Quarrying & Mining Magazine

Moving forward with political change

Our first three-party coalition Government involves a cabinet where all parties are represented and with a balance of party polices and promises.

NZ First Leader Winston Peters will be Deputy Prime Minister for the first half of the three-year parliamentary term, and ACT Leader David Seymour for the second half. Peters is Minister of Foreign Affairs, and Seymour, Minister for Regulation.

A 20-strong Cabinet has 14 National Ministers, three ACT Ministers and three NZ First Ministers. Nicola Willis is Minister of Finance, Brooke van Velden Minister for Workplace Relations and Safety, and Shane Jones will be Minister for Regional Development.

For the ministers outside of Cabinet, there are five from National, two from ACT and one from First. ACT and First will each have one Parliamentary Under-Secretary.

The initial policy programme involves the promised 100-day plan with a 100-point economic plan, and tax and fiscal plans, with some adjustments.

Coalition Agreement policies

The Coalition agreement involves other radical changes that will affect the local government, civil contracting and extraction industries.

First is that a new agency, accountable to the Minister for Regulation, will assess the quality of new and existing regulation. This agency, proposed by ACT, will be funded by disestablishing the Productivity Commission.


The three parties have agreed to a pro-democracy approach upholding the principles of liberal democracy, including equal citizenship, parliamentary sovereignty, and the rule of law and property rights, especially with respect to interpreting the Treaty of Waitangi.

The Government will introduce a Treaty Principles Bill based on existing ACT policy and support it to a Select Committee “as soon as practicable”.

Within the first six months of Government, ‘co-governance’ is to be removed from the delivery of all public services, and a Cabinet Office circular will be sent to all central Government organisations. It is the Government’s expectation that public services should be prioritised on the basis of need, not race.

The Government intends passing the Constitution Amendment Bill (enabling a four-year term) through first reading in the first 15 months in Parliament.

They will legislate to make English an official language; ensure all public service departments have their primary name in English, except for those specifically related to Maori; and stop all work on He Puapua.

The Coalition Government does not recognise the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples (UNDRIP) as having any binding legal effect on New Zealand.

A refocus of the curriculum on academic achievement and not ideology, including the removal and replacement of the gender, sexuality, and relationship-based education guidelines.

Local Government

The Government will amend the Public Service Act 2020 to clarify the role of the public service, drive performance, and “ensure accountability to deliver on the agenda of the Government of the day.”

Stop-work notices will be issued on Three Waters (with assets returned to council ownership); the (already ceased) Auckland Light Rail; Let’s Get Wellington Moving council project; and the Lake Onslow Pumped Hydro proposal.

The Canterbury Regional Council (Ngaai Tahu Representation) Act 2022 will be repealed and the public right to local referendum on the establishment or ongoing use of Maori wards, restored.

The implementation of Significant Natural Areas will be stopped, and the National Policy Statement for Freshwater Management replaced to “better reflect the interests of all water users”.

The Medium Density Residential Standards (MDRS), introduced by the previous government, will become optional for councils as they will hold authority to ratify any use of MDRS, including existing zones.

Councils will be offered new “financial incentives” to increase available housing and “consideration” will be given to sharing a portion of GST collected on new residential builds with councils.

The Government says it will “work” with the Auckland Council to implement time of use road congestion charging, and reverse speed limit reductions where it is safe to do so.


The RMA will be replaced with new resource management laws that are premised on the enjoyment of property rights and introduce financial incentives for councils to increase housing.

Infrastructure and Housing will repeal the Natural and Built Environment Act 2023, and the Spatial Planning Act 2023, by Christmas. The Resource Management Act 1991 will be replaced with new resource management laws premised on the enjoyment of property rights as a guiding principle. The Government says this will make it easier to consent new infrastructure, including renewable energy, allowing farmers to farm, getting more houses built, and enable aquaculture and other primary industries.

A Regional Infrastructure Fund, proposed by New Zealand First, will have $1.2 billion in capital funding.

All government contracts will be awarded based on value, without “racial” discrimination.

It will also investigate the reopening of Marsden Point Refinery. This includes establishing a Fuel Security Plan to safeguard our transport and logistics systems and emergency services from any international or domestic disruption.


The Fair Pay Agreement regime will be repealed by Christmas, and 90-day trials expanded to apply to all businesses. The Government “might” simplify personal grievances and remove the eligibility for remedies if the employee is at fault, and setting an income threshold above which a personal grievance cannot be pursued.

The idea of an Income Insurance scheme has been ruled out.

The Government says it will keep the status quo where ‘contractors who have explicitly signed up for a contracting arrangement can’t challenge their employment status in the Employment Court.

The cap on the number of workers under the Recognised Seasonal Employer scheme will be increased along with a more flexible quota allocation system. Median wage requirements from Skilled Migrant Category visas will be removed and it will be easier for family members of visa holders to work here, beginning with Skilled Migrant Category visa holders.

Long-term city and regional infrastructure deals include allowing PPPs, tolling and value capture rating to fund infrastructure.

The existing fuel excise taxes could be replaced with electronic road-user charging for all vehicles, starting with electric vehicles.

Natural Resources extraction

The implementation of Significant Natural Areas will be stopped, and the National Policy Statement for Freshwater Management replaced to “better reflect the interests of all water users”.

The Crown Minerals Act 1991 will be “updated” to clarify its role as promoting the use of Crown minerals, and the ban of offshore oil and gas exploration repealed. The Government says it will “explore the potential for a critical minerals list, where such minerals would have a preferential pathway for development once identified.”

