Labour government

Inequality is not confined to income and wealth; it is in our healthcare and education systems. Is Labour trying to reverse the trend?

Eighty years ago, the First Labour Government imbedded New Zealanders’ aspirations for an egalitarian society in the welfare state it created. Thirty years ago, both the Labour and National Governments began an assault on that egalitarianism and the traditional welfare state.

Jacinda Ardern Did Not Say Enough at a Recent Business Breakfast.

[After introductory remarks] This morning I want to address the fact that surveys of business opinion suggest that business confidence is not high. This seems to contradict the reports in the same surveys that firms are expecting higher sales, taking on more workers and planning to invest to increase their capacity; that, is they are confident about the prospects for their businesses.

What is the actual state of the economy?

When I was closely associated with a business opinion survey many years ago, we found that the responses about the state of the economy were virtually valueless. If you asked a business whether they were taking on labour, selling more or investing more, their predictions in one survey correlated with what they say happened in the next.

I was asked to nominate ‘the three big things [the current government] should be tackling and is not’. Here is my answer.

I am going to eschew the usual response of various specific policies (such as a capital gains tax, resolving the Working for Families mess, spending more on the arts or establishing something like Australia's National Disability Insurance Scheme) and instead identify three strategic issues. But first a background.

The term of the 52nd New Zealand Parliament is a quarter of the way through. We ought to be getting some impression of the government by now.

Coming to office a month after the election, the new Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern promised ‘transformative’ rather than incremental government. The promise contrasted with the record of the predecessor Key-English government which had some wins but I doubt that even the most fervent National supporters of the future will remember it as one of their party’s great governments.