Bribe-O-Meter Update: ACT this weeks biggest spender
For the first time ever, the ACT Party is the biggest spender in this week's update of the election Bribe-O-Meter. ACT’s big jump is on the back of its education policy, costing $3 billion over the next parliamentary term. This week the Bribe-O-Meter also sees Labour and the Green Party jump by more than $1 billion and National by approximately $0.5 billion.
Getting in on the ACT
ACT has announced a $1 billion per year increase in teacher funding. However, when combined with their other policies such as removing corporate welfare and a cancellation of Budget 2017 welfare increases, ACT’s total package would reduce net government spending by $2.4 billion over the next three years. That’s $1,407 per household.
The Labour Party continues to steadily push the fiscal boundaries, with total new spending over the next three years now at $22.8 billion. $22.8 billion is equivalent to $13,237 per household. This week’s new spending came primarily from bringing forward free tertiary education by one year and increasing the student allowance by $50 per week. These two policies will cost taxpayers $2.4 billion over three years. Although it should be remembered that the zero fees policy will be much more expensive once it comes into full effect in 2024.
The Green Party has announced a string of environmental policies, with a particular target on farmers. A new nitrogen tax will raise $392 million over three years, accompanied by a $20 million per year increase in funding for sustainable farming and $5 million a year to establish an organic farming certification scheme. However, the Green Party have also promised to cancel all future unappropriated irrigation subsidies so some of this new spending is offset. We have estimated that cancelling these irrigation subsidies will save $280 million in the next three years.
Major announcements this week from National included $62m to crack down on meth, $52m to go towards Predator Free New Zealand, and an extension of paid parental leave to 22 weeks at a cost of $205 million over three years. Labour has similarly proposed to increase paid parental - from 26 weeks instead of 22 - costing an estimated $420 million over the next three years.
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.
This week we have taken one star off the Green Party because they have failed to release their full alternative budget, as promised. Refer to: http://bit.ly/2eErKvJ
Key Findings (as at 5 September):
- National has promised $7.6 billion in new spending over the next parliamentary term. This equates to $4,422 per household.Transparency rating: 5/5
- Labour has promised $22.8 billion in new spending over the next parliamentary term. This equates to $13,237 per household. Transparency rating: 4/5
- The Green Party has promised $9.9 billion in new spending over the next parliamentary term. This equates to $5,765 per household. Transparency rating: 4/5
- NZ First has promised $26.0 billion in new spending over the next parliamentary term. This equates to $15,062 per household. Transparency rating: 0/5
- ACT has promised $2.4 billion in savings over the next parliamentary term. This equates to $1,407 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 $10.7 billion in new spending over the next parliamentary term. This equates to $6,199 per household. Transparency rating: 4/5