Thursday, 31 July 2014

Policy Fulfillment Scorecard

One of the reasons we even have elections is that governments are meant to be held accountable. Apart from the usual resignation of Ministers and trial by media, it's important to remember that we're supposed to elect governments based on their policies, and then re-elect them if they do a good job (or fire them and elect the opposition if they do a bad job). While this is a little simplistic, in my mind the performance of the incumbent should count for a lot when it comes to whether or not we should consider putting them back in power. This is perhaps idealistic, but if even one other "undecided" voter agrees with me then it's worth looking at this more deeply.

Now that Parliament has risen and all legislation that can be passed has been done so... how has the National Government done over the last three years? There are many ways to measure this, some more objective than others, but one way is to look at what they promised three years ago. They campaigned on a cartload of policies in 2011, and we can see if they kept their promises or not. While governments rarely meet all of their promises (and we probably shouldn't expect them to), if they're not following through with what they promised in 2011 then it gives the public little confidence that they'll implement any of the policies they promise in 2014. I'm using a list of 74 policies from 3 News (also listed on the New Lynn Nats (Tim Groser) website) that provides a snapshot of their broader policy collection (mainly for my own sanity as I'm very much not paid for this, but also because a complete list could not be easily found as the old policies are no longer on the National Party website).

Scroll to the bottom of the (very long) post for the TL;DNR summary.

Disclaimer: I do not purport to be an expert or authority in this area, and this research may not be error-free. Determining whether the policy was implemented or not was difficult in some cases with only the use of the internet, and if I had more time, would probably have sent letters/e-mails to the relevant Ministers/Ministries/Departments asking for more information. This is not a comparison to previous governments, just a straight look at the policy. I have not looked at the relative importance or substantive content of the policies in this research. If there are any errors, feel free to let me know in the comments and I will do my best to correct my mistakes. I'm reasonably sure that there will be at least one error in this mix.

Policies are categorised as:
Implemented
Partially Implemented (includes implemented with changes to the original policy)
Questionable (if there is insufficient evidence or it's too hard to make a judgement call either way)
Not Implemented (which can include instances with very little progress or broken promises)

TRANSPORT
#1 Policy: "Add four new projects to the ‘roads of national significance’ programme, including the extension of SH1 from Puhoi to Wellsford"
Explanatory: It appears that the list of RoNS announced in 2009 is the same as the current list of RoNS entirely, so no new projects have been added, although SH1 from Puhoi to Wellsford was already on the list.
Evidence: NZTA, Parliament Research Paper
Verdict: Not Implemented

#2 Policy: "Electrify Auckland’s rail system"
Explanatory: The first public electric service was on 28 April 2014. There are still 4 more stages (out of 5) to be implemented/completed.
Evidence: Wikipedia, KiwiRail,
Verdict: Partially Implemented

#3 Policy: "Make KiwiRail more economically viable"
Explanatory: Technically speaking it's probably improving, but not enough to make the business economically viable by itself. Most of the financial targets for 2013 were missed, and while progress is being made, more still needs to be done.
Evidence: KiwiRail
Verdict: Partially Implemented

#4 Policy: "Look into a new ferry terminal at Clifford Bay, replacing Picton"
Explanatory: The government comissioned an independent review (by Deloitte) and the Ministry of Transport undertook further investigation, with the development of business cases and further research. The government ultimately decided (14 Nov 2013) not to proceed with this plan. But they "looked into" it.
Evidence: Ministry of Transport, 3News
Verdict: Implemented

#5 Policy: "National cycleway network"
Explanatory: Over $50 million has been invested into developing 19 "Great Rides" that make up Nga Haerenga, the New Zealand Cycle Trail. It is a partnership project between the government and the Green Party, and a further $8 million over the next four years has been announced in the 2014 budget.
Evidence: NZ Herald, NZ Cycle Trail, Beehive
Verdict: Implemented

EDUCATION
#6 Policy: "Roll out National Standards in ECE and primary and secondary schools"
Explanatory: This is a tricky one - while National Standards are in place for Years 1-8 (and arguably NCEA is a set of National Standards for Years 11-13), there is no programme in place for ECE or Years 9-10 (although there are efforts to align ECE with the National Standards within the Ministry of Education). It is likely that the political will to do so is quite low. National Standards were also introduced in 2010, so whether this actually was a change or not...
Evidence: TKI, Ministry of Education
Verdict: Partially Implemented