Ministers representing your sectors

 Chris Bishop – Minister for Infrastructure and RMA Reform.

Christopher Bishop (born 4 September 1983) was first elected to Parliament in 2014 as a list MP. Bishop won the Hutt South electorate in 2017 for National, but lost the seat in 2020.

He returned to Parliament as a National list MP and served as National spokesperson for Housing and Infrastructure and was the Shadow Leader of the House. He reclaimed Hutt South for the National Party by a margin of 1332 votes in 2023.

Simeon Brown – Minister for Local Government, Transport, Energy, and Auckland.

Simeon Peter Brown (born 8 April 1991) was first elected to the Auckland Council Manurewa Local Board, on which he also served as Deputy Chair. In 2014, he contested the parliamentary seat of Manurewa for the National Party, but lost to incumbent Labour MP Louisa Wall by a large margin. Brown stood in the electorate of Pakuranga at the 2017 general election, at the age of 25. During the 2020 New Zealand general election, Brown was re-elected in Pakuranga by a large margin of 10,050 votes, again in 2023 with a larger majority.

Penny Simmonds – Minister for the Environment.

Penelope Elsie Simmonds CNZM MP (born September 1959) previously served as the chief executive of the Southern Institute of Technology. Simmonds was selected as the National Party candidate for Invercargill in May 2020. She defeated Labour list MP Liz Craig in the 2020 election. In January 2023, Simmonds became the National Party’s Workforce Planning spokesperson during a reshuffle of Party leader Christopher Luxon’s shadow cabinet. Simmonds returned as Invercargill MP in the 2023 general election.

Chris Penk – Minister for Building and Construction.

Christopher Aidan Penk (born 1980) has been a Member of Parliament for the National Party since 2017. Previously he has worked in the NZ Navy and as a property lawyer. Penk won selection as National’s Helensville candidate for the 2017 election, replacing former prime minister John Key.

In his first term, he was a member of the parliamentary committees for transport and infrastructure; foreign affairs, defence and trade; and justice and the National party opposition spokesperson for courts.

In 2020, he was elected in the Kaipara ki Mahurangi electorate (created for the 2020 election and made up of the Auckland far north area). In the 2023 general elections he retained the electorate for National.

Simon Court MP (Act) – Parliamentary Under-Secretary to the Minister for Infrastructure, Minister Responsible for RMA Reform.

Simon Thomas Court has been a Member of Parliament for ACT since the 2020 general election.

For the Auckland City Council, he worked as a civil and environmental engineer. Before entering parliament, he was running his own engineering firm. In the 2020 general election, Court was placed fifth on the ACT party list and ran for the electorate of Te Atatu – he did not win the electorate, but was chosen as one of ACTs 10 MPs.

Court contested Te Atatu for a second time at the 2023 general election and was unsuccessful, but retained his position as an ACT party list MP.

Shane Jones – Minister for Regional Development.

Shane Jones’ (born 3 September 1959) political career began in 2005 as a list MP for the Labour Party. He became a cabinet minister in his first term, serving as Minister for Building and Construction.

Following Labour’s defeat in the 2008 election, he was a senior opposition MP and unsuccessfully contested the leadership of the Labour Party in a 2013 leadership election. He left parliament the following year for a brief diplomatic career, before returning as a New Zealand First MP at the 2017 general election.

Jones was Minister for Regional Economic Development in the Labour–New Zealand First coalition government from 2017 to 2020.

In October 2020, Jones contested the Northland electorate but was defeated. His party, NZ First, also lost its seats in Parliament, falling below the five percent parliamentary threshold. He was elected as a party List MP for a fifth non-consecutive term in Parliament following the 2023 general election after NZ First won 6.08 percent of the vote – or eight seats.

Erica Stanford  Minister of Immigration.

Stanford was first elected to Parliament as a National MP for the East Coast Bays electorate on 23 September 2017, and won the seat again in 2023. She is an ex-TV programme producer who was born in the East Coast Bays, and has been living in the area for over 40 years. She spent four years working for the former MP for East Coast Bays, Murray McCully.

Tama Potaka – Minister of Conservation.

In November 2022, Potaka (born 1976) was selected as the National Party candidate for the 2022 Hamilton West by-election caused by the resignation of independent MP Gaurav Sharma, who had been expelled from the Labour Party. He won the by-election and retained his seat in the 2023 election. He was the Chief Executive of Ngai Tai ki Tamaki before entering Parliament.

Melissa Lee – Minister for Economic Development.

Melissa Ji-Yun Lee (born 1966) was elected to Parliament as a list MP for the National Party in the 2008 election. As of 2018, she had worked for 23 years in journalism. During the 2020 election, Lee contested Mount Albert and came second place behind Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern, who retained the seat by a final margin of 21,246 votes, and returned to Parliament as a National Party List MP. Lee contested Mount Albert in the 2023  election and came second place behind Labour’s Helen White by just 18 votes.

Brooke van Velden – Minister for Workplace Relations and Safety.

Brooke was born in Auckland in 1992 and has been a member of Parliament since 2020 as an Act List MP, and the party’s deputy leader since June 2020. Van Velden first ran for Parliament at the 2017 general election. She contested the Auckland Central electorate and was placed third on ACT’s party list but was not elected. Before becoming am MP van Velden worked as a staffer for ACT leader David Seymour, tasked with getting ACT’s End of Life Choice Bill passed.

For the 2023 election, van Velden was the ACT party candidate for the eastern Auckland electorate of Tamaki, which had been held by the National Party since 1960. She won with a majority of 4158 votes.

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