Fifth National Government of New Zealand
After the 2008 general election the National Party and its allies were able to form a government, taking over from Helen Clark's Fifth Labour Government. It was subsequently reformed after the 2011 general election with a reduced number of seats, and after the 2014 general election with a reduced share of the party vote but the same number of seats. The Government has confidence and supply agreements with the Act, United Future and Māori Parties, which gives the Government a significant majority on major legislation. The National Party also signed a memorandum of understanding with the Green Party after the 2008 election, but lapsed and not renewed in 2011.
The Government was elected in the context of the late 2000s recession.
- The Fifth Labour Government's Emissions Trading Scheme was delayed and the Emissions Trading Scheme Review Committee was set up to review the New Zealand Emissions Trading Scheme in accordance with the coalition agreement with the ACT Party. In November 2009, an amended version of the New Zealand Emissions Trading Scheme was adopted.
- Personal tax cuts, reducing taxes on all income; the top personal tax rate was lowered from 39% to 38% and then 33%.
- Increased GST from 12.5% to 15% in October 2010.
- Increased the minimum wage from $12.00 per hour to $13.00 per hour in its first term, and to $14.25 in its second term. This represents a nominal 3.1% average annual increase, significantly lower than the previous government's nominal 7.9% annual average increase.
- Suspended payments to the New Zealand Superannuation Fund.
- Introduced the nine-day working fortnight for businesses who were considering laying off staff.
- Capped the minimum employers' contributions to KiwiSaver at 2%, the amount was due to increase to 4% by 2011. Employees now have the option to contribute as little as 2% of their income to KiwiSaver where previously the smallest contribution amount was 4%. The minimum employee and minimum employer contributions were raised to 3% in April 2013.
- Introduced the "mixed ownership model" plan, in which the Government planned to reduce its share in Genesis Energy, Meridian Energy, Mighty River Power and Solid Energy from 100% to 51% and Air New Zealand from 74% to 51%, and sell off the remainder. The plans to sell down Solid Energy were later axed due to the company's poor financial position. A citizens-initiated referendum on the sell-downs returned a 67.3% vote in opposition (on a turnout of 45.1%).
- Repealed the Electoral Finance Act 2007
- Introduced the Governor-General Act 2010, to reform the Governor-General's salary and allowances.
- A second referendum alongside the 2011 election on the voting system, and after the majority voted in the referendum to retain the existing mixed member proportional system, an independent review on the workings of the MMP system.
- A Constitutional Review (as part of confidence and supply agreement with the Māori Party) starting in 2011.
- Introduced the Employment Relations Amendment Act 2008 (the "90-day working bill") in December 2008 which allowed employers with less than 20 staff to dismiss an employee within the first 90 days of employment for no particular reason. In 2010 the bill was extended to all employers.
- Allowed employees to cash in their fourth week of annual leave, employees can now take 3 weeks holiday and be paid for the fourth while still working. The fourth week of annual leave was introduced by the previous government.
- A lifetime limit on student loans was introduced: if a student has studied more than 7 EFTS within their lifetime the student can no longer take out any further loans. Students receiving New Zealand Superannuation Fund payments or Veterans Pension can no longer receive the Student Allowance at the same time. Students are now required to pass more than half of their studies each year to receive a Student Loan or Allowance the following year, previously this requirement only affected the Student Allowance.
- Reformed social security benefits by consolidating seven major benefits into three new ones.
- Restored titles ('Sir' and 'Dame') in the New Zealand honours system.
- Officially ended appointments to the Privy Council of the United Kingdom, which would have meant that no new designations of "The Right Honourable" would be made, and that instead minsters will be known simply as "The Honorable". However on 2 August 2010 it was announced by the Queen of New Zealand that those appointed to offices of Governor-General, Prime Minister, Speaker, and Chief Justice would be given the title "The Right Honourable" for life, "to preserve an important mark of distinction for the holder's of the nation's highest public offices". Prime Minister John Key said "he appreciated the title" and also stated "Her Majesty believes it is appropriate also to acknowledge the service of the Governor-General, the Queen's representative in New Zealand, the Speaker, the highest officer in the House of Representatives, and the Chief Justice, the head of the judicial branch of government".