#7 Policy: "Toughen screening for new teachers to ensure competency"
Explanatory: The Vulnerable Children Bill received Royal Assent on 30/6/2014, and includes a new, complex vetting and screening process to be developed within six months.
Evidence: Stuff, Parliament (Bill)
Verdict: Implemented

#8 Policy: "Establish a gateway programme for school principals to ensure better leadership of schools"
Explanatory: The fact that there is a Gateway programme funded by the Tertiary Education Commission that allows schools to partner with employers to provide structured workplace opportunities for students makes researching this a lot harder and confusing. There was no evidence found for any programme being introduced, other than the proposed introduction of new leadership positions (Executive Principals, Change Principals, Lead Teachers, and Expert Teachers) which is part of National's 2014 campaign policy. Whether that counts as progress is Questionable.
Evidence: Tertiary Education Commission, NZ Herald, Ministry of Education
Verdict: Questionable

#9 Policy: "Invest $1 billion to build new schools and renovate old schools"
Explanatory: This is difficult to track, and no one else has done the analysis on this policy. Under Vote Education, School Property Portfolio Management includes purchasing and constructing new property as well as upgrading existing property. The annual budget for this is roughly $1.3 Billion, but has stayed relatively stable over the last three years. It is unclear if new spending (which was supposedly funded by the Partial Privatisation Programme) has occurred.
Evidence: Treasury, Ministry of Education
Verdict: Questionable

 #10 Policy: "98 percent of new entrants being in early childhood education prior to starting school"
Explanatory: This was always a tricky target, but ECE enrolments have increased from 90% in 2000 to 95.6% in June 2013. While the 98% target is likely not met yet, significant progress has been made year-on-year. The growth has been relatively linear, and assuming this linear growth we would hit the 98% target around 2018.
Evidence: Ministry of Education
Verdict: Partially Implemented

#11 Policy: "Open 13 more trades academies, 8 service academies and have 12,500 youth guarantee places by 2014"
Explanatory: The trades and services academies were announced pre-election in 2011, and the funding was allocated pre-election so it was probably unlikely for the first half of this policy to fail. However, there are only 4,500 youth guarantee places in 2014, falling 8,000 short of the stated target. 750 more places have been announced for 2015.
Evidence: Beehive, Ministry of Education, Beehive
Verdict: Partially Implemented

LAW AND ORDER
#12 Policy: "17-19 year-olds will be subject to the same bail conditions as adults"
Explanatory: "The Bail Amendment Bill received Royal Assent on 3/9/2013, and implemented this policy amongst a number of other significant changes to bail including the reverse onus of proof for bail for murder charges and a new electronic monitoring regime."
Evidence: Parliament (Bill), Stuff, NZ Legislation
Verdict: Implemented

#13 Policy: "Tighten bail conditions so bail is harder to get and introduce random drug testing for those on bail"
Explanatory: As described previously in #12, the Bail Amendment Bill certainly made bail harder to get but did not introduce random drug testing for those on bail.
Evidence: Parliament (Bill)StuffNZ Legislation
Verdict: Partially Implemented

#14 Policy: "Tougher sentences for assault on police"
Explanatory: The Sentencing (Aggravating Factors) Amendment Bill received Royal Assent on 17/9/2012, and introduced offences against law enforcement officers as aggravating factors, requiring judges to take that into account at sentencing.
Evidence: Beehive, Parliament (Bill)
Verdict: Implemented

#15 Policy: "Tougher penalties for child porn producers, possessors and traders"
Explanatory: The Child and Family Protection Bill was actually introduced and passed in the previous term, and was divided and passed on 11/8/2011. Notably it bought NZ into compliance with the Optional Protocol to the Convention on the Rights of the Child on the Sale of Children, Child Prostitution and Child Pornography. Judith Collins announced further increases in penalties for child pornography producers, which was later covered in the Objectionable Publications and Indecency Legislation Bill, which has unfortunately since languished on the Order Paper awaiting a Second Reading. The New Zealand Law Society has suggested that the bill requires further fine-tuning before it is passed.
Evidence: Scoop, Parliament (Bill), Scoop
Verdict: Partially Implemented

#16 Policy: "Private-public partnerships for more prisons"
Explanatory: Serco runs the Mount Eden Corrections Facility, and will run a new Men's prison in Wiri once it is completed in early 2015. While strictly speaking it is perhaps "more", more by one is not a significant implementation of this policy.
Evidence: NZ Herald, Beehive, Wikipedia
Verdict: Partially Implemented

