Since 1984, social and economic reform has occurred at a pace which has no precedent since 1935, when the first Labour Government came to power.Some of the most notable reforms (not presented in strict chronological order) are:• the floating of the foreign exchange rate;• the transformation of state trading departments into State Owned Enterprises and the subsequent privatisation of some of them;• the flattening of the income tax scale and the elimination of many exemptions;• the introduction of the Goods and Services Tax;• elimination of most import restrictions;• the changes in Māori affairs policy, reflected in the replacement of the Department of Māori Affairs by Manatu Māori and the Iwi Transition Agency, and the subsequent replacement of those agencies with Te Puni Kōkiri;• legislatively mandated changes to the structure of local and regional government;• extensive changes to the child protection and juvenile justice systems brought about through the Children, Young Persons and Their Families Act;• changes in the structure of government funded health services (including the creation of a funder/provider separation through the replacement of Health Boards with the Regional Health Authority / Crown Health Enterprise structure);• extensive changes in the operation of the labour market, brought about through the Employment Contracts Act;• extensive changes to the mode of operation of state agencies as a consequence of the State Sector Act and the Public Finance Act;• changes within both the health and welfare sectors directed towards "deinstitutionalisation" of services;• the incorporation of traffic enforcement within the police, brought about through the amalgamation of the Transport and Police Departments;• numerous job creation and work training schemes (ACCESS, MACCESS, Taskforce Green, TOPS, etc);• the introduction of the National Superannuation tax surcharge, and the subsequent tightening of the surcharge;• the introduction of the Guaranteed Minimum Family Income for families supported by a full-time earner;• the introduction of some data sharing between the Inland Revenue Department and the Department of Social Welfare;• extensive changes to the child support system, including transfer of its administration from the Department of Social Welfare to the Department of Inland Revenue:• the abolition of Family Benefit and the introduction of Family Support;• the reduction (announced in December 1990 and implemented from April 1991) of most social security benefit rates, and the introduction of a modified system of supplementary assistance (in the form of Special Needs Grants, Special Benefit, and the Accommodation Supplement);• the increase in the qualifying age for National Superannuation;• the introduction of new health charges, with the introduction of the Community Services Card as a mechanism for income testing previously untested health subsidies;• the increase of the school minimum leaving age from 15 to 16 years;• the rise in age for eligibility for unemployment benefit from 16 to 18 years;• rises in tertiary education fees;• the application of parental income testing to student allowances;• the introduction of repayable student loans;• the contracting of some state agency functions (e.g. DSW debt recovery) to the private sector;• the withdrawal by the state from the provision of subsidised rental housing and the introduction of the income tested Accommodation Supplement; and• the reduction of the state child care subsidy for persons who are not in paid work.
Tuesday, May 01, 2012
Eighties reforms recalled
I was out of New Zealand from 1985 (with a brief period of return) to 1991 and missed the following. As apolitical as I was in my 20s the extent of the reforms probably wouldn't have permeated my consciousness even if I had been here. Perusing old issues of the Social Policy Journal I came across this description of them. I hadn't previously appreciated their scope. For your interest: