Sunday, November 16, 2008

Habemus government

That was quick - just a week after the election, it looks like we officially have a government. The irony is that having warned of a "five headed monster", Key is now leading one himself. I guess that, like suppressing freedom of speech, it's OK if you're a tory. But the fact that he's got everyone onboard at the outset is a significant achievement, and a strong signal that National is finally learning to play the MMP game.

Unfortunately, the confidence and supply agreements aren't yet on the web. But the details announced so far - Heather Roy as Consumer Affairs, Rodney Hide as Minister of Local Government and Regulatory Reform - are worrying. Given ACT's hatred of regulation and support for the business community, the former is setting the fox to guard the henhouse. The Minister of Consumer Affairs is supposed to support consumers, not the businesses who want to lie to us. As for the latter, ACT has longstanding member's bills designed to do to local government and regulations what his Taxpayer's Bill of Rights Bill would do to central government: wreck them and stop them from being used as a tool for policy. While its unclear yet whether progressing these bills is a requirement of the confidence and supply agreement, he will certainly push policy in that direction. And the result will inevitably be poorer local government services and greater environmental degradation.