Heather du Plessis-Allan: Winners and losers of the new Government

Author
Heather du Plessis-Allan,
Section
Opinion,
Publish Date
Sunday, 22 October 2017, 7:57AM
Change is coming - who's a winner? (Image / Getty Images)
Change is coming - who's a winner? (Image / Getty Images)

Change is coming. Big change. That much Winston Peters has told us.

Exactly what that means we won't know until the new government reveals its coalition policy deals in the next few days. But still, we have enough hints and clues to already declare some winners and losers.

WINNERS

Anyone with a car

The days of freight-carrying trucks cutting up our highway network are numbered. Both NZ First and the Greens are obsessed with getting freight off our roads and back on the railways.

Things are even better for Auckland drivers. If Winston gets his wish of moving Auckland's port up to Northland, that'll further reduce the number of trucks on the motorway heading south.

And things are even better for Auckland drivers who actually believe migrants are clogging motorways. Under this government, immigrants and their cars are no longer as welcome.

Farmers

Farmers are probably not much better off but they've snuck into the winners' category on the strength of sheer relief. Boy, did they kick up a stink over Labour's entirely reasonable plan to tax commercial water use. It sounds like Winston's put a stop to that.

On the plus side, Winston's probably struck a deal to increase regional spending which is a geographic win for farmers. On the down side, expect the Greens to properly tackle climate change which is a loss to farmers given their cows are New Zealand's biggest problem.

First Home Buyers

Labour will build more houses. These houses will be affordable. To further help first home buyers, there will be rules against foreign speculators buying existing houses and, of course, as many immigrants won't be allowed in to outbid them.

Humanity

It has to be said that National let the country down in this general category. It's been a tough few years for lower income earners, and now the minimum wage is set to increase. It's been tough for those needing mental health intervention, and Labour's promised a ministerial inquiry (not that that necessarily means much). And it's been awful for the Pike River families who deserve to go into the mine if that's what they want. Now, it sounds like they'll get it.

The Greens

Finally. It's been a long apprenticeship.

Don't let anyone tell you four positions outside Cabinet is a slap in the face. It's a win. It gives the Greens power in the areas they care about, but enough arms-length from bad decisions to give them a chance at surviving in government. Remember, no minor party has yet survived an MMP coalition. But, the Greens probably will because co-leader James Shaw understands MMP and because they'll already claimed a win with the marijuana referendum.

LOSERS

Existing Home Owners

Take everything that counts as wins for first home buyers, and they're losses for home owners. If someone knows how to flood the market with cheap houses and not crash the prices of existing houses, please contact the Labour Party. Do it now.

Economy

Not to be dramatic or anything, but we may have a problem. Our economy may look like one of the strongest in the developed world, but economists will tell you much of that is an illusion pumped by high immigration. Actually, things aren't that flash. You know it because no one's getting a pay rise.

The new government's going to cut that immigration pump. Dramatically. That should slow things right down.

Plus, there's not a lot of spare change by the looks of things. Labour's promises alone cost a lot. A lot. Now factor in the Greens' and NZ First's and you've got a tight budget. Governments need spare change so that they can increase spending and prop up the economy during tough times. Well, we may have a tough time coming but not enough coin to remedy it.

In this scenario the losers are all of us.

All of us

Just to drive that last point home, you're not getting the tax cut National has already put into law. That'll be unwound with urgency

ACT

ACT should've disbanded years ago. Do you know how many people voted for ACT last month? 13,000. That's about five times fewer than Gareth Morgan's party, and please remember that, in my view, Gareth Morgan did everything possible to repel voters.

ACT is part of the reason National No-Mates lost the election. With only one MP, ACT is too small to help a right-wing government over the line. The ACT brand is damaged, possibly beyond repair. It may be time to make way for a new right wing party.

Everybody who's freaking out

This new Government's caused some people to descend into a shrill panic.

If that's you, settle down. You've lived through changes in government before. You'll survive this.

If this new government gets out of hand, you still have the power to vote them out in 3 years. Your vote is valuable. They'll try to win it, which means they won't go crazy.

Give them a chance.

Heather du Plessis-Allan is a columnist for the Herald on Sunday

 

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