Parliament resuming; Last week of 100 day plan; Greens fast-track leadership contest

It is nearly 100 days since the new Government was sworn in. Photo by Lynn Grieveson

In today's email we see how the new Government is progressing through its 100 day plan.

1. Last week of first 100 days

The Government has been focused since its swearing in on October 26 on ticking off its list of items in its 100 day plan. This is the last week of that 100 days and there are only two things left to go, including the details of a state inquiry into abuse in state care and child poverty reduction targets.

The state care inquiry is set to be formally announced on Thursday and we may see more detail on the child poverty reduction targets when Parliament resumes this week, starting on Tuesday. Cabinet holds its first formal meeting of the year on Tuesday.

Now the Government is looking beyond the next 100 days and Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern is set to give more flavour on what's next on the coalition's agenda in a speech in Christchurch on Wednesday. She then heads off to Waitangi on Friday for five days that encompass the various Treaty of Waitangi celebrations.

Ahead of the Budget in May, the focus of the Government is expected to be on ramping up the Kiwibuild programme as it gets its Housing Commission in place and revamping the Government Policy Statement on Transport, which will involve some politically difficult decisions around shifting funding from road to rail.

2. How NZ helped the TPP over the line

Newsroom's Foreign Affairs and Trade Editor Sam Sachdeva has dug around for the details of how last week's CPTPP deal was done in Tokyo and has looked at what happens next.

He found New Zealand played a significant role in dragging Canada across the line, including drafting a side letter that addressed its outstanding concerns about its ability to provide government subsidies for French-language programming and other cultural initiatives.

Interestingly, Sam reveals that the Canadians approached New Zealand and others with a proposal to change some of the provisions for market access, such as the sensitive dairy sector - a gambit that was flatly rebuffed.

He also details how National's support to get the CPTPP through Parliament is not a done deal either.

Todd McClay told Sam National wanted “a full and detailed briefing in confidence” on the agreement and he warned National’s support could not be taken for granted.

“David Parker is acting like a minister who has a majority on trade issues, and he doesn’t...We haven’t seen the new agreement or the changes they’re touting - the undertakings we gave to support the TPP were as we knew it then."

See Sam's full analysis on the CPTPP deal here on Newsroom Pro, where it was published first on Friday.

3. Who will co-lead the Greens?

The Greens announced an accelerated process on Friday to pick a female co-leader to replace Metiria Turei by April.

Current leader James Shaw said the earlier process would remove the potential for distractions. Normally the co-leader would be chosen at the party's AGM early in the second half of the year.

Newsroom's National Affairs Editor Shane Cowlishaw has taken a closer look at the field of candidates that are expected to include MPs Marama Davidson, Julie-Anne Genter and Eugenie Sage.

Shane writes that Davidson is seen as the likely favourite of the 'social issues' left of the party, that Genter is the party staff's favourite and Sage is favoured by those on the environment 'centre' of the party.

See Shane's full analysis here on Newsroom Pro, where it was first published on Friday.

4. Briefly in our political economy...

'Hobbit law' group due - The make-up of a working group that will consider options to replace the controversial ‘Hobbit law” will be announced today.

It is understood the group will consist of 13 different organisations including the Council of Trade Unions, Weta Digital, BusinessNZ, and several film industry associations and guilds.

The law was introduced in 2010 after lobbying from Warner Bros and Sir Peter Jackson. It prevents film workers from collective bargaining. Its introduction, and the offer of larger subsidies to film studios making films in New Zealand, guaranteed the Hobbit films would be made in New Zealand.

Regional work - Employment Minister Willie Jackson announced on Friday the Government would allocate $13.3 million under the He Poutama initiative to support communities in Te Tai Tokerau, Eastern Bay of Plenty, Tairawhiti and Hawke’s Bay to employ unemployed youth.

NCEA review - Education Minister Chris Hipkins announced on Sunday the make-up of a Ministerial Advisory Group for a review of NCEA. It will be led by Jeremy Baker and include Michelle Dickinson (Nanogirl).

5. Briefly in the global political economy...

Strong dollar? - Donald Trump pushed back against its own Treasury Secretary's 'weak dollar' views in a conciliatory speech at the World Economic Forum on Friday night.

6. Coming up...

Monday is anniversary day in Auckland, but is a regular work day in Wellington. I would vote to consolidate all these holidays into one day. One idea is to replace them with a Monday-ised national holiday at the beginning of Matariki. This year that would be on June 18, two weeks after the Queens Birthday long weekend.

Parliament resumes for the year with question time at 2 pm on Tuesday after the first formal cabinet meeting of the year. A post-cabinet news conference is scheduled for 4.30 pm. Statistics NZ is due to release overseas merchandise trade data for December at 10.45 am on Tuesday. US President Donald Trump will deliver his second State of the Union address late on Tuesday NZ time.

Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern is due to deliver a speech on Wednesday outlining the Government's plans beyond the first 100 days, which formally ends on February 3.

Ardern said this morning on television she planned to announce the details of an inquiry into abuse in state care on Thursday, which was on the 100 day plan. The last remaining item is the release of plans for targets for reducing child poverty.

Statistics NZ is due to release building consents and migration data for December on Friday at 10.45 am. US employment data for January is due late on Friday night. It will be closely watched as an indicator of US economic growth and will follow a US Federal Reserve meeting on Wednesday and Thursday. The Fed is not expected to hike rates again until its March 20/21 meeting, where it releases fresh forecasts and holds a news conference.

7. One fun thing...

What a time to be alive.

There's a new iPhone case that is designed to flip out an engagement ring and start the camera at the same time...because 56% of women post a picture of their engagement ring on social media, and 79% of couples sharing their engagement news immediately after the big moment. It only costs US$39.95, leaving you plenty for the ring. There's a video showing how to operate said case.

8. This morning's political links

These are available with the morning subscriber email.