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National Party’s numbers versus the Bribe-O-Meter

National Party’s numbers versus the Bribe-O-Meter

Finance Minister Steven Joyce’s claims that the National Party's election promises amount to $1.4b in new operating spending over the next electoral cycle may technically stack up, but is misleading. A better comparable figure is the $8b in promised spending included in the Taxpayers’ Union Bribe-O-Meter. Unlike Mr Joyce’s figure, the Bribe-O-Meter takes into account promised capital spending by all parties.

Mac Mckenna, an economist at the Taxpayers’ Union says, “The reason for the discrepancy in reported new spending between the National Party and the Bribe-O-Meter comes down to the differential treatment of operating and capital spending. The Bribe-O-Meter does not differentiate between capital and operating spending. Where Mr Joyce’s figure excludes policies such as new roads in their headline spending figures.”

“We’ve used the cash flow accounting method because new money is still needed to fund projects like roads. The promises still represent money taken from households through higher tax, higher crown debt - which is simply deferred tax - or less money for other spending areas. Whilst new roads may be reported as a crown asset, they are in reality not worth a lot to anyone but the government.”

The next weekly Bribe-O-Meter update – which tallies the costs of all announced party policies over the next Parliamentary term – will be released tomorrow.


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