Duncan Garner: Jacinda Ardern's year of delivery has been sloppy and confused

Opinion 16/10/2019

Remember Jacinda Ardern's year of delivery? That is this year. 

Well, it's almost over. Did you miss it? 

If ever there was a day to wax lyrical about yourself and your impact, it came late yesterday afternoon when Jacinda Ardern stood up in front of her people, the Council of Trade Unions, who are impatient for change and a hard crowd to please. 

So what did she say she was most proud of? Workers' pay packets, average hourly earnings are up 4.4 percent and unemployment is at its lowest in decades. 

Ardern is right, weekly earnings are up because those who bargain as a collective, like nurses and teachers, have had relative strength and, of course, they went on strike.

They held Labour's feet to the fire and refused to budge. They were told there was no more money when there was $7.5 billion sloshing around. No wonder they held out for more and those at the bottom, on the minimum wage, have been boosted. 

When Labour got to office it was just under 16 bucks an hour. By April 2021, 18 months away, Jacinda Ardern has confirmed if she's still in office, the minimum wage will be $20 an hour. That'll be an increase of more than four dollars an hour, gradually, across four years, if she's returned to office.

But there was no mention of Kiwibuild, not once. Just that Labour is 'helping' in housing. 

Ardern says Labour has added 1458 more DHB nurses, 106 more midwives, 582 more doctors, and 531 more allied health workers. 

Well, they failed to curb immigration like promised so just as well these areas received a boost, but the truth is it's been a sloppy and confused year of delivery. 

The mental health system has money given to it, that's good, but it's still broken. 

Kiwibuild, however, completely embarrassed the Government. If anything, Ardern should have probably apologised to the CTU yesterday for overreaching and creating expectations that could never be achieved. 

It's just inexperienced and this Government is not trusted by huge chunks of New Zealand as a result. But behind all the negative talk, for some people there are gains, significant ones that make a difference. 

So I agree they have delivered something but there are still a lot of things that are lost in the mail.

Duncan Garner is the host of The AM Show.