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Bribe-O-Meter update (week 3)

Bribe-O-Meter week 3: All minor parties added, NZ First spending in excess of $22.5b

bribe-o-meter-logo.pngIn this weeks update, all parties currently in Parliament have been added to the Taxpayers’ Union Bribe-O-Meter, which tracks the costs of election policies as they are announced.

To date, NZ First has the most expensive set of policies, totalling $22.5 billion in new spending over the next three years. This is equivalent to $13,024 per household. 

It should be noted that this is a conservative estimate and likely understates the true cost of the NZ First manifesto. A significant amount of NZ First policies are yet to be included because they lack sufficient detail.

ACT are the only party that will reduce Government spending, by eliminating $3.4 billion of corporate welfare and reversing the welfare increases announced in Budget 2017. ACT will save taxpayers $5.35b over the next three years – or $3,103 per household. 

United Future has promised $4.7b in new spending, or $2,737 per household. This comprises an estimated $2.7 billion to build the Ngauranga Gorge Tunnel and $1.9 billion to abolish tertiary tuition fees.

The Maori Party are yet to release their election manifesto so the only policy included to date is IwiRail, which is estimated to cost $1.55b over the next parliamentary term.

There have been few changes to National, Labour and the Green Party from last week. 

NZ First have proposed a set of policies that are largely ambiguous and lack detail. $22.5 billion is by far the most expensive set of policies of any party so far. However, even this understates the true cost of the NZ First manifesto because a significant number of policies lack enough detail to be included.

Notably expensive NZ First policies include: 

  • Write-down of student debt: $4.6b per annum
  • Buy-back of Meridian, Mighty River Power and Genesis: $4.3b
  • Northland rail: $850m
  • Installing 200km of new median barriers: $443m over three years
  • Banning 1080 and undergoing pest control with solely traps: $386m over three years
  • Reintroducing a non-commercial public service television channel: $45m over three years

It is worrying that New Zealand First shows no inclination of explaining to voters how they intend to fund their policies. They promise the world without any indication of how it will be fulfilled.

As it stands, and not accounting for some crossover of policy, a Labour-Green-NZ First coalition would spend $50 billion extra over the next parliamentary term. Considering Core Crown revenue is expected to be $80 billion in 2017, this figure is material.

Next week we intend to release policy costing’s for the Opportunities Party.

Key Findings 

  • National has promised $1.4 billion in new spending over the next parliamentary term. This equates to $814 per household.
  • Labour has promised $17.6 billion in new spending over the next parliamentary term. This equates to $10,223 per household.
  • The Green party has promised $8.1 billion in new spending over the next parliamentary term. This equates to $4,692 per household.
  • NZ First has promised $22.5 billion in new spending over the next parliamentary term. This equates to $13,024 per household.
  • ACT has promised $5.4 billion in taxpayer savings over the next parliamentary term. This equates to $3,103 in savings per household.
  • United Future has promised $4.7 billion in new spending over the next parliamentary term. This equates to $2,737 per household.
  • The Maori party has promised $1.6 billion in new spending over the next parliamentary term. This equates to $899 per household. Although this only includes one policy (the Maori party manifesto is expected to be released this week). 

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

Click here to view the Bribe-O-Meter


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