Main points from Prime Minister Chris Hipkins' policy reprioritisation announcement

The 'bonfire of the policies' has grown into a 'towering inferno' as Prime Minister Chris Hipkins refocuses his Government on the cost of living.

Transport projects were first to be chucked on the fire, beginning with the plan to cut state highway speed limits. The cash for clunkers scheme has been scrapped and with it a plan to reduce car trips by 20 percent. Auckland light rail has survived but will be phased in. 

A planned container return scheme to encourage recycling has been shelved, while the Government's also decided not to give 16-year-olds the vote in general elections. Plans to reform alcohol laws around sponsorship have been delayed.

All that will save just over a billion dollars to be pumped into Kiwis' back pockets.

Down with delicate extraction, Hipkins has taken to excavation. He's dug out what's left of Jacinda Ardern's pet projects as he looks to free up cash for the cost of living and cyclone response.

"Potentially we might be narrowing down the number of things we do and doing the things that we are going to do more thoroughly and better," Hipkins said. 

Ironically, as Hipkins frequently casts his eye over the climate wreckage of Gabrielle, he's creating his own wreckage of policies designed to mitigate climate change. 

"The policies that we are talking about today would have made a very small contribution to our overall emissions reductions targets." 

The cash for clunkers scheme - that would've paid up to $10,000 to people to wreck their old gas guzzler and replace it with an EV - is off to the policy chop-shop itself. 

Worth half a billion dollars, it was money announced as part of the Government's first-ever climate budget. Now that money isn't going toward climate mitigation at all.

"Our emissions reduction targets have not changed," Hipkins said.

Greens co-leader Marama Davidson said this shows why more Green MPs are needed.

"If we had more Green MPs this would have not happened," said Davidson.

Greenpeace campaigner Christine Rose said the organisation is "horrified at the direction that the new Prime Minister Chris Hipkins is taking this country and taking the environment". 

The environment just did not stop losing on Monday.

A container return scheme - which would have paid people for recycling drink bottles and cans - thrown in the trash for now. 

"The evidence overseas shows this does help to reduce waste," Hipkins said. "However, it is also estimated to add small additional costs to households. We don't want to be imposing those additional costs at the moment."

The kids that care about the environment - their future - just lost the shot to have a vote on it. 

The Government's vote on the voting age is to keep it 18. Though, the Government will allow for local council elections to make it 16.

"This is urgent," said Make It 16 co-director Caeden Tipler.

"They think they can stall on a human rights issue which just isn't good enough. The voting age needs to be lowered in time for the 2025 local elections." 

Hipkins said he personally supports a lower voting age.

"There isn't a parliamentary majority for that so I don't intend to progress a Bill that is doomed to fail. Because ultimately, that would be an expensive exercise to simply make a political statement and I am not willing to do that."

Sixty-six people have died on New Zealand roads so far this year. But the Government's plan to make our roads safer has hit a Chris Hipkins roadblock - the plan to lower speed limits is no longer a Government priority. 

It has decided to focus on the 1 percent of our state highway network that's responsible for the most injuries and deaths, and lowering speed limits around schools and marae. 

The Prime Minister's policy incinerator working overtime.

Jenna Lynch Analysis

Is this the end to the great policy reset? There's still one big bang to go.

The highly anticipated Three Waters reset has been delayed by its minister Kieran McAnulty dealing to the cyclone, so that's still to come.

Environmentalists will rightly be fuming about Monday's announcement. The greens are not to be excluded from that.

Not only is Hipkins differentiating himself from Jacinda Ardern, he's creating a differential between Labour and the Greens in an election year.

While it may not be intentional, a public show of tension in the parties is not necessarily a bad thing electorally.

It can let Labour pick up some of the centre while the Greens can scoop the left and that's the way you form a Government.