#17 Policy: "Improved victim support with an offender levy funding a 'safe at home' programme"
Explanatory: The [email protected] pilot programme working with the Shine charity started operating in late 2012, and has recently received further funding to extend the service for another year. Judith Collins announced that the extra $500k in funding will benefit a further 154 families that have suffered from domestic abuse. However, this figure matches the $500k that Women's Refuge lost from its baseline funding to supply short-term emergency shelter for women and children.
Evidence: Shine, National Party, NZ Herald
Verdict: Implemented

#18 Policy: "Double the penalties for breaching protection orders"
Explanatory: The government increased penalties for breaching protection orders from two years imprisonment to three years in the Domestic Violence Amendment Bill (No 2), which received Royal Assent on 24/9/2013 (this bill was far harder to find than expected). While not quite double, it is still an improvement to s49(3) of the Domestic Violence Act 1995 nonetheless. The Public Safety (Public Protection Orders) Bill also introduced a new form of restraining order against high risk reoffenders, and is currently on the Order Paper awaiting a Second Reading.
Evidence: NZ Herald, Parliament (Bill), National Party, Parliament (Bill), NZ Legislation
Verdict: Partially Implemented

#19 Policy: "Allow vulnerable people and victims, especially children, to give evidence via video or CCTV"
Explanatory: The Evidence Amendment Bill (formerly part of the Criminal Procedure Legislation Bill) received Royal Assent on 5/6/2013, and implemented the changes proposed in a 2011 Cabinet paper on child witnesses.
Evidence: Cabinet Office, Parliament (Bill), Ministry of Justice, Beehive
Verdict: Implemented

ECONOMY (incl. Tax)
#20 Policy: "Re-introduce youth wages"
Explanatory: The Minimum Wage (Starting-out Wage) Amendment Bill received Royal Assent on 25/3/2013, and essentially reintroduced youth wages that set the minimum wage for 16-19 year olds at 80% of the adult minimum wage.
Evidence: Parliament (Bill), TVNZ
Verdict: Implemented

#21 Policy: "Allow companies to compete with ACC for workplace insurance"
Explanatory: This policy announced by then ACC Minister Nick Smith was supposed to be implemented by October 2012 but was pushed out to April 2013 by ACC Minister Judith Collins after she decided she needed more time to consider the options. The policy is part of National and ACT's confidence and supply agreement. However, since then there seems to be no evidence that the policy has been pursued any further.
Evidence: Stuff, Stuff, Beehive, Parliament, Chapman Tripp
Verdict: Not Implemented

#22 Policy: "Introduce national science challenges to encourage innovation in agriculture and science"
Explanatory: The National Science Challenges were unveiled 1/5/2013 to target 10 broad research areas ranging from aging to disaster resiliency, along with roughly $133.5 million in funding.
Evidence: MBIE, NZ Herald, Radio NZ
Verdict: Implemented

#23 Policy: "Progress with free-trade deals with Korea, Russia, Belarus, Kazakhstan and the nine-nations of the trans-pacific partnership."
Explanatory: "Progress" has been made, although how much progress is debatable. Negotiations continue with Korea, Russia-Belarus-Kazakhstan, and the TPP which now involves 12 nations.
Evidence: Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade
Verdict: Partially Implemented

#24 Policy: "Reduce the shares of state-owned assets to 51 percent and put the revenue into a fund for new projects"
Explanatory: This is not really debatable; it was certainly controvesial enough, and received plenty of coverage. If there's one thing that the National government definitely did do in this term, it was reduce their holding of Meridian Energy, Mighty River Power, Genesis Energy, and Air New Zealand to 51%, including ignoring a referendum where 67.3% of respondents (45.07% of the population) opposed the action. The relevant Mixed Ownership Model Bill received Royal Assent (via the split bills) on 29/6/2012.
Evidence: Treasury, Stuff, Wikipedia, Parliament (Bill)
Verdict: Implemented

#25 Policy: "Create a new water company that will capitalise on water use"
Explanatory: No evidence of this policy progressing was found, partly due to the continued debate over "who owns the water?"
Verdict: Not Implemented

#26 Policy: "Build more infrastructure (roads, broadband, etc.)"
Explanatory: This policy is rather vague, but the government has built some roads and some internet since 2011, so I guess they followed through on this policy.
Evidence: I saw some roadworks today.
Verdict: Implemented

