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Bribe-O-Meter

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Welcome to the Taxpayers' Union Bribe-O-Meter.

As political parties have announced their policies leading up to the General Election, our independent economists have been crunching the numbers to show you just how much all the promises cost. The information below covers all spending policies announced up to 9am Monday 18 September 2017.

And the results are:

Bribe-O-Meter Graph

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Click the shaded area of the parties above for detailed information on the spending promises in each area of spending.

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Bribe-O-Meter - Party totals

(as at 9am 18 September):

Party Total cost (saving) of announced spending promises Cost (saving) per New Zealand household
National Party $8.31 billion $4,821.36
Labour Party $23.02 billion $13,353.10
Green Party $14.91 billion $8,645.10
NZ First $27.53 billion $15,966.54
Maori Party $12.17 billion $7,060.14
ACT ($2.38 billion) ($1,380.86)
The Opportunities Party $13.69 billion $7,938.58

Bribe-O-Meter - Government combination totals

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  • National/ACT: $5.9 billion, $3,441 per household.
  • National/ACT/Maori: $18.1 billion, $10,501 per household.
  • Labour/Green: $35.2 billion, $20,397 per household.
  • National/NZ First: $35.8 billion, $20,788 per household.
  • Labour/NZ First: $49.6 billion, $28,744 per household.
  • Labour/Green/NZ First: $61.7 billion, $35,787 per household.

* Note that the coalition totals account for crossovers in policy (so they do not necessarily match the sum of the individual party figures listed above). The total figures per household assume that each party spends what it has promised, and does not take into account possible changes arising from negotiations to form a government. The New Zealand First figure when paired with the Labour Party is lower than when paired with the National Party because, in some cases, Labour is also promising to spend the same amounts in the same areas as New Zealand First.

Weekly Commentary:

Bribe-O-Meter week 10 (election week): Adding Up the Cost of Potential Government Coalitions

For the final Bribe-O-Meter weekly update before the election, we've put together the combined manifesto costings for a range of potential coalitions. These figures will allow a better understanding of the fiscal implications of a potential future Government over the next three-year parliamentary term.

This week we have put together all the likely coalition options so that voters have a better idea of what their vote might cost taxpayers. While the coalition totals account for crossovers in policy, so there is no double counting, the figures assume that each party spends what it has promised. It does not take into account possible changes arising from negotiations to form a government.

A National-ACT coalition has promised the lowest new spending, combining for a total of $5.9 billion or $3,441 per household. Of which, National has promised $8.3 billion and ACT a net-reduction in spending of $2.4 billion over three years.

ACT, National and the Maori Party have promised a combined $18.1 billion or $10,501 per household. However, 67 percent of this total spending is from the Maori Party alone.

The Labour-Green coalition has promised $35.2 billion in new and unique spending, equivalent to $20,397 per household. There is considerable crossover in Labour-Green policies which have been accounted for.

National and New Zealand First have promised a total of $35.8 billion or $20,788 per household. 77 percent of this spending is from New Zealand First.

Labour and New Zealand First have promised $49.6 billion or $28,744 per household. The Labour-New Zealand First total is made up of 46 percent of Labour Party spending and 54 percent New Zealand First.

A Labour-Green-New Zealand First coalition has promised $61.7 billion or $35,787 per household. Comprising 37 percent Labour Party spending, 20 percent Green Party spending and 43 percent New Zealand First.

Key Findings (as at 9am 18 September 2017)

  • National has promised $8.3 billion in new spending over the next parliamentary term. This equates to $4,821 per household.Transparency rating: 5/5
  • Labour has promised $23.0 billion in new spending over the next parliamentary term. This equates to $13,353 per household. Transparency rating: 4/5
  • The Green Party has promised $14.9 billion in new spending over the next parliamentary term. This equates to $8,645 per household. Transparency rating: 4/5
  • NZ First has promised $27.5 billion in new spending over the next parliamentary term. This equates to $15,967 per household. Transparency rating: 0/5
  • ACT has promised $2.4 billion in savings over the next parliamentary term. This equates to $1,381 in savings per household. Transparency rating: 3/5
  • The Māori Party has promised $12.2 billion in new spending over the next parliamentary term. This equates to $7,060 per household. Transparency rating: 1/5
  • The Opportunities Party has promised $13.7 billion in new spending over the next parliamentary term. This equates to $7,939 per household. Transparency rating: 4/5

You can read detailed breakdowns of each party's policies (and the costs) here:

Transparency Rating

As part of the Bribe-O-Meter, our economic staff have assessed political party's transparency across policy detail and cost and given each a score out of five (see below). The most transparent party has been National. The least transparent is NZ First, closely followed by the Māori Party. 

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FAQ:

What is the methodology and how is the information displayed?

The Bribe-O-Meter compiles the political promises of each of the main political parties and places them within the major spending portfolios.

It assumes that the government elected on 23 September will last for a full three-year term and oversee Budgets 2018/19 to 2020/21.  Policies announced that do not come into effect during the next Parliament will not be included in the figures.

Our analysis includes spending pledges announced between 2014 and now. Given that the purpose of the Bribe-o-meter is to track spending pledges announced by politicians, it does not model the effect of tax cuts or tax increases and the effect they have on households.

Tax credits and rebates have been considered as constituting new spending.

Will you work with political parties to correct or refine the numbers?

Absolutely! We want to provide the public and media with as much information as possible. If there are errors or a party disagrees with our assessment of their costings, we hope that the Bribe-o-meter will encourage the parties to provide the public with more information and transparency.


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