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Watch: PM unveils 'action plan' for next three months

Thomas Coughlan,
Publish Date
Mon, 1 Jul 2024, 3:59pm

Watch: PM unveils 'action plan' for next three months

Thomas Coughlan,
Publish Date
Mon, 1 Jul 2024, 3:59pm

Prime Minister Christopher Luxon has unveiled the Government’s action plan for the next three months, giving itself a mark of 35 out of 36 for its April through June efforts.

Luxon said there was no doubt Kiwis were struggling with the cost of living, repeating what he said yesterday about changes coming into force today including the scrapping of the Auckland regional fuel tax and an increase to paid parental leave.

Luxon claimed the quarterly plans enhanced focus and created momentum.

In the Q3 plan, four bills would be passed addressing law and order, including banning gang patches and allowing tougher sentences for recidivist criminals.

Today is also the first day of the Government’s first Budget taking effect, meaning people are able to begin taking advantage of policies like the “FamilyBoost” childcare tax credit scheme. People will also begin to feel the effect of things that the Government has taken away. As of today, the $5 prescription charge has been reinstated.

Luxon has been keen to talk up the Government’s efforts to reduce the cost of living. This weekend he drew attention to the fact Aucklanders would no longer pay the Auckland Regional Fuel Tax introduced by the last Government but abolished by this one.

Luxon will be forced to answer questions about an exodus at Government landlord Kāinga Ora following news its chief executive and five directors would be leaving the organisation.

The agency has been under fire after a report by former Prime Minister Bill English raised questions about its financial competence and management. The former board denied that it had managed the agency’s finances poorly, and alleged factual inaccuracies in English’s report. The report recommended a board refresh, which began with the appointment of a new chair, former Spark boss Simon Moutter.

Chief executive Andrew McKenzie will leave the organisation in October. A statement from Moutter said McKenzie had decided to leave after discussions about his role being down-scaled as a result of reforms following the English review.

“I have been discussing the implications of this with our chief executive, Andrew McKenzie, and concluded that the changes are material to his role, reducing its scale and accountabilities significantly, and that was not what he signed up for when he agreed with the board to extend his contract last year,” the note said.

“Mr McKenzie has done an excellent job as chief executive of firstly Housing New Zealand and then Kāinga Ora over the last eight years. During that time he established the new Kāinga Ora organisation, led it through Covid, improved tenant outcomes, built New Zealand’s largest housing construction programme and delivered land that will see tens of thousands of new homes built over the next decade. I wish him well for his career beyond Kāinga Ora,” it said.

The note said that Moutter had asked McKenzie to stay until October to assist with “current change processes” and, following that, to assist the board in “preparing the new Plan that must be delivered to the government in November”.

McKenzie will receive his contractual entitlements upon leaving the board, including a payment totalling six months of his base salary as compensation for notice and redundancy. This will work out to be roughly $365,000.

The English report had recommended the Government set itself a November deadline for fixing Kāinga Ora’s financial situation.

The statement did not mention the state of the organisation’s board. Newsroom reported that five of the organisations’ board directors finished up on Sunday. A Kāinga Ora spokesperson could said there was likely to be an announcement about the board at another date.

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