The Kākā by Bernard Hickey
Back to the future, with a 2032 deadline

Back to the future, with a 2032 deadline

Luxon sets "nine ambitious Government Targets"; Most return measures back to pre-Covid era; None improve housing affordability, child poverty or cut emissions faster; Accountability by 2032 elections
Aiming to look visionary and focused, Luxon has announced nine targets to improve measures for education, health, crime and climate emissions - but the reality is only one target is well above pre-Covid levels. Photo: Lynn Grieveson / The Kākā

TL;DR: The six news items of note for me in Aotearoa-NZ’s political economy as of 9:06 am on Monday, April 8 are:

  1. PM Christopher Luxon announcing “nine ambitious Government targets to help improve the lives of New Zealanders.” Seven would return results to pre-Covid levels and one is adopted from Labour. Only one is newly ambitious: 80% school attendance. (See and hear more detail and analysis below and in the podcast)

  2. The targets to shorten emergency department wait times, reduce cut treatment wait times and reduce child and youth offending and violent crime were achieved just before covid, or just before the Labour Government was elected in 2017.

  3. None of the targets address Aotearoa-NZ’s worst-in-the-OECD levels of rent stress or house-buying unaffordability, worsening food poverty and growing mental health problems, or set more ambitious emissions targets than the 2017-2023 Government. Accountability is not due until the 2032 election.

  4. The unchanged emissions ambitions came as the Climate Commission said more aggressive cuts should be considered. It also rejected the Government’s review of methane goalposts, saying there was “no justification” for a lower target.

  5. The owners of a Parnell boarding house that burned down on Sunday night also owned nine motels and had been paid $22.4 million by the Government emergency housing grants over six years from 2017 to 2022. The boarding house (or self-described ‘backpackers’ hostel’) failed its building warrant of fitness twice last year because of fire escape issues, the NZ Herald reported this morning.

  6. The Ministry for the Environment offered voluntary redundancy to all its nearly 1,100 staff yesterday. The Ministry’s staff numbers have trebled since 2019 due to RMA and water quality reforms, plus much more climate change work. Stuff reported this morning 1,051 public service jobs had been cut so far in response to the Government’s demands for 6.5% or 7.5% spending cuts.

(Paying subscribers can see more detail and analysis below the paywall and in the podcast above. We’ll open it up for public reading, listening and sharing if they give permission by getting over 100 likes.)

Back to 2019 levels by 2030, but not for housing or poverty

PM Christopher Luxon yesterday announced nine Government targets to improve measures for education, health, crime and climate emissions, but only one target is well above pre-Covid levels: for school attendance. The rest either take the measure back to pre-Covid or pre-Labour levels, or are the same as Labour’s measure.

There are no targets for housing affordability, or for child poverty improvement, although these are legislated in the Child Poverty Reduction Act 2018. The targets are to be achieved by 2030, which means the Government cannot be held accountable until the 2032 election.

These charts show best what success looks like in an historical context. There is more detail via factsheets at Department of Prime Minister and Cabinet (DPMC) and attached below.

Government Targets April 2024
565KB ∙ PDF file

Climate graphic of the day

Need an airport?

Auckland with five metres of sea level rise, which would be possible within a few decades if the West Antarctic ice shelf and glaciers melt within a few decades, as suggested in this piece in the Observer on a 38.5 degree spike in temperatures in Antarctica in mid-March. Zoomable and searchable map via Climate Central HT WekaTweets via X

Cartoon of the day

Branch office

Guy Body for NZ Herald-$$$ and via X

Timeline-cleansing nature pic of the day

Follow me

E.E. Grieveson capture of a kākā for The Kākā

Ka kite ano


The Kākā by Bernard Hickey
The latest daily snapshot of the news, detail, insight and analysis on geo-politics, the global economy, business, markets and the local political economy for citizens and decision-makers of Aotearoa-NZ.