- Introduction of National Standards for primary and intermediate school children.
- Planned to change teacher to student ratios in the 2012 Budget, but withdrew two weeks later due to miscalculations regarding the effect of changes on intermediate schools and public opposition.
- Removal of all student allowances for postgraduate study at University.
In 2009 and 2010, the Government merged four city councils, three district councils and the Auckland Regional Council into one unitary "Super City". The Government's action differed from the recommendations of the Royal Commission on Auckland Governance.
In March 2010, the Government removed the Environment Canterbury's Councillors and replaced them with appointed commissioners. The elections in 2010 of Environment Canterbury councillors which were pending in 2013 were postponed to ensure a Water Management Plan for Canterbury would be created.
- Increased amounts of elective surgery
|This section requires expansion. (April 2012)|
The 2008 election saw the Fifth National Government elected to power with 44.93 per cent of the popular vote, ending nine years of Labour government. National formed a minority government with confidence-and-supply support from the ACT, United Future and Māori parties. The Governor-General swore Key in as New Zealand's 38th Prime Minister on 19 November 2008.
The 2011 election saw the Fifth National Government reform again with National in government with confidence-and-supply from the ACT, United Future and Maori parties, but with a reduced share of the votes and share of the seats in the House of Representatives.
The National Party increased its share of the party vote to 47.3 percent, but only increased one seat to 59 due to a reduced wasted vote (down to 3.4 percent from 6.5 percent in 2008), largely stemmed from the return of the New Zealand First party to Parliament after a one term absence. National's increased share of votes however largely came at the expense of other support parties, which saw decreases in vote share and seats. ACT only gained a third of its 2008 vote with 1.07 percent, reducing its seats from five to just one, while the defection of Hone Harawira to form the Mana Party saw the Maori Party's share of vote split, reducing the party to 1.43 percent and reducing the number of seats to three. The United Future Party saw its party vote drop by a quarter to 0.60 percent, but retained its single seat. The reformed Government therefore held 50.41 percent of the party vote and 64 of the 121 seats in Parliament.
The following table shows the total votes* for National, plus parties supporting the National-led government. For more details of electoral results, see the relevant election articles.
|Election||Parliament||Seats*||Total votes*||Percentage||Gain/loss||Seats won*||Change||Majority|
* 'Votes' means party votes only. 'Seats' means both list and electorate seats.
- Following the 2008, 2011 and 2014 elections, National gained support on matters of confidence and supply from ACT, the Māori Party and United Future.
|Deputy Prime Minister||Bill English||2008–|
|Minister of Finance|
|Minister of Infrastructure||2008–2011|
|Minister for Economic Development||Gerry Brownlee||2008–2011|
|Minister of Justice||Simon Power||2008–2011|
|Minister of Health||Tony Ryall||2008–2014|
|Minister for the Environment||Nick Smith||2008–2012|
|Minister of Police||Judith Collins||2008–2011|
|Minister of Education||Anne Tolley||2008–2011|
|Hekia Parata, Lady Gardiner||2011–|
|Minister of Agriculture||David Carter||2008–2011|
|Minister of Foreign Affairs||Murray McCully||2008–|
|Minister of Trade||Tim Groser||2008–|
|Minister of Defence||Wayne Mapp||2008–2011|
|Minister of Transport||Steven Joyce||2008–2011|
|Minister for Courts||Georgina te Heuheu||2008–2011|
|Minister for Social Development||Paula Bennett||2008–2014|
