17 Sep 2018

Watch: National dismisses govt blueprint as 'nothing new'

7:49 am on 17 September 2018

The announcement of the government 'blueprint' has been dismissed as nothing more than damage control by the National Party.

Watch National Party leader Simon Bridges live on Morning Report.

Party leaders and MPs from Labour, New Zealand First and the Greens staged an event in Auckland to unveil a high level plan for the rest of this term, but the clear intent was to demonstrate the coalition was united, and in good shape.

The audience was handpicked, with representatives from business, unions, NGOs and academia.

Over the past weeks, there have been open disagreements between New Zealand First and Labour on topics including the refugee quota and employment law changes.

The prime minister laid out 12 policy priorities, with three main themes - a strong sustainable economy, ensuring the well-being of New Zealanders and providing "new" government leadership.

This differed from past governments, said Jacinda Ardern, when intentions were only spelt out in coalition or confidence and supply agreements.

"It's a bit like a road trip that tells you who's in the car, where you'll be stopping, but doesn't tell you where you're going. I can tell you, that as the person driving that car, that wasn't enough for me."

A set of indicators will be established to measure progress on each part of the plan, which will then be reported publicly, she said.

Afterwards the leaders of all three parties spoke to media, where Ms Ardern reiterated there would always be a diversity of views.

"Everyone would expect we'd all be one party if we all agreed 100 percent of the time; we have different ideas and opinions but ... we make it work."

Winston Peters said he knew more than anyone the challenges of coalition government, and was "very happy" with how things were going.

"That said nothing is easy ... you've got to make sure you're consulting, taking your backbenchers with you, taking your party members with you.

"Don't simplify it and think it's all about upfront showtime," he said, "it's not - this is not dysfunction junction."

Green Party Co-leader James Shaw focused on wins for the Greens saying for the last 20 years there's been a "great fear that the Green Party was going to be this crazy, unstable..."

At which point Mr Peters chipped in to put him back on the "unity" message.

"So I think that we've actually demonstrated comprehensively that we're a very good government partner," Mr Shaw said.

National though is unimpressed, with leader Simon Bridges saying it was a missed opportunity.

"We've got a prime minister and government in damage control, they've been forced to show some unity after a shambolic few weeks."

But ultimately, said Mr Bridges, it was a "ra-ra" speech and nothing new.

Get the RNZ app

for ad-free news and current affairs