Lloyd Burr: Labour's 100-day embellishment

Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern.
Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern. Photo credit: Getty / File

OPINION: An email arrived into my inbox a few days ago with the subject line "We did this!". It was from Labour, about its 100-day plan.

It was a nice line. From 'Let's do this!' to 'We did this!'. Clever. Hats off to the spin doctor who came up with it.

But there's a problem.

The email claimed the plan had been completed. And it mostly has. Mostly.

But the subject line didn't read 'We mostly did this!'. It shouted from the rooftop how Labour had proven itself in government.

It talked about how it had done what it had promised to do. It used words like "delivered", "achieved" and "commitment".

That's called spin. It has massaged the truth. Massaged its promises. Embellished what has really happened in 100 days.

And that annoys me. Not just from a journalistic point of view, but because this Labour-led Government has promised to be open, honest and transparent.

So let me clear things up.

What Labour Has Not Achieved

 

1. "Ban overseas speculators from buying existing houses"

It hasn't banned them yet. It has just introduced a Bill that will ban them, but that Bill is months off from becoming law.

2. "Introduce legislation to make medicinal cannabis available for people with terminal illnesses or in chronic pain"

It has introduced changes to the law regarding medicinal cannabis, but those changes are minor and conservative. It won't make products available to terminally ill and chronically ill patients. It will just prevent them from being prosecuted. The Prime Minister admits she would've liked more changes - but New Zealand First's conservatism meant she couldn't change the law properly.

3. "Hold a Clean Waters Summit on cleaning up our rivers and lakes"

This never happened. Winston Peters vetoed it.

4. "Set the zero carbon emissions goal and begin setting up the independent Climate Commission"

The target has not been set and it hasn't begun setting up the independent Climate Commission. All that's been announced is a period of public consultation on what the target should be and how the commission would be structured.

The latest Newshub-Reid Research poll has seen Labour soar to its highest point in a decade.
The latest Newshub-Reid Research poll has seen Labour soar to its highest point in a decade. Photo credit: Newshub.

The idea of a 100-day plan is completely arbitrary. It's a line in the sand that has no true significance.

It's just a marketing tool by Labour to make it look like it is working hard to quickly implement the changes it promised to Kiwis.

Now that the deadline has passed and Labour's claimed its victory, it's fair to say it's no longer a new Government.

Its ministers have got their feet under the desk and their teeth into stuff. They have their offices sorted and changes to roll out.

My hope is that there are no more XXX-day SPAM Plans that see rushed changes rolled out to reach a fake deadline for the sake of claiming to be progressive.

Lloyd Burr is a political reporter for Newshub based in Wellington.

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