Christopher Luxon refuses to pull Winston Peters into line over anti-media comments, laughs it off

The Coalition Government officially got to work on Wednesday, holding its first proper Cabinet meeting and signing off its 100-day plan.   

The 49-point checklist includes a lot of stop-work notices and repealing of Labour's laws.  

Included on the scrap heap are the Auckland fuel tax, the Clean Car Discount, speed limit reductions, the prisoner reduction target, Labour's RMA reforms, Fair Pay Agreements, the mega polytech merger, Auckland light rail, gun law, all work relating to He Puapua, the Māori Health Authority and the smoke-free laws.   

The new Government will also look to start implementing some policies of its own including legislation to reintroduce the 90-day employment trial, banning cellphones in schools, banning gang patches, setting health targets for wait times and cancer treatment and allowing the sale of pseudoephedrine cold medicine in pharmacies.   

Prime Minister Christopher Luxon held his first post-Cabinet press conference on Wednesday.   

With a hop, skip and a jump to the podium of power, the countdown on outcomes has begun.   

"I am determined to start early and to work incredibly quickly to put in place the foundations of the programme of work we have identified that is critical to get this country on the right track again, and that work starts today," said Luxon.  

On Day three of the Coalition Government, the Prime Minister published his official 100-day plan.  

"It is ambitious, but it is necessary in order to bring about the relief to New Zealanders who have been doing it tough for way too long," said Luxon.  

They are 49 policies he's promising to get done by March - a document for the public to hold him accountable to.  

"We know we are biting off a lot in order to get it done, but we are determined to do so," said Luxon.   

About 20 of the action points are repealing what Labour did, including Three Waters, RMA reforms, fuel taxes, and workplace legislation like Fair Pay Agreements.   

"We are over the talk, we are over the conversation, we now need to get things done," said Luxon.  

The coalition also committed to implementing education changes requiring an hour each of maths, reading and writing a day, as well as beginning work on a National Infrastructure Agency, a priority track to get emergency housing tenants into homes and taking steps to extend breast cancer screening to those up to age 74.   

"We are going to do more in 100 days than this Government did in the last six years, so we are looking forward to getting into work," said Luxon.  

They are 49 steps to getting the country back to basics.  

"We are absolutely determined to rebuild the economy, to lower the cost of living. We are determined to deal with law and order, and we are determined to deliver public services."  

Luxon attempted to regain control of his narrative after the first days of this Government having been marred by an off-script deputy accusing the former Government of bribing the media.  

But he refused to pull Peters into line on Wednesday, laughing it off.  

"It's not the way I would describe it, but I actually also don't support the fund either," said Luxon.  

Luxon said that's "for the very reasons it actually leads to perceptions of bias, rightly or wrong".  

"I just say to you that that's the perception, whether that's real or not doesn't really matter".  

Not how he would've said it, but denying his deputy undermined him.  

Luxon was not willing to condemn Peters falsely accusing the media of taking a bribe.   

Asked if he found Peters' comments acceptable, Luxon said: "It's not the way I would have expressed it, but I understand the frustration with the fund as many New Zealanders do as well."

Labour leader Chris Hipkins said Luxon should "show some leadership".  

"Make it clear to Winston Peters that his comments are unacceptable".  

Luxon chose not to set an expectation of his Cabinet, rather telling the public to adjust their expectations.   

"We are going to say things in different ways, as different leaders, and as different members of that team in a Coalition Government. That is fine, that is acceptable."  

Now off to get the country - and his brand-new Government - back on track.