ENVIRONMENT
#27 Policy: "Clean up ‘nationally significant’ lakes, rivers and aquifers"
Explanatory: The Ministry of Environment reports that only 20% of rivers are improving in water quality. The most significant part of the policy promised in 2011 was the Environmental Reporting Bill, which was only introduced in February 2014 and is currently before Select Committee. While there have been some limited efforts, the progress in cleaning up these lakes, rivers, and aquifiers has not been significant.
Evidence: Ministry for the Environment, University of Auckland, Parliament (Bill)
Verdict: Not Implemented

#28 Policy: "Set limits on water quality and quantity"
Explanatory: At first glance this seems like an odd policy, but it is about setting limits on the use of freshwater resources so that it is more sustainable in the long-term. The Ministry for the Environment reports that there are a large number of reforms proposed, some of which were passed as part of the omnibus Resource Management Reform Bill (Royal Assent via divided bills on 3/9/2013), others with "guidance", and some still requiring policy to be developed. While some progress has been made in this area it is probably not "complete". Edit: I have also been informed that Councils now have to report on water quality and quantity.
Evidence: Ministry for the EnvironmentParliament (Bill)
Verdict: Partially Implemented

#29 Policy: "Introduce an environmental commissioner to report on the environment every five years"
Explanatory: This policy is covered in the Environmental Reporting Bill, which was only introduced in February 2014 and is currently before Select Committee. There is an interesting discussion about whether the existing Parliamentary Commissioner for the Environment could do the job, or whether it has to be a new independent environmental commissioner. Either way, this is in progress.
Evidence: Parliament (Bill), NZ First
Verdict: Partially Implemented

#30 Policy: "Create a river cleanliness ranking system"
Explanatory: This policy is covered in the Environmental Reporting Bill, which was only introduced in February 2014 and is currently before Select Committee (although coverage on this specific policy is limited). Meanwhile, NIWA maintains a League Table of the suitability of New Zealand rivers for contact recreation, which provides some indication of the current quality of those rivers.
Evidence: StuffParliament (Bill), NIWA
Verdict: Partially Implemented

#31 Policy: "Create a register for contaminated sites"
Explanatory: Regional Councils currently maintain their own registers for contaminated sites based on Ministry for the Environment information and other historical data. In 2009, in response to an oral question from Catherine Delahunty (Greens), Dr Nick Smith argues that this register need not be duplicated at a national level and that a register is not in the national interest. It later became policy for the 2011 campaign after a MoU was signed with the Green Party, but it appears that this was not progressed and no national register exists yet. However, the National Environmental Standard for Assessing and Managing Contaminants in Soil to Protect Human Health (the NES) came into effect on 1 January 2012, but again, no national register could be found.
Evidence: Parliament (Hansard), Green Party, Ministry for the Environment
Verdict: Not Implemented

#32 Policy: "TV take-back programme for old, disused televisions"
Explanatory: Over 200,000 old televisions were collected as part of the Digital Switchover from 2011 to 2014, to be recycled. However, it appears that one of the recyclers involved has indicated that they will default on their contractual obligations and the Ministry for the Environment and the government will need to determine how else to process these televisions.
Evidence: TV Takeback, Beehive
Verdict: Implemented

#33 Policy: "Introduce agriculture to the ETS in 2015 but review it the year before"
Explanatory: The government has required mandatory reporting of emissions for agricultural processors since 2012 via the Climate Change Response (Emissions Trading and Other Matters) Amendment Bill. However, the same bill removed the start date for agriculture completely, pretty much throwing this policy/promise out the window.
Evidence: Ministry for Primary Industries, Ministry for the Environment
Verdict: Not Implemented

#34 Policy: "Examine the linking of the NZ and Australian carbon markets"
Explanatory: The Australia-New Zealand Carbon Pricing Officials Group was formed in 2011, and both countries agreed in December 2011 to link their Emissions Trading Schemes together. It was intended that the schemes would be linked in 2015 to fit Australia's timeline. However the ETS has since been repealed in Australia (in July 2014), making this arrangement unlikely in the near future. Not really the National government's fault, so it is marked Questionable.
Evidence: Scoop, Wikipedia, Financial Times
Verdict: Questionable

#35 Policy: "Support a new global climate change agreement so that all major emitting nations participate"
Explanatory: The Kyoto Protocol has suffered hits, from countries not meeting their first commitment period obligations to Canada (and New Zealand) withdrawing from the Protocol. At the most recent Conference of Parties (COP) meetings, new climate change regimes have been proposed and some (limited) progress has been made. In principle, New Zealand has supported a new agreement, including taking the Cancun pledge. However, whether the actions that New Zealand has taken at these negotiations honestly leads to a global climate change agreement is questionable. NZ has chosen to align itself with big emitters such as the US, China, Canada, Japan, and Australia, holding up progress. Implementation of this policy is Questionable at best.
Evidence: Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade, 3News, Green Party
Verdict: Questionable

