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Taxpayers' Union Launch Election 'Bribe-O-Meter'

MEDIA RELEASE

TAXPAYERS’ UNION LAUNCH ELECTION ‘BRIBE-O-METER’

13 JUNE 2014

The New Zealand Taxpayers’ Union has launched an election costing project to calculate the total cost of promises politicians make in the lead up to the 2014 General Election. The “Bribe-o-meter” allows Kiwis to judge for themselves the political bribes as parties vie for votes.

Jordan Williams, Executive Director of the Taxpayers’ Union, says, “The Bribe-o-meter will hold the politicians and political parties to account for how much their pork barrel bribes will cost New Zealand households. For too long politicians have got away with plucking numbers out of thin air when announcing policy.“

“The Bribe-o-meter is about transparency. We will be updating the figures weekly, allowing potential voters to assess which political parties are offering taxpayers value for money.”

“In election year politicians are often quick to trumpet that they will spend millions of dollars on their pet cause. All too often they neglect to remember that it’s voters’ pockets that get lighter to fund these political bribes.”

"As of Monday, National's promises add up to $2,770 per household. For Labour it's $4,082."

Dr Michael Dunn has been engaged to undertake the economic research and will provide the Taxpayers' Union independent figures and analysis. Dr Dunn is a former Principal Economist at the New Zealand Institute of Economic Research and led the team of financial analysts at the Inland Revenue Department that forecast government tax revenues, and costed social policy through thirty Budget, Half Year and pre-Election Economic and Fiscal Updates. While at IRD, Dr Dunn served under numerous ministers and treasurers under National and Labour lead governments.

Dr Dunn says, "The figures released today at taxpayers.org.nz, are estimates of the total cost of the polices announced to date by National and Labour, and mostly use National’s and Labour's own numbers. We have made adjustments to policy cost estimates to remove some offsetting benefits, and have added in cost estimates for 'borrowed' policies and other public promises."

"In the coming weeks we will be updating these tables, reviewing the cost estimates and adding the costs of further announced policies, and adding estimates for costs policies proposed by the other parties.”

The Bribe-o-meter figures for National and Labour are now online at http://taxpayers.org.nz/

ENDS

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