|Minister of Fisheries||Phil Heatley||2008–2011|
|Minister for Ethnic Affairs||Pansy Wong||2008–2010|
|Hekia Parata, Lady Gardiner||2011–2011|
|Minister for Ethnic Communities||Peseta Sam Lotu-Iiga||2014–|
|Minister of Immigration||Jonathan Coleman||2008–|
|Minister of Labour||Kate Wilkinson||2008–2013|
|Minister for Workplace Health & Safety||Michael Woodhouse||2014–|
|Minister of Internal Affairs||Amy Adams||2011–2012|
|Minister for Primary Industries||David Carter||2011–2013|
|Minister for Arts, Culture & Heritage||Maggie Barry||2014–|
Ministers outside Cabinet
|Minister of Customs||Maurice Williamson||2008–|
|Minister of Internal Affairs||Richard Worth||2008 – June 2009|
|Nathan Guy||June 2009 – 2011|
|Peter Dunne||January 2014 –|
|Minister of Civil Defence||John Carter||2008 – July 2011|
|Craig Foss||July 2011 – December 2011|
|December 2011 –
February 2013 –
|Minister of Local Government||Rodney Hide||2008–2011|
|Minister of Consumer Affairs||Heather Roy||2008–2010|
|John Boscawen||2010 – May 2011|
|Minister of Māori Affairs||Pita Sharples||2008–|
|Minister for the Community and Voluntary Sector||Tariana Turia||2008–2011|
|Minister of Revenue||Peter Dunne
- "Review of the Emissions Trading Scheme and related matters". I.23A. New Zealand Parliament. 31 August 2009. Retrieved 30 September 2009
- Fleming, Grant (16 November 2008). "Emissions trading scheme up for review under Act deal". The New Zealand Herald. Retrieved 1 December 2010.
- Hon Dr Nick Smith (25 November 2009). "Balanced new law important step on climate change". New Zealand Government Press Release. Retrieved 14 June 2010.
- Trevett, Claire (19 March 2009). "Spend tax cut or give it to the needy: PM". The New Zealand Herald. Retrieved 25 January 2010.
- "Can you survive on the minimum wage in NZ?". The New Zealand Herald. 27 January 2010. Retrieved 28 January 2010.
- "CONTRIBUTIONS SUSPENSION", nzsuperfund.co.nz/
- Trevett, Claire (18 February 2009). "Unpopular electoral finance law fades into night". The New Zealand Herald. Retrieved 25 January 2010.
- "Governor-General Bill First Reading". Parliament of New Zealand. Retrieved 25 July 2010.[dead link]
- "Monarchy debate off-topic in constitutional review". TVNZ. 8 December 2010. Retrieved 2011-03-14.
- Trevett, Claire (12 December 2008). "90-day bill passes first test under heavy fire". The New Zealand Herald. Retrieved 30 September 2011.
- Gower, Patrick (22 March 2009). "Govt to let employers buy back holidays". The New Zealand Herald. Retrieved 30 September 2011.
- "Titles of Dames, Knights to be restored– Key". The New Zealand Herald. 8 March 2009. Retrieved 25 January 2010.
- "Honours Q and A". Beehive. 8 March 2009. Retrieved 25 July 2010.
- "Use of the title 'The Right Honourable' in New Zealand, 2 August 2010". The Queen's Printer. 2 August 2010. Retrieved 3 August 2010.
- "Queen requests officials become lifelong 'Right Honourables'". NZ Herald News. 3 August 2010. Retrieved 3 August 2010.
- Trevett, Claire (7 June 2012). "Relief over class size backdown". The New Zealand Herald. Retrieved 20 June 2012.
- "Royal Commission on Auckland Governance". The New Zealand Herald. 17 September 2009. Retrieved 25 January 2010.
- "ECan council canned in favour of commissioners". TVNZ. 30 March 2010. Retrieved 15 April 2010.
- "Electives may cut emergencies". The New Zealand Herald. 26 November 2009. Retrieved 25 January 2010.
- National's Ministry focused on growth, prosperity Beehive Press Release, 19 November 2009.
- National-ACT agreement announced Beehive Press Release, 19 November 2009.
- National-United Future agreement announced Beehive Press Release, 19 November 2009.
- National-Maori Party agreement announced Beehive Press Release, 19 November 2009.
- Memorandum of Understanding between the New Zealand National Party and the Green Party of Aotearoa 8 April 2009.