#36 Policy: "Extend the electric car road-user charge exemption until 2020"
Explanatory: The Road User Charge Act 2012 (Royal Assent on 20/2/2012) allows for the Governor-General to, by Order in Council, specify the time period where electrical vehicles are exempt from RUCs. This was done on 11/6/2012 to extend the exemption to 30/6/2020.
Evidence: Parliament (Bill), NZ Herald, NZ Legislation
Verdict: Implemented

#37 Policy: "Create 200 places for 10-14 year-old to go ‘conservation camping’"
Explanatory: While it is difficult to find concrete evidence of this policy being enacted, the policy makes an appearance in the 2012 Vote Conservation as a focus for the Department of Conservation. Presumably sufficient funding has been allocated, but there have been no press releases (or similar announcements) about this policy being enacted, so it is marked Questionable for now.
Evidence: Treasury
Verdict: Questionable

#38 Policy: "Restrict heli-hunting on DoC land"
Explanatory: To hunt on conservation land, permits are required. Aerially assisted trophy hunting (AATH) has been allowed (with permits) since 2012, and recently was approved for a 5-year period from 2014 to 2019. Peter Dunne championed banning the practice altogether, and it appears that this policy arose from an agreement between the National and United Future parties. However after Dunne's resignation as a Cabinet Minister after the GCSB leak enquiry, the issue has not progressed and AATH is still legal (with permits). Conservation Minister Nick Smith hoped to introduce a bill this year but failed to do so.
Evidence: Department of Conservation, NZ Government, NZ Herald, NZ Herald
Verdict: Not Implemented

SOCIAL WELFARE
#39 Policy: "Focus on welfare fraud and welfare system abuse"
Explanatory: The Social Security (Benefit Categories and Work Focus) Amendment Bill which received Royal Assent on 16/4/2013 has a wide-ranging set of reforms that aim to reduce welfare fraud and welfare system abuse. While the efficacy of the reforms is still being questioned, the policy has been enacted.
Evidence: Parliament (Bill), NZ Herald
Verdict: Implemented

#40 Policy: "Benefits are cancelled if beneficiaries fail drug tests"
Explanatory: This was somewhat modified, and replaced with a policy that punishes jobseekers if they fail a drug-test when applying for a drug-tested job (of which only 40% of WINZ-listed jobs are). If they fail or refuse to take the test (22 out of 8001 in 2013), then they will have to pay for the test and must stop using drugs or have their benefit reduced by 50 percent. If they fail a second drug test then their benefit is suspended for 30 days until they can provide a clean drug test, otherwise their benefit is cancelled.  It appears that no benefits have actually been cancelled for beneficiaries failing drug tests. While the efficiacy of this policy is questionable, it has been implemented.
Evidence: NZ Herald, The Standard
Verdict: Implemented

#41 Policy: "Benefits are cancelled for beneficiaries on the run from police"
Explanatory: This was implemented as part of the Social Security (Benefit Categories and Work Focus) Amendment Bill which received Royal Assent on 16/4/2013. Beneficiaries on an outstanding arrest warrant for more than 28 days are given another 10 days to clear the warrant, or their benefits are cut (half if they have dependent children).
Evidence: NZ HeraldParliament (Bill)
Verdict: Implemented

#42 Policy: "Overhauling of current benefits into three categories: jobseeker support, sole parent support and supported living payment"
Explanatory: The Social Security (Benefit Categories and Work Focus) Amendment Bill which received Royal Assent on 16/4/2013 implements the new categories, which have significantly reduced the amount of welfare available (and thus the associated costs). It has also simplified the benefits system, removing some complexity and the associated costs.
Evidence: Parliament (Bill), NZ Herald, NZ Herald
Verdict: Implemented

#43 Policy: "Young people on benefits will have their rent and power paid for them and have a special eftpos card that bans them from buying alcohol"
Explanatory: The Social Security (Benefit Categories and Work Focus) Amendment Bill which received Royal Assent on 16/4/2013 includes the implementation of this policy, which also has been subject of various criticisms but appears to be working.
Evidence: StuffParliament (Bill), National Party
Verdict: Implemented

