An ode to Jacinda Adern

It is fair to say that MB has had a love hate relationship with New Zealand Prime Minister Jacinda Adern.

When she became New Zealand’s 40th Prime Minister on 19 October 2017, we were enamoured by her excellent and comprehensive election platform.

Among other things, Adern promised to fix New Zealand’s chronic housing affordability problem by both addressing supply and demand distortions via negative gearing reform, banning foreign buyers of existing homes, tightening capital gains taxes, removing urban growth boundaries, plus bond financing infrastructure.

Adern also sensibly promised to reduce New Zealand’s turbo-charged immigration intake by around a third, which would have helped to relieve chronic housing and infrastructure pressures (especially around Auckland), as well as promised to build 100,000 public houses over a decade (via ‘KiwiBuild’).

In short, Jacinda Adern was like a breath of fresh air that promised to tear apart decades of neoliberal orthodoxy.

Over the next two years, Jacinda Adern failed to deliver on her key election promises. We lost patience and gradually turned against her.

In particular, Adern’s promised ‘KiwiBuild’ program to build 100,000 public houses descended into a farce, with the government abandoning its building target and instead announcing a bunch of demand-side measures would inflate prices.

Adern abandoned capital gains tax reforms and back-slid on her promise to abolish Auckland’s urban growth boundary and reform infrastructure financing.

Adern also abandoned promised immigration cuts, instead opening the visa sluice gates.

The end result was that New Zealand house prices surged to an all-time high and the home ownership rate cratered to a 70-year low.

Our view bottomed out in 2019 after Jacinda Adern ring-fenced negative gearing. Now, after her exemplary performance with the COVID-19 pandemic she deserves praise.

She managed to unite the nation to fight the virus, implemented a harsh stage 4 lockdown early alongside well-targeted fiscal support, and was successful is making New Zealand the only developed nation to eradicate the virus within the community.

New Zealanders are now bearing the fruits, with life effectively returning to normal with the exception of overseas travel.

With New Zealand’s unemployment remaining elevated, Jacinda Adern has also moved to protect the working class by restricting temporary visa numbers to ensure that foreign labour does not compete against unemployed New Zealanders.

There have been other small wins too. Jacinda Adern’s behaviour after the Christchurch terrorist attacks last year was also exemplary, again uniting the nation. She has also sensibly sought to abandon GDP as the nation’s key economic metric in favour of community wellbeing.

While Jacinda Adern is not prefect – nobody is – her heart is clearly in the right place. She is a role model that the Australian Labour Party should seek to emulate and deserves a stomping victory in New Zealand’s upcoming general election on 19 September.

Jacinda Adern was mired in minority government in her first term. A strong electoral majority would give Adern the mandate to implement her key promises to better New Zealand.

Unconventional Economist
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Comments

  1. She will stomp home in the upcoming election. Very possibly the first NZ majority govt before they switched to MMP. Will be interesting to see what she can do without having to placate a coalition partner.

  2. and yes, Kiwis proved to be smarter than us and yes, we have Jacindas but we will never elect one.

      • Doesn’t need to be by boat, was just by way of example.

        They’ve picked a fight with mother nature and attempted to create a reality that doesn’t exist. I wish them luck but mother nature is a harsh, unforgiving opponent.

    • Ronin8317MEMBER

      97% of cases show symptoms within 14 days, however the longest recorded incubation period is 24 days.

      If you want to be absolutely safe, you need to quarantine for 4 weeks, not 2.

      • This is what I don’t get. The evidence has, for ages, pointed to 14 days quarantine being utterly insufficient.

        We are inviting disaster by continuing to adhere to 14 day quarantines. Minimum 21, I reckon, if you’re serious about defeating it altogether.

  3. *Ardern love.

    I still don’t trust her. NZ and Auckland house prices and homeless never been higher – hows that for wellbeing over GDP? Same thing with the much lauded ‘Dan the Man’ in Victoria. The Twitterati love him, just as they love Ardern. But to me its all sweet nothings until everyone has a secure job and secure, affordable housing. And non crush loaded infrastructure. The majority don’t care about the rest – climate change, renewables, refugees, and other leftist hodge podge.

