal superannuation at age 65.
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.
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.
Establish the Tax Working Group.
Establish the Pike River Recovery Agency and assign a responsible Minister.
Set up an inquiry into the abuse of children in state care.
Hold a Clean Waters Summit on cleaning up our rivers and lakes.
Set the zero carbon emissions goal and begin setting up the independent Climate
Unquote :

Looks good to me. The Labour/NZF backers should be happy. Greens Supporters will have to wait, I think.
Surprise, no plans about cutting immigration ?

Interesting times ahead, but not sure how long this COTL government will hold together.

and where are the business growth policies to pay the costs of everything that is desirable and some things are very desirable... but no private sector no money..and again i ask why are all the labour party supporters on this anyway and do they read the articles here that are basically economic in nature. Most labour voters are wage and salary people .. low risk takers and not the people creating business. One economist recently said that a business owner should pay less TAX because that they are the ones paying for the risk reward. Cant understand why these people are constantly attacking business... it pays for EVERYTHING!!! And you wont see these people here becuase they dont have time they are busy working all the time!!! Which reminds me i cant afford the time to waste here teaching these left wing idol people how money is made!!!!!! Sorry got to go.. and most of these posts by these left wing idol people are just pointless... no private sector... NO MONEY.. well not quite the reserve bank can QE it.. but thats another story.. someone has to work and of course no smoking the dope if you want to create profitable business.

"Left wing idol people."

You do go on I. You must have copy and paste. I'm just basking in the glow of a better NZ with less immigration and less foreign buyers.

"and where are the business growth policies." Putting a stop to the stupid increases in house prices, especially in Auckland, is surely going to benefit employers whom now have much better chances of access to skilled staff.

And it'll be great for business if said staff have a bit of disposable income to spend on something other than rent.

UPDATE - Jacinda Adern is still planning to cut immigration based on their numbers but not as low as Winston Peters wanted.

I'm surprised there aren't any climate denialists coming out saying the science isn't proven, we shouldn't be taking any climate action! That's effectively what National and minister Paula Bennett were, they took no positive action, didn't reduce emissions or put NZ on the path to reduced emissions. So denialism is now dead, the scientists are right and we need to get up and play our part...at last NZ is being responsible and wise.

Bit of an update in there now, all.

Have good weekends, 

Cheers

Doesn't take a rocket scientist(or a ministerial Inquiry) to work out that that potentially legalizing cannabis is going to have a worsening effect on mental health...crazy mis-mash of policies coming to the fore on day one.

"Set up a Ministerial Inquiry in order to fix our mental health crisis."

I think legalising cannabis is far preferable to the current use of synthetic cannabis with 20 deaths so far and profits going to gangs and other criminals. Cannabis is the lowest harm option, but not no harm especially to teenagers. The costs of enforcement plus additional tax revenue make it a win win from government perspective, this benefit should be used for drug education and harm prevention.

I've obviously missed something here. Taxes imply profit from selling. So the referendum will be on allowing legal production and distribution of cannabis, not just possession for personal use?

NZF's voting base of super gold card holders is not going to be very happy with WP's 180º on the current tax cuts which because super is 66% of the after tax wages currently flow through to a substantial increase in super.

Surprised he has shafted to his own voters before even being sworn in !

Politics as usual.

I voted for NZF and I'm not a super gold card holder nor old enough to get one. If I'm not a complete anomaly, it may be that $20/week (wow!) was not high on peoples' list of reasons to vote NZF.

I'm a gold carder. I received a taped message from Bill English on my answer phone 2 days before the election telling me that single super annuitants would get $450 more, and married super annuitants altogether $650 more. (Too late Bill, I had already voted. It was always going to be too late after the Stephen Joyce 11 Billion hole gaffe.) The consequences of MMP are that some policies have to be traded off. For instance I think its good that students will get free tertiary education, and many families with children will get some extra income.

"" Immigration policy would be focussed on getting the settings right "" - it is not the settings; in fact the current settings are not that dreadful - the problem is the rorts and corruption involved with low-wage immigrants from poor countries looking for a life in a welfare state. The widespread exploitation of naive foreigners is an embarrassment to NZ.

Employ many more labour inspectors now and when new settings are in place and the current crop of immigrants working towards permanent residency are processed they will not be needed.

More Ministries = more staff, more Sir Humphreys, more accounting and payroll/HR software, more offices, fitouts, signage and furniture. Why, the design costs for the logos alone will run into the millions. And of course there will be consultancy needed.....yum yum. Silver lining....

Um, haven't you caught up with the news, Stephen Joyce is not there anymore.

Some low-quality comments have been removed from this threat. Please keep the converstaion civil.

"Net zero emmissions by 2050". Yeah right.
Perhaps Jacinda and Winston should work how to hit the Paris Climate Treaty goals before they crack on to a zero carbon North Korean economy? All this below to cut the artificial contruct "global temperature" by a mere 0.17 degrees C by 2100. Clueless ecozealots.

How are Jacinda's union backers going to react to entire industries being shut down?

" To hit the Paris climate goals without geoengineering, the world has to do three broad (and incredibly ambitious) things:

1) Global CO2 emissions from energy and industry have to fall in half each decade. That is, in the 2020s, the world cuts emissions in half. Then we do it again in the 2030s. Then we do it again in the 2040s. They dub this a “carbon law.” Lead author Johan Rockström told me they were thinking of an analogy to Moore’s law for transistors; we’ll see why.

2) Net emissions from land use — i.e., from agriculture and deforestation — have to fall steadily to zero by 2050. This would need to happen even as the world population grows and we’re feeding ever more people.

3) Technologies to suck carbon dioxide out of the atmospherehave to start scaling up massively, until we’re artificially pulling 5 gigatons of CO2 per year out of the atmosphere by 2050 — nearly double what all the world’s trees and soils already do."

www.vox.com/platform/amp/energy-and-environment/2017/3/23/15028480/roadm...

 http://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.1111/1758-5899.12295/full

@Profile. Clueless ecozealots? Now and throughout history human societies have over exploited their environments. I suggest such populations are the clueless ones. Perhaps you should read Jared Diamond's best selling book "Collapse."

No I'll stick to the Nature paper thanks. Guns, Germs and Steel was Diamond's better work. Chose to forget about the benefits of private property rights in Collapse.

Historical over exploitation and a zero carbon economy are not on the same page. Which industries do you think should be butchered first? Which geo engineering option do you prefer?