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The Front Page: Will anything be left of Labour’s legacy after new Govt’s policy bonfire?

Editor Written by Editor · 1 min read >

Former Prime Ministers Jacinda Ardern, left, and Chris Hipkins. Photo / Getty

The new Government has made no secret of its desire for change and will soon get stuck into repealing some big ideas the Labour government had planned.

Auckland light rail, RMA reforms, fair pay agreements, Three Waters and the smoking ban for younger Kiwis are just some of the policies on the chopping block.

So, will anything be left of labour’s legacy once the coalition of National, Act and NZ First have had their way?

Speaking to The Front Page podcast, Newstalk ZB political editor Jason Walls said it isn’t unusual to see a new government quickly go about unravelling the work of those previously in power.


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“A lot of this is how government works,” says Walls.

“It was the same when [Dame Jacinda] Ardern came into power. There were a bunch of things that National really cherished that were kicked to the side of the kerb, including Bill English’s social investment policy and his approach to the social sector.”

While National’s Christopher Luxon, NZ First’s Winston Peters and Act’s David Seymour have all spoken a big game about getting things done, the drawn-out coalition agreement means there are only three sitting weeks of Parliament before Christmas.

This means that the parties will have to act rapidly if they want to get the ball rolling on the ambitions laid out in their plan for their first 100 days in power.


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“I think Chris Luxon is actually going to demonstrate to New Zealand how much Parliament can get done if they put their mind to it,” says Walls.

“Parliament doesn’t just have to sit between the hours of 2pm and 10pm from Tuesday to Thursday – the usual cut-off for Thursday is actually about 6pm. But you can go into urgency to get things done. The last government basically used the last three weeks, and every day was in urgency. That’s one element of this, and that’s how it could work.”

Cutting policies can, however, come with drawbacks, as was seen in last week with the flood of criticism in response to the decision by the National-led Government to throw out laws that would ban those born after 2008 from buying cigarettes.

So, could decisions like this hurt National in the long run? Will Peters and Seymour play nice throughout the term? And does the new Government have its priorities in the right place?

Listen to the full episode of The Front Page for a rundown on these details and more.

The Front Page is a daily news podcast from the New Zealand Herald, available to listen to every weekday from 5am. It is presented by Damien Venuto, an Auckland-based journalist with a background in business reporting who joined the Herald in 2017.

You can follow the podcast at iHeartRadio, Apple Podcasts, Spotify, or wherever you get your podcasts.

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