Opportunities Party Included in Bribe-O-Meter but NZ First still leads the race
8 AUGUST 2017
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
After analysis of The Opportunities Party (TOP) policies, including discussion and clarification with party officials, the Taxpayers’ Union has calculated TOP’s manifesto announced to date would cost an additional $10.4 billion over the next parliamentary term. TOP has now been included in the Taxpayers’ Union Bribe-O-Meter in this week’s update (refer to key findings below).
New spending by TOP includes an unconditional basic income (UBI) for 18-23 year olds – estimated to cost $2.8b per year ($8.4b over the next term). It is expected that TOP’s proposal to extend free early childhood education ($991m per year) as well as introduce a UBI for young families ($1.6b) and over 65’s will be offset by means testing superannuation – resulting in a net zero impact in new spending on the Bribe-O-Meter.
For comparison, this places TOP’s total election promises above National ($2.4 billion), United Future ($4.7 billion), the Green Party ($8.1 billion) and ACT (negative $5.35 billion), but below Labour ($18.6 billion) and NZ First ($22.9 billion).
Major spending announcements this week from National and Labour were predominantly on new transport initiatives and have been included in the figures above.
The National Party announced a $2.6 billion transport package. However, not all of this spending will take place immediately. The proposed Mill Road highway and the northwestern busway are projected to be completed in about ten years. The total cost of these new announcements over the next electoral cycle are estimated to be $987 million.
The Labour Party has also announced new transport spending in Auckland with the promise of new light rail tram system from the CBD to the Airport and from the CBD to West Auckland. They are also expected to be completed within ten years. The cost of these two projects over the next parliamentary term is expected to be approximately $957 million.
Mac Mckenna, an economist at the Taxpayers’ Union, commented, “Voters who favour fiscal restraint have good reason to be concerned about their prospects this election. With over six weeks left to go in the campaign, Labour has already announced over $18 billion in new spending – 3.2 times more than their final figure before the last election. Overall Bribe-O-Meter figures are already many times more than the 2014 campaign.”
“We would like to thank Geoff Simmons and The Opportunities Party for assisting our team with costing some of the Party’s more technical policies. We openly encourage all parties to work with us so that we can provide voters with the best information possible. It is worth acknowledging that the most detailed and transparent policies so far have been from the Green Party and TOP."
"At the other end of the spectrum, with by far the least transparent and detailed policies, is NZ First – many of which we’ve had real difficulty clarifying even after reaching out to Mr Peters’ staff,” said Mr Mckenna.