1 Oct 2023

Election 2023: National Party releases 100-day action plan if elected

12:17 pm on 1 October 2023
National Party leader Christopher Luxon announcing a frontline police policy on 27 September, 2023.

Photo: RNZ / Marika Khabazi

The National Party has released its plan of what it would do in its first 100 days in government, if elected.

The plan include policies the party has previously announced this campaign but it is now outlining these would be implemented within 100 days.

Leader Christopher Luxon said they would get started with a "big Parliamentary agenda" and introduce legislation to remove Auckland's Regional Fuel Tax and restore the 90-day employment trial periods for all businesses.

A trial period is a period of up to 90 days when an employer is allowed to dismiss the employee without the employee being able to raise a personal grievance for unjustified dismissal.

At the moment, only businesses with fewer than 20 employees can use trial periods for new employees.

The National Party leader says MPs' holidays could be cut short if it wins the election in a bid to implement its 100-day action plan.

Christopher Luxon said a shorter holiday for politicians would be in the best interest for New Zealanders.

"Let's be clear we're in a turnaround job, we have to start getting things done for New Zealanders, and so I'm sorry if that means if MPs come off their holidays, which seem to be very long from my observation coming from outside anyway, we can get started earlier and we can finish later and actually work."

He did not believe the plan meant important law changes would need to be rushed through Parliament.

Also on National's 100-day plan is banning gang patches, making gang membership an aggravating factor at sentencing, stopping gang meetings in public and giving police powers to search for firearms.

It wants to stop taxpayer funding for section 27 cultural reports; these give insight into a defendant's personal history, such as their relationships, culture, education and employment which may have negatively impacted them.

The party again confirmed it would sign an memorandum of understanding with Waikato University to progress a third medical school. Last month, RNZ revealed the head of Waikato University referred to the setting up of the country's third medical school as "a present" to a future National government.

It will also repeal Labour's Three Waters legislation and stop work on the Lake Onslow scheme.

Other infrastructure plans include withdrawing central government from the Let's Get Wellington Moving programme, cancelling the Auckland Light Rail project, and begin work on establishing a National Infrastructure Agency.

On the education front, it would ban cellphones in schools and require primary and intermediate schools to prepare o teach an hour a day each of reading, writing and maths (starting from 2024), appoint an expert group to redesign the English and maths curricula for primary school students and being disestablishing the Te Pūkenga polytech mega-merger to restore local decision-making.

For housing, it would introduce a fast-track consenting regime and establish a "Priority One category" on the social housing waitlist, commission an independent review into Kāinga Ora's financial situation, procurement, and asset management, and amend the Overseas Investment Act 2005 to make it easier for Build-to-Rent housing to be

developed in New Zealand.

On the health front, it wants to set five major targets for the health system, including for wait times and cancer treatment, improve hospital emergency department health workforce security, introduce legislation to disestablish the Māori Health Authority, and introduce legislation to extend free breast cancer screening for those aged up to 74 years.

Under National, in the first 100 days, public sector chief executives would be instructed to begin reducing consultant and contractor expenditure, and to report on current spending within 100 days, and the party would start reducing public sector expenditure by 6.5 percent on average by requiring chief executives to identify back-office spending not critical to frontline services.

National's planned 100-day legislation includes:

  • Remove the Auckland Regional Fuel Tax
  • Remove the Reserve Bank's dual mandate to get the Bank focused on putting the lid back on inflation.
  • Restore 90-day employment trial periods for all businesses.
  • Extend free breast cancer screening for women aged up to 74.
  • Repeal Labour's Three Waters legislation.
  • Repeal what National calls "RMA 2.0" laws
  • Ban gang patches, stop gang members gathering in public, and stop known gang offenders from communicating with one another.
  • Give police greater powers to search gang members for firearms and make gang membership an aggravating factor at sentencing.
  • Extend the eligibility for remand prisoners to access rehabilitation programmes.
  • Encourage more virtual participation in court proceedings.

Labour responds to National's Three Waters repeal pledge

Labour Party local government spokesperson Kieran McAnulty said repealing Three Waters would drive up ratepayers' bills.

McAnulty said National's fiscal plan allocated no money to cover costs of water infrastructure upgrades if local councils could not do that, which the party had promised to do.

"National has made no provision of funding for their promised 'step-ins' when a council can't meet the investment by themselves.

"Government support for local council infrastructure is treated as operational expenditure not capital, so would have needed an allocation in the fiscal plan. There wasn't one."

Instead, councils would have to hike rates bills to cover the $185 billion bill for water infrastructure over the next 30 years, McAnulty said.

On the other hand, he claimed Labour's plan would save Aucklanders a lot of money.

"The establishment of an Auckland and Northland water entity will avoid the doubling of water bills that are projected in Auckland, and balance sheet separation will take pressure off Auckland's rates bills too.

"National's ideological opposition to affordable water reform means rate payers could face the worst of all worlds - increased rates, crumbling pipes, unsafe water and no long-term plan to fix things."

What Labour says would happen to rates under National:

  • Councils in Otago/Southland will need to introduce annual household charges of nearly $10,000 per year to make the required investment in their infrastructure.
  • In Wellington locals would see an over $3000 increase in annual charges by 2054, just to maintain infrastructure to a safe standard.
  • In Canterbury / West Coast ratepayers would get hit with charges over $7000 each year compared with $2500 with Labour's reform.

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