Policy Costing Expert Questions 'NZ Power' Numbers
15 SEPTEMBER 2014
Dr Michael Dunn, engaged by the Taxpayers’ Union to provide the figures for the 'Bribe-O-Meter' election costing website, is questioning the Labour Party’s costing of it’s flagship "NZ Power” policy.
Dr Dunn says, “Labour's claim that NZ Power will cost taxpayers’ $90 million per year is optimistic at best. A more realistic figure is $276 million.”
“As the Government continues to own majority stakes in many of New Zealand’s power companies, NZ Power would see the Government forego much of the income tax and after tax dividends it currently receives.”
“When these aspects are factored in, the NZ Power policy would not cost $178 million as Labour is claiming, but instead cost at least $828 million over three years.”
“The foregone revenue to the Crown is, we estimate, $276 million per year. This is significantly more than Labour’s average of $90 million.
“Labour assume that bringing down the cost of power will introduce offsetting economic benefits. But their assumptions are open to debate, and Labour do not appear to consider who benefits, the long term costs, and the cost to the private shareholders of power companies.”
Dr Dunn’s independent figures are reflected in the Taxpayers’ Union Bribe-O-Meter, which tallies this year’s election promises. The Bribe-O-Meter currently stands at $3,500 per household for Labour compared to $760 for National.
Jordan Williams, Executive Director of the Taxpayers’ Union says, “This isn’t some political hack calling into question Labour’s numbers. Dr Dunn led the team at IRD that costed revenue policy for 12 years. He has advised both National and Labour administrations.”
“The Bribe-O-Meter is to give transparency to the cost of politicians’ promises as we head into the general election."