2 Apr 2024

Prime Minister lays out his priority list for next three months

12:59 pm on 2 April 2024
Prime Minister Christopher Luxon

Prime Minister Christopher Luxon. Photo: RNZ / Angus Dreaver

Fresh off completing the Coalition's 100-day plan, Christopher Luxon has laid out a new priority list for the next three months and it includes the delivery of long-promised tax relief.

Luxon told Morning Report the Government had a clear action plan to get the country "back on track". "Every one of these 36 actions ladders up to that".

While some of the priorities were discreet and easy to complete, other bigger goals had been broken down into steps, Luxon said.

The new "action plan" - published on Tuesday - includes 36 bullet points to be achieved by 30 June, and, like its predecessor, contains a mix of concrete tasks and more ambiguous easily-achievable objectives.

Asked about how easy it would be to measure the plan to "raise the energy New Zealand brings to key relationships through international engagements", Luxon was adamant it was achievable.

"We can get a feel for that very quickly, there is work to do in New Zealand's relationships with other countries around the world".

Luxon also wouldn't be drawn on whether the goal of raising school attendance would include fines for parents, saying people would "have to wait until that gets announced".

He said using urgency to push through the priorities hadn't been a consideration and the "right method through Parliament" would be used.

The Labour Party on Tuesday accused the prime minister of running the country as if was a company.

Green Party co-leader Chloe Swarbrick was also critical of the plan, saying it wouldn't stack up in the corporate world, as the list is immeasurable and untethered from reality.

Number one job is to deliver a budget

Luxon last month celebrated the fulfilment of all 49 tasks on his government's initial to-do list, boasting a clean sweep, though a closer analysis delivered a more ambiguous report card.

While 100-day plans have been utilised by numerous former governments, the notion of an ongoing public quarterly programme was much less common but in keeping with Luxon's self-professed CEO-style.

"Having a clear plan with specific actions and timeframes for delivery creates momentum and drives focus," Luxon said in a statement.

"New Zealanders expect and deserve delivery from their government, and that is exactly what they are getting from us."

The number one job is "deliver a budget that reduces wasteful spending while investing in frontline services like health, education and police", set down for 30 May.

That is followed by commitments to pass laws delivering personal income tax relief and the FamilyBoost childcare tax credit outlined last week.

A Regional Infrastructure Fund will also be established within the quarter, though the amount of funding to be allocated is not specified. New Zealand First secured the fund in its coalition agreement with National to the tune of $1.2 billion over the three-year term.

A new school Attendance Action Plan will be launched, presumably by Associate Education Minister David Seymour, who has responsibility for addressing truancy and recently mused about fining more parents whose children are frequently absent.

Twelve of the tasks require the coalition only "take decisions" on various policies or promises, meaning some could arguably have already been delivered. They include taking decisions on the return of Three Strikes, tighter controls on youth vaping, and stronger teacher training.

The full second-quarter action plan:

The economy and cost of living

1. Deliver a budget that reduces wasteful spending while investing in frontline services like health, education and police.

2. Legislate for personal income tax relief.

3. Legislate to introduce the FamilyBoost childcare tax credit.

4. Finalise the Government Policy Statement on Land Transport, freezing fuel tax until the end of 2026 and delivering significant investment for transport.

5. Take decisions to implement the Going for Housing Growth plan while making the MDRS optional for councils.

6. Respond to the independent review of Kāinga Ora's financial situation, procurement, and asset management.

7. Introduce legislation to improve the rental market.

8. Release draft plan to ease restrictions on building materials from overseas for public consultation.

9. Take decisions on measures to increase investment in renewable electricity generation.

10. Introduce legislation to amend the RMA to clarify application of National Policy Statement on Freshwater Management in relation to individual consents for freshwater and to extend marine farm consent.

11. Introduce legislation to suspend the requirement on councils to identify and adopt new Significant Natural Areas.

12. Finalise policy to keep agriculture out of the ETS.

13. Commence an independent review of the methane science and targets for consistency with no additional warming from agricultural methane emissions.

14. Reform the CCCFA regime to improve access to credit for home buyers.

15. Initiate the first regulatory sector review.

16. Take decisions on the scope of the extension to the Covid-19 inquiry.

17. Take decisions on reform of the Holidays Act

18. Raise the energy New Zealand brings to key relationships through international engagements, focussing on our traditional partners, the Pacific, and South East and South Asia.

19. Take decisions on the removal of the ban on offshore oil and gas exploration.

20. Commission a study into New Zealand's fuel security, including investigating the feasibility of reopening the Marsden Point Oil Refinery.

21. Establish a Regional Infrastructure Fund.

Law and order

22. Progress legislation to improve rehabilitation, reintegration and safety outcomes in the corrections system, including by extending eligibility to offence-based rehabilitation programmes to remand prisoners.

23. Take decisions to restore Three Strikes.

24. Launch a review of the firearms registry.

25. Take decisions on establishing a Youth Serious Offender Category and making Youth Military Academies a standalone sentencing option for the Youth Court.

Public services

26. Set targets for improving public service outcomes.

27. Take decisions on the rollout of structured literacy for year 1-3 students, including a phonics check.

28. Take action to strengthen teacher training, including refocusing Professional Learning and Development for teachers on numeracy, literacy and assessment.

29. Take action to develop standardised assessment and regular reporting to parents.

30. Introduce legislation to reintroduce charter schools.

31. Launch an Attendance Action Plan and introduce the first phase of initiatives to lift school attendance.

32. Take decisions to disestablish Te Pūkenga and consult on a proposed replacement model.

33. Issue a new Government Policy Statement on Health, setting the government's priorities for the health system for the next three years.

34. Take decisions to streamline the Medsafe approval process.

35. Take decisions to tighten controls on youth vaping.

36. Take decisions on the repeal of Section 7AA of the Oranga Tamariki Act