    • – Did you REALLY think Ardern could/would make a difference ? She has to deal with the property mob, the immigration mob, the banking mob etc. etc. These are guys who will do whatever is in their own interest. And NOT what’s best for the country or the people in NZ.
      – All the promises were nice but Labor doesn;t have a majority in parliament. The Nationals do.
      – Like on the other side of the Tasman Sea there are forces that are more powerful than the government. No matter how well the intentions are of a new government.

  4. Do check out Urban Development Minister Phil Twyfords Beehive website … for information regarding the Urban Development National Policy Statement, the Infrastructure Funding and Financing Bill and the Urban Development Bill. His Devember speech is superb.

    Additionally … from December …

    Watch Twyfords 1sst Reading Speech …

    Government and National support Bill enabling government-approved infrastructure projects to be paid for using levies imposed on landowners – even those who didn’t know they’d be levied when they bought their property … Intertest Co NZ

    https://www.interest.co.nz/property/103068/government-and-national-support-bill-enabling-government-approved-infrastructure

    How Judith Collins (NZ National Party Housing Spokesperson) has more in common with her arch nemesis, Phil Twyford, than one might be led to believe … Jenee Tibshraeny VIDEO INTERVIEW … Interest Co NZ

    https://www.interest.co.nz/personal-finance/103112/how-judith-collins-has-more-common-her-archnemesis-phil-twyford-one-might-be

  5. NEW ZEALAND … ARE NEW ZEALANDERS BEING ADEQUATELY INFORMED OF MIGRATION REALITIES … AND LIKELY CONSEQUENCES ? …

    New Zealand residents have been leaving the country at a greater pace than they have been arriving back … Greg Ninness … Interest Co NZ

    https://www.interest.co.nz/property/106062/new-zealand-residents-have-been-leaving-country-greater-pace-they-have-been-arriving

    People hoping that returning New Zealanders would lift demand for housing and boost the property market are likely to be disappointed, at least for the time being.

    That’s because more people are leaving the country than are arriving.

    The latest Statistics NZ figures show that 5662 people arrived in this country in May, down slightly from 6256 in April and hugely down from the 461,656 that arrived in May last year. … read more via hyperlink above …

  6. Im a kiwi and don’t like her. NZ are simply lucky, they closed the gates quite late relying on the italy canary in the coalmine to provide the legitimation to shut up shop. Covid management gets harder exponentially with population size, land borders and density. Tasmania is probably the only place we could fairly compare her performance with. And that would be par.

    • Just goes to show that closed borders and smaller populations are now a competitive advantage in the “new normal” should no vaccine come to be.

      • China has the advantage of enforcing compliance and lying about its infection rates.

  7. kiwikarynMEMBER

    For someone who campaigned on reducing poverty, she caused the public housing waitlist to skyrocket from 5,000 to over 16,000 families under her tenure. And that was before Covid! Now its over 18,000. Unemployment also rose under her Govt (pre-Covid). Basically, if you were poor and voted for her, you got totally shafted.
    Sadly, there are many people who are seduced by the charm offensive, and lack the ability to critically judge her performance in running the country, rather than her polished PR performances as the “New Princess Diana”.

    • – Did you REALLY think Ardern could make a difference ? She has to deal with the property mob, the immigration mob, the banking mob etc. etc. These are guys who will do whatever is in their own interest. And NOT what’s best for the country or the people in NZ.
      – All the promises were nice but Labor doesn;t have a majority in parliament. The Nationals do.
      – Like on the other side of the Tasman Sea there are forces that are more powerful than the government. No matter how well the intentions are of a new government.

    • – Blame immigration for those growing waiting lists. Because they are all entitled to social housing.
      – And blame the corporate sector for immigration. They are being squeezed between rising housing costs and wages being stagnant. And then start “importing” cheaper workers depressing the wages even more.