It’s certainly worth the time to acknowledge the enormous headwinds that the old Government has left the new one. It’s also true that the best Government in the world cannot change the past, but it can change our future.

The previous Government had an extraordinary ability to get less out of spending a LOT more. Worse still, much of the spending went on haphazard regulation that was worse than doing nothing because business got harder to do.

It’s true that fewer kids go to school, perhaps because of the thickets of orange cones blocking their way, if the potholes and comically low speed limits hadn’t slowed them down enough. Healthcare became an operation in bureaucratic restructuring instead of actual operations, and people who worked, saved and invested to produce started to wonder why they bothered.

All true, but now what? Real problems can only be solved by real changes and the long-term test for the Government will be whether it can change the policies that got us here.

Returning to the track we were on in 2017 won’t be enough because a) a version of most problems we face now existed then (albeit without Labour’s excesses) and b) the world has kept changing. This is where real change is needed.

If the Government’s spend grew dramatically out of control, the waste must be dramatically eliminated, not least of all to finally take the pressure off inflation. That means going back to First Principles and asking whether the Government should be doing certain things at all.

If the Government is sapping Kiwi ingenuity by wrapping Kiwis in red tape, then the way the Government makes rules must fundamentally change. The Government needs to know what problem it is solving before it puts new costs on everyone from early childhood centres to builders to bankers with new rules. Otherwise, it shouldn’t make new rules.

If the underlying Principles of the Treaty of Waitangi are causing division, they need to change. By defining some New Zealanders as being in Partnership with the Crown and others as being ‘tangata tiriti’, that’s exactly what the current 1980s-era conception of the Treaty is doing. The Principles need to change to match a modern, multi-ethnic, liberal democratic society that has an equal place for everyone.

If the Government gives away $20 billion of education every year but the kids still don’t show up, we need to ask why. First we need to be honest about the problem and stop telling people it’s optional, but we also need to unleash the ingenuity of each community to run better schools that people value going to.

If people are languishing on welfare for 23 years in a lifetime, then the attitude and incentives behind the system need to change. The change needs to be backed up by action, including electronic income management instead of blank cheques, and MSD-employed doctors ready to ensure those who can work do work.

If criminals have been treated better than their victims, considering what they did, then the treatment of both needs to change. Real consequences can’t just be a slogan, there need to be law changes and places to put those convicted and stop them offending again.

If New Zealand faces real problems then New Zealanders deserve a Government of real change. Free Press is proud to be associated with ACT who are providing real solutions in every area listed above and more. Uniting the country behind good ideas breeds hope that we really can fix the ailments Labour left behind, and that’s what the new Government will be judged on.

That's it for this week, be sure to stay tuned next Monday

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