What will happen once a government is formed?
There are procedural matters and ceremonial fixtures to be planned for and held, and a programme of repeal of major legislation to kick off before the House rises in 27 days
Mōrena, and welcome to The Bulletin for Thursday, November 23, by Anna Rawhiti-Connell. Presented in partnership with Z Energy.
In today’s edition: more problems with Transmission Gully; a ceasefire in Gaza; Auckland dropped as host of major sailing event; but first, once the deal is done, parliament will get very busy
The sticking point over the deputy PM role
Here’s a quick recap of yesterday’s events that did not lead to any announcement of a government being formed: plenty of MPs flew back to Wellington, including Christopher Luxon; Nicola Willis ruled herself out of contention for deputy prime minister, and Luxon said Willis was never in contention. A new poll from Talbot Mills (Labour’s pollsters) finds 66% of New Zealanders think it’s taking too long for a government to form, and 33% of respondents blame Winston Peters. 24% blame Luxon. RNZ’s deputy political editor Craig McCulloch made the observation yesterday that if the hold-up is being caused by Act and NZ First tussling for the deputy PM position, it could be perceived as contrary to their earlier positions of eschewing the baubles of office in favour of solid policy gains. Newshub has an eight-minute supercut of all the mentions of “progress”, “final stages”, and “strong, stable government” over the last 23 days.
Timings of the procedural, ceremonial and likely legislative programme
Perhaps sensing that everyone is over the airport stakeout, including those on them, Newsroom’s Jo Moir has helpfully cast forward to outline what happens next. Moir covers both the timing of procedural and ceremonial matters like swearings-in, cabinet meetings and sitting days and the likely legislative programme. Moir writes that the new government will most likely begin with repealing legislation such as the Resource Management Act and Auckland’s Regional Fuel Tax and restoring 90-day employment trial periods for businesses. As Q&A’s Jack Tame writes, National has also pledged to end the clean car discount by December 31. Work will also need to begin on disestablishing the Te Pukenga polytech merger and a host of other abolitions and pledges listed in the party’s 100-day plan. The need to demonstrate pace in the coming weeks is essential. As Ben Thomas writes in The Post, the brief window of “new government, new broom” opportunity will slam shut “under the weight of piled up officials’ briefings and media scrutiny.” Briefings to incoming ministers are usually delivered shortly after they are sworn in.
Councils want water infrastructure on agenda for first cabinet meeting
National committed to scrapping the existing water reform legislation within 100 days of being elected. As Newsroom’s Jono Milne writes, “councils have come together with one demand: the incoming cabinet must make a decision on three waters infrastructure at its first meeting.” Moir suggests that could be as early as next Tuesday if we are in the final stages of the final stages. Milne writes that most councils must complete their draft 10-year long-term plans before Christmas to get them to the auditors. They are currently preparing them without knowing if they will still be responsible for more than $70b of water assets.
Downgrade on political stability index
The Herald’s Thomas Coughlan reports (paywalled), that BMI, part of the Fitch Group, one of the big three international ratings agencies, downgraded New Zealand’s score in its short-term political stability index. It’s now at its lowest score since 2010. That’s unlikely to cause much consternation as the score of 78.5 out of 100 is still considered high. As I’ve touched on recently, the pressure on New Zealand to meet our climate change obligations that will likely come out of Cop 28 in a week is more consequential. Newsroom’s Marc Daalder writes that “the scale of New Zealand’s existing climate commitments, the mounting domestic and global pressure to increase those pledges, the need to set the next round of targets and the ever-worsening climate impacts are rapidly coming to a head.”
Join The Spinoff Members
"You guys do a great job of showing me another long form side to what’s going on in NZ. I look forward to each post." David, Spinoff member since 2020
If, like David, you value our perspective and want to support us, please consider becoming a member today. Already a member? Ka nui te mihi, your support means the world to us.
Problems persist with Wellington’s Transmission Gully
As RNZ’s Phil Pennington reports, newly released information shows Transmission Gully's problems have persisted since its opening last year, and it’s unclear who should be held accountable. The Greater Wellington Regional Council has revealed to RNZ that it is investigating nine possible breaches of resource consent conditions, including high sediment levels getting into Pāuatahanui Inlet, potentially blocking fish migrations. Waka Kotahi is engaged in ongoing legal action with the builders of the road and a back-and-forth seems to have emerged about who is responsible for the environment controls and management employed on this project.
Ceasefire in Gaza
As Reuters reports, Israel and Hamas agreed to a ceasefire in Gaza yesterday for at least four days to let in aid and free at least 50 hostages held by militants in the Palestinian enclave in exchange for at least 150 Palestinians jailed in Israel. The Guardian reports that officials from both Hamas and Israel have said the ceasefire is due to come into effect on Thursday morning. Humanitarian group Islamic Relief says it welcomes the “pause” in fighting in Gaza “and the safe release of civilian hostages and detained children” but “that it will not be enough to end the bloodshed and address the humanitarian needs of the wounded and displaced.”
Click and Collect
Wellington's “bridge to nowhere” will be demolished
Tuesday’s Bulletin focused on the rising demand for food support. Yesterday the Salvation Army announced it can’t provide its traditional Christmas meal hampers due to the cost of living.
Sam Altman to return as OpenAI CEO after he was fired last Friday
How Thanksgiving becomes a “Friendsgiving” for Americans living in Aotearoa
Toby Manhire spends a day with Kim Hill as the doyenne of NZ radio prepares to hang up the microphone. Joel MacManus reports that Wellington's massive cycling upgrade is ambitious, fast and surprisingly cheap. Tommy de Silva isn't sure how to feel about the new Māori exhibit at Auckland Museum. Sam Brooks reviews the latest season of The Crown and finds it struggling to handle the Diana problem. Tara Ward is happy to announce that the ThreeNow app is no longer munted.
Major sailing event will now bypass Auckland
It looks like YouTube channel, Rabbitholebd Sports, will be the winner for cricket fans wanting to watch the Black Caps two-test series against Bangladesh
Crusaders make significant changes to home jerseys
Got some feedback about The Bulletin, or anything in the news? Get in touch with me at email@example.com.
If you liked what you read today, share The Bulletin with friends, family and colleagues.