TVNZ-RNZ: National's Erica Stanford calls for mega-merger to be first policy scrapped after PM signals backtrack on some reforms

Questions are being raised about which Government policies will be scrapped after Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern signalled there may be a backtrack on some reforms in the new year.

In her end-of-year interview with Newshub political editor Jenna Lynch on Thursday, Jacinda Ardern said she'd focus on streamlining her policies in 2023.  

Among the reforms the Government was taking on next year included the TVNZ-RNZ merger, agriculture emissions, the income insurance scheme and He Puapua.   

National MP Erica Stanford, appearing on AM on Friday, said the RNZ-TVNZ merger should be the first reform to go.

The merger isn't being supported by National, nor is it being backed by the majority of New Zealanders, a Taxpayers' Union Curia poll published by Stuff this week suggested. 

"This TVNZ-RNZ merger has turned into a giant cluster for the Government," Stanford said.

"Poor [Broadcasting Minister] Willie Jackson has had trainwreck interviews over it, no one can tell us why it's happening, it's a huge amount of money so I would put money on that one going."

But she said the Government shouldn't stop there.

"There's a few [policies] I could suggest [to get rid of]," said Stanford.

Ardern admitted in her interview on Thursday Labour had taken on too much and needed to focus.

Transport Minister Michael Wood, one of Ardern's senior ministers, reiterated the Government had "a very busy agenda".

Erica Stanford and Michael Wood.
Erica Stanford and Michael Wood. Photo credit: AM

"We're still going to be doing a lot as a Government and I think what you're seeing in the Prime Minister's comments is just a need for us to really focus on what's important, make sure we do those things well," he said, appearing on AM alongside Stanford.

Responding to questions from host Ryan Bridge about whether he'd been asked by the Prime Minister's Office to cut back on specific projects, Wood said the Government had a "constant focus" on what was important and achievable.

"We always have a look at those things but no decisions have been made to chop anything," he said.

"You need to focus on what you can achieve," Wood added.