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Posts tagged ‘Election Spending’

Policy Spending (Well, not always)

Today, the Herald started a “Porkometer” of election year spending promises. Labour is vastly out in front.

LABOUR-LED GOVERNMENT

* $750 million in new health spending (includes first year of $160 million announced over weekend for elective services).
* $700 million for Fast Forward Fund investing in food and pastoral sector research.
* $665 million to buy the national rail operations.
* $621 million in total over five years to boost Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade.
* $446 million over four years to boost funding for community organisations.
* $251.9 million in total over four years on revamp of Mt Eden Prison.
* $164.2 million over five years for a cervical cancer immunisation programme.
* $150 million a year on educational changes to keep young people in school or training until they are 18.
* $72.1 million over 10 years to clean up Rotorua lakes.
* $46.5 million over four years to providers of home-based support for injured people.
* $35 million for a shared-equity pilot scheme for homebuyers.
* $33.5 million over four years for Canterbury transport.
* $22.4 million over four years for state house insulation.
* $13 million to upgrade flood protection in Milford Sound.
* $9 million over three years to lift horse-racing prizemoney purses.
* $8.8 million over four years to develop and maintain an electronic medicines reference book.
* $8.4 million over two years for Search and Rescue.
* $1 million to the newly established Rutherford Foundation.
* $840,000 to help tourism businesses improve environmental sustainability.
* $600,000 over four years to fund a new European Union/New Zealand exchange programme.

Running total: $3.999 billion

NATIONAL PARTY

* $1.5 billion over six years for ultra-high-speed broadband infrastructure.
* $100 million over three years on new youth training and youth offender programmes.
* $35 million over five years, doubling solar water heating grants.

Running total: $1.635 billion

No Right Turn recons that this is a good thing.

Over on PASystem, the Fundy Post’s Paul Litterick makes an important point: policies = spending. To flesh it out a bit, the standard definition of “policy”, which you’ll find at the front of any textbook on the subject, is that it is about the allocation of government resources in pursuit of a goal. These resources come in many forms – the power to make and enforce laws is a resource, for example – but they also cost money. So at the end of the day, policy requires spending. How much depends on what you’re trying to do and how, but it all costs money in one way or another.

Actually, that’s complete and utter nonsense. Policy does not “always” involve spending. Labour policy always involves spending.

Balanced parties actually cut back waste sometimes – that’s a policy. They also balance the use of surplus funds between spending and tax cuts – that’s also policy, and contrary to leftist belief it’s not spending. (In fact, recent experience in the US suggests it’s revenue generating.)

One would hope that National will reverse the smacking ban also. That will save a significant amount of police time that’s currently wasted. Another policy that’s not about spending money.

So, what the Herald‘s “porkometer” actually tells us is that the government has lots of policies (some of them quite expensive).

Oh yes, they have plenty of policies. And they are expensive. Most people would like many of the above – I’d not question that.

But Cullen has recently pinged National from making large promises that can’t be afforded. Did he really think he could pull that line after announcing so many policies, at so large a cost when National has not?

The other thing it tells us is that six months out from an election, National has almost none (or at least, none that it cares to tell us, the voters, about).

Heh, that’s what election campaigns are for. For those old enough to remember, Labour played the exact same game right through the ’90′s.

It would be nice, with an election coming up, to know what we were actually voting for, and to have some idea of the alternatives. But I guess our political journalists just aren’t interested in telling us.

Gotta love that – complaining about journalists focusing on released policies while saying “it would be nice” “to know what we were actually voting for”, and complaining about lack of reporting on unreleased ones.

How does that work exactly? I suppose the Herald could steal emails, but I wonder if they should start with Labour – I suspect that even with their already rather lengthy list, they still have extensive spending plan to try and buy their way back into power.

In reality, this effort by the Herald is exactly what NRT claims it’s not: “to know what we were actually voting for, and to have some idea of the alternatives”. His real complaint is that the truth makes his side look bad.

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