#44 Policy: "Solo parents with more than one child will be expected to seek part-time work when their youngest child turns one"
Explanatory: The Social Security (Benefit Categories and Work Focus) Amendment Bill which received Royal Assent on 16/4/2013 includes a modified version of this policy, where solo parents with children aged 5 and older are required to look for part-time work, and those with children 14 or older are required to look for full-time work.
Evidence: Parliament (Bill)Stuff, WINZ
Verdict: Partially Implemented

ASSET SALES
#45 Policy: "Reduce the Crown’s share in Solid Energy, Meridian Energy, Genesis Energy, Mighty River Power and Air New Zealand down to 51%"
Explanatory: This is slightly cheating as it is the same policy covered in #24 above. But it's listed as a different policy so I guess it gets counted twice. The only catch is that Solid Energy was not floated, so this gets marked as partially implemented.
Evidence: #24 Policy
Verdict: Partially Implemented

CHRISTCHURCH
#46 Policy: "Create earthquake bonds as an investment opportunity and to fund the recovery"
Explanatory: The four-year Earthquake Kiwi Bond was released in May 2011, paying 4% per annum. As of January 2013 it was reported that around $27m had been raised, which helps offset the $5.5b investment by the government, but not by much.
Evidence: NZ Debt Management Office, NZ Herald
Verdict: Implemented

#47 Policy: "Make 1500 new places in construction-related training"
Explanatory: An additional $42 million was allocated in the 2011 budget to fund 1,500 places in construction-related training, coming out of the Tertiary Education budget. We can only assume that since then it's actually happened.
Evidence: Interest
Verdict: Implemented

#48 Policy: "Fund counselling and social services to help people with rebuild"
Explanatory: Counselling and social services has continued to be funding through the Ministry of Social Development. While there has been some discussion about the government funding not being sufficient, other organisations such as churches and NGOs have met the shortfall in service provision.
Evidence: Ministry of Social Development,
Verdict: Implemented

#49 Policy: "Budgeted $5.5 billion for the quake recovery fund"
Explanatory: The government found enough room in the budget to invest the money in this fund to boost the EQC funding in order to cover the total forecasted $13 billion cost of recovery through to 2016.
Evidence: Beehive
Verdict: Implemented

#50 Policy: "Schools in Christchurch will become the most advanced in New Zealand"
Explanatory: Why this is a policy is not clear, but regardless it is difficult to know by what measure "most advanced" is pegged against. No evidence can be sourced to make a claim either way, so this gets thrown in the Questionable basket.
Verdict: Questionable

FOREIGN POLICY
#51 Policy: "Progress with free-trade deals with Korea, Russia, Belarus, Kazakhstan and the nine-nations of the trans-pacific partnership"
Explanatory: Again, this is listed this twice (also under Economy, #23), but it's only partially implemented anyway. Negotiations continue with Korea, Russia-Belarus-Kazakhstan, and the TPP which now involves 12 nations.
Evidence: #23
Verdict: Partially Implemented

#52 Policy: "Seek a seat on the United Nations Security Council"
Explanatory: This was started under the previous Labour government, but the plans have not been abandoned by the National government who have continued to provide funding and political impetus to the campaign for a Security Council seat. The election for the 2015-2016 term will be held in October 2014, where we are competing against Turkey and Spain for one of two available seats in our geographical grouping.
Evidence: Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade
Verdict: Implemented

#53 Policy: "Control spending on aid and make it more effective"
Explanatory: This is a vague policy, but indications are that the rules surrounding aid have not been significantly modified and are still causing some problems, such as funding for the Cook Islands Prime Minister's pearl farm despite an apparent conflict of interest. Meanwhile, spending on aid is slated to increase in 2015 from $550m to $600m. Not implemented is potentially a little harsh, but there isn't enough evidence indicating change for me to designate it Questionable or Partially Implemented.
Evidence: NZAID, 3News, NZAID
Verdict: Not Implemented

#54 Policy: "Go to Asia 28 times to ‘expand links’"
Explanatory: This is difficult to measure, partly because it's not specific who has to go to Asia. Certainly there have been some trips to Asia (such as Judith Collins' infamous trip to China in 2013), but whether there have been 28 is questionable and would take quite a lot of effort to verify.
Evidence: Beehive
Verdict: Questionable

HEALTH
#55 Policy: "Cut back-office jobs so the focus is on frontline services"
Explanatory: This policy continues a trend of reducing the number of staff, but hiring more highly-paid (senior) employees who are more knowledgable and capable. This process has been continued slowly, mostly out of the public eye, with various restructures occuring at the DHB and national levels.
Evidence: NZ Herald, University of Auckland, Parliament (Bill)
Verdict: Implemented

