Prime Minister elect John Key has announced the formation of a National-led centre-right government.
At a joint press conference with Act leader Rodney Hide today, Mr Key announced he had formally signed up Act's support.
The Maori Party also confirmed today it will sign a deal with National and Mr Key is scheduled to announce a similar deal with United Future later today.
John Key has said that his government will be very focussed very clearly on economic issues. I believe him, and if he delivers on this, then it will be about bloody time. For years, governments have focussed on social legislation and messing with the markets. Where the economy has figured in the legislative programme, it has more often than not resulted in more regulations, additional taxes, complex work-welfare schemes and the like.
John Key is a bit of an unknown quantity. I think it is also fair to say that there are a few experienced but not-exactly-top-drawer people in his government. It is possible to conceive of a government with more talent, and a bit less baggage. Of course, we won't know where the baggage will end up, and it may be out of the room, yet. That said, it seems that Mr Key's leadership qualities are sound.
And when you consider the alternative that was on offer - Labour, Winston First and Environmentalists - it is clear to me that voters have made the right choice. The alternative was a well-understood government of economically illiterate teachers and unionists, joining for the first time with even more economically clueless environmentalists. I doubt it would have sunk us, but neither would it have resulted in us putting our best foot forward.
The economy is the thing that will stop people leaving our shores in droves. The economy is what pays the wages, the mortgage and the bills. The economy is what pays for the massive health, welfare and education expenditure (80% of the government budget). If the economy grows faster than the rest of the world, we all benefit. If it continues to grow more slowly, we only need to look to Fiji to see our eventual place in the world (Australia's pet country).
So let's hope and trust that this government will focus on people, not the environment. We need a government which tries to help parents to get more out of education, not to close down the private school system. We need to help /drag people out of welfare, not widen the net. We need to worry about actual medical operations performed and results delivered, rather than whether it is a health board, a HFA or a private hospital.
On the economy, environmental issues need to take a back seat. For far too long policy has been driven by environmentalists.
- Running out of electricity or finding it too expensive? Well that's just due to the evil reforms of the 90s. No sorry you can't have a new power station.
- Want to build a new house on the edge of town? No sorry, we need to stop expanding cities - just move into an apartment like a good little family.
- Need a plastic bag for your shopping? No sorry, they are bad for the animals.
- Don't have enough rubbish bags to function in life? Try spending more time with your rubbish to get to know it, and love it. No sorry you can't have any more bags. Try a compost heap.
- Want to mine coal on your land? OK, but only if you spend $50m to dig up all the snails and keep them in a fridge.
The good news is that this government does not include environmentalists, at least officially. I sincerely hope that this will mean a strong focus on humans, and consideration of the environment only in as much as it affects us.