No clear air at Parliament for a while yet 


Last month, referring to election night, I said “Thank God it’s over!” 
With the benefit of hindsight that was a bit premature.  But maybe now the talks are over and we have some clarity about the Government’s policy platform and key players we can finally get back to normal (funny, tho’, how little we actually missed having a working Government in the interim). 
So, what can we expect now? 
My take is that getting new issues on to this Government’s radar any time soon is going to be a Heculean task.  There’s just no bandwidth for anything not already covered in the coalition agreement. 
This new Government will need to get its own runs on the board ASAP, if for no other reason than to bury the distraction of the protracted negotiations and prove they are better than the last lot. 
They need to prove to the 66 per cent of Kiwis who thought the talks took too long that they can now be decisive and deliver the goods. 
What might get cut-thu’ are issues around which we can build specific and very tangible actions that are easily understood by voters, that can be done with little legislative/regulatory change, that are fiscally neutral and that have a decent political upside. 
There’s no point asking for something as vague and esoteric as ‘system-wide change’, as someone suggested to me recently when discussing a health sector issue. 
And it will be imperative to reinforce both the policy risks of inaction and the political rewards associated with delivery. 
No matter the perfection of the prose in your BIM or policy paper, all eyes will be drawn to those two headings, especially the risk list. 
But we also suggest keeping your advocacy powder dry for now.  I’m guessing there won’t be any clear air around Parliament until at least late March/early April. 
In the meantime, if you’d like a copy of our 10 Rules for Effective Advocacy, or would like to book our half day Effective Advocacy workshop, please give me a call.  We’d be delighted to help.