#56 Policy: "Increase medical school places by 200"
Explanatory: This policy was announced by Dr. Jonathan Coleman at the New Zealand Medical Students' Association Annual Conference in 2011, with a commitment to funding 200 medical school places across Auckland and Otago from 2010 to 2014. It appears that this policy has been implemented, leading to a total of 565 students admitted in 2014 (365 in 2009).
Evidence: National Party, NZ Medical Students Association
Verdict: Implemented

#57 Policy: "Establish a national stroke network and dedicated unit in each hospital"
Explanatory: While an announcement of the policy being implemented could not be found, the national stroke network appears to exist and there are multiple references to the network in various Ministry of Health documents.
Evidence: Stroke Foundation of NZ, Implementing the New Zealand Health Strategy 2013 (Report)
Verdict: Implemented

#58 Policy: "Amalgamate disability, health, welfare and housing services"
Explanatory: This policy presumably applies only to those with disabilities, but either way it is not clear if this has happened. It appears that these services are still very separate, managed by different departments/ministries, but there is not enough evidence to be sure.
Evidence: Wikipedia
Verdict: Questionable

#59 Policy: "Free GP visits afterhours for children under six"
Explanatory: This policy has purportedly been implemented, although the Ministry of Health admits that people may still encounter some fees if they take their children to see a GP. The policy was successful enough that a policy announcement in Budget 2014 extends this policy to all children under 13.
Evidence: NZ Herald, Ministry of Health, Tony Ryall (Press Release)
Verdict: Implemented

#60 Policy: "Introduce systems so patients can look after themselves using IT"
Explanatory: A new multi-million dollar electronic healthcare system is being rolled out this year, led by the National Health IT Board. More than 50 percent of the country's GPs are expected to be using the service by the end of the year. It definitely seems like a good idea, and seems to be working thus far.
Evidence: Stuff, IT Health Board
Verdict: Implemented

#61 Policy: "Introduce a new programme whereby pharmacists look after patients"
Explanatory: The policy as stated is a little vague, but appears to refer to allowing certain pharmacists and other specialists and nurses to write prescriptions and provide some care for patients to reduce the burden on doctors and patients. It is reported to have been effective thus far at producing better outcomes for all those involved.
Evidence: Whanganui DHB
Verdict: Implemented

#62 Policy: "95 percent of all babies under eight-months will be fully immunised by 2014"
Explanatory: The Ministry of Health reports that roughly 91-92% of children under eight months are fully immunised. While this is a substantial increase over the last few years (NZ Stats reports 82% in 2010-2011), there is still work to be done in meeting this target.
Evidence: Ministry of Health, Stats NZ
Verdict: Partially Implemented

#63 Policy: "Nationwide rheumatic fever programme"
Explanatory: A $12-million programme was announced in 2011, which was expanded to a $24-million five-year programme to reduce the incidence of rheumatic fever, particularly in areas most vulnerable.
Evidence: Heart Foundation, Ministry of Health, State Services Commission
Verdict: Implemented

#64 Policy: "Target obesity risk factors with nutrition education"
Explanatory: Obesity is a well-recognised problem, but it is not clear if this policy has been implemented. Nutrition education has been ongoing for many years now, but it is difficult to see if there has been a particular focus on nutrition education or if funding in this area has increased.
Evidence: NZ Medical Association, Office of the Auditor-General
Verdict: Questionable

#65 Policy: "Reduce waiting times for elective surgery, cancer patients, for important tests and at emergency departments"
Explanatory: The Ministry of Health's report on "Targeting Waiting Times" details how DHBs have successfully reduced waiting times in all three categories, and the initiatives and innovations that contributed to these sector improvements.
Evidence: Ministry of Health
Verdict: Implemented

#66 Policy: "Retrofit 50,000 homes under the Heat Smart Scheme"
Explanatory: The Warm Up New Zealand: Heat Smart programme began in July 2009, and has spent $347m as of October 2013. However it has exceeded the government's overall target by more than 46,000 homes, insulating a total of 235,000 homes by the end of 2013, while still remaining within budget.
Evidence: Energy Efficiency and Conservation Authority, Stuff
Verdict: Implemented

MAORI
#67 Policy: "Increase Maori participation in early childhood education"
Explanatory: Participation in ECE for all groups has increased significantly over the last decade. Maori participation has increased from around 90% in 2009 to around 92% in 2013.
Evidence: Ministry of Education
Verdict: Implemented

#68 Policy: "Implement Whanau Ora"
Explanatory: The Whanau Ora programme was successfully implemented, with the charge led by Tariana Turia, who interestingly stated that the programme would never have been funded under Labour. The programme appears to have been successful in making progress towards its objectives, and hopefully it will continue for years to come.
Evidence: Ministry of Health, Te Puni Kokiri, Waatea News
Verdict: Implemented

#69 Policy: "Promote home ownership for Maori"
Explanatory: House ownership statistics are released by Stats NZ based on census data, which makes this somewhat difficult to measure due to the low granularity. In the 2006 census, Maori home ownership was 30.1%, while in 2013 it was 28.2%. There is a long-term declining trend - whether anything concrete has been done to address this trend is Questionable.
Evidence: Stats NZ, Te Puni Kokiri
Verdict: Questionable

#70 Policy: "Encourage Maori to make the most of new aquaculture industry growth"
Explanatory: Tracking progress in this policy is difficult, and there is not enough evidence to claim that the policy has been implemented or not.
Verdict: Questionable

#71 Policy: "Review the Maori Land Court"
Explanatory: The Maori Land Court was put under review in 2013 to determine whether it still serves its purpose, and whether the powers need to be reduced or other action needs to be taken to ensure that the Court is still effective.
Evidence: Maori Television
Verdict: Implemented

#72 Policy: "Grow career pathways for Maori performing arts"
Explanatory: Nga Toi Maori (Maori Creative and Performing Arts) qualifications managed by NZQA were reviewed in 2013-2014, ensuring that the qualifications are relevant to training and career opportunities in relevant sectors. Funding has also continued via Creative NZ (the Arts Council of New Zealand) for Nga Toi Maori.
Evidence: NZQA, Creative NZ
Verdict: Implemented

#73 Policy: "Continue funding of Maori TV, iwi radio and Te Mangai Paho"
Explanatory: Maintaining the status quo shouldn't be hard, and while there have been discussions about fears of funding cuts, it appears that no cuts have eventuated and Maori media has continued to receive similar or higher levels of funding over the last term.
Evidence: Treasury, Maui Street
Verdict: Implemented

#74 Policy: "Complete outstanding treaty settlements by 2014"
Explanatory: There are a number of settlements outstanding, although huge amounts of progress have been made, largely thanks to the efforts of Hon Chris Finlayson. The government has pushed the deadline out to 2017, just in time for the next election. Around $1.5 billion has been spent on Treaty settlements so far.
Evidence: 3News
Verdict: Not Implemented

SUMMARY
Of the 74 policies:
Implemented - 37 or 50%
Partially Implemented - 17 or 23%
Questionable - 11 or 14.9%
Not Implemented 9 or 12.1%

If we remove the two duplicate policies (so it is out of 72):
Implemented - 37 or 51.4%
Partially Implemented - 15 or 20.8%
Questionable - 11 or 15.3%
Not Implemented 9 or 12.5%

So, the question is... is this level of promise-keeping acceptable? It would be unreasonable to expect a government to keep 100% of their promises, but is roughly 50% kept and progress on another 20% enough? Are we willing to elect the National Party again, on the assumption that they'll only keep roughly 50-70% of the promises they make now? Of course, the stats provided do not compare the National government's performance with any other political party, and there is no guarantee that Labour (or Labour/Green coalition) would do any better, and ultimately it may be better to elect the lesser of two evils. My gut feeling is that 70% is probably acceptable, even though ideally it'd be higher, but there are always other circumstances over the course of three years out of the government's control that stop it from achieving 100%.

There are also limitations that I acknowledge in this approach, such as whether the 74 policies are a good representation of the total policy set, whether some policies are more important than others, whether it's sometimes easy to pass a bunch of policy (as evidenced in the Social Welfare section) together to cross a bunch of items off the list at once that disproportionately weights the total set, and so on, that make drawing conclusions based on these statistics less tenable. But hey, it's an indication nonetheless, and if there's one "undecided" voter who is more informed about whether or not they want to re-elect National, then it was probably worth my time and effort.

If you're interested in the academics behind this approach, please have a look at this PhD thesis by Nathan McCluskey (formerly of University of Canterbury, now teaching at Victoria University of Wellington) (shoutout to @LI_Politico). While I did not follow the same methodology and my analysis is nowhere near as academically rigorous, his thesis provides a very good idea of whether this type of analysis works and has many interesting conclusions.

Finally, a bit of humour - perhaps best directed at all the partisans in New Zealand...



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