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Media release from the Taxpayers' Union
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MEDIA RELEASE

MINOR PARTIES ADDED TO ELECTION ‘BRIBE-O-METER'

1 SEPTEMBER 2014
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

The Taxpayers’ Union have added the Green, ACT, United Future and Conservative Parties to the ‘Bribe-O-Meter’ hosted at taxpayers.org.nz.  Excluding ACT and New Zealand First, the total election ‘bribes’ - that is new spending not already in the budget covering the next parliamentary term, equals $12.7 billion, or $7,486 per household.

Jordan Williams, Executive Director of the Taxpayers’ Union, says, “The Bribe-O-Meter is enabling Kiwis to judge for themselves the various bribes this election. With the addition of the minor parties voters can assess which political parties are offering taxpayers value for money.”

"As of the end of last week, National's election promises add up to $329 per household. The equivalent figure for Labour is $2,776, the Greens $2,893, United Future $1,253, and the Conservatives $236. ACT is in the negative, committing to cut spending by $6,876 per household.”

A lack of detail in New Zealand First’s policy documents has made it impossible for the Union's independent expert, Dr Michael Dunn, to calculate credible figures for the Party’s inclusion in the Bribe-O-Meter.  Public and private requests to New Zealand First have, to date, not resulted in amelioration. 

Mr Williams says, “While National, Labour, the Greens, Conservatives, ACT, and United Future have provided the Union with sufficient policy and financial material to estimate the cost of their election manifestos, New Zealand First apparently just doesn’t have the information for our expert. It appears that Mr Peters makes promises to all and sundry, but no one at his office is adding up the cost.”

“We are delighted that in the last week, parties have come to us to test our expert’s assumptions and the Bribe-O-Meter's methodology. On the basis of new information that parties have provided we’ve updated our figures and are able to provide more transparency to the voting public on precisely what parties are promising."

The Bribe-O-Meter is available at taxpayers.org.nz/bribe_o_meter.

ENDS

ENQUIRIES:

Jordan Williams
021 762 542

Q & A:

What is the 'Bribe-O-Meter'?

The Bribe-O-Meter sheds light on the total cost of political bribes offered by each party and shows the per household cost.

How has the Taxpayers' Union obtained the data?

The Taxpayers’ Union has commissioned Dr Michael Dunn to independently calculate the data for the Bribe-O-Meter. Michael is politically independent and has extensive experience in the field of economics, including as a Manager within IRD’s Forecasting and Analysis unit for 12 years. Further information about Michael and his background can be found here.

What is the methodology and how is the information displayed?

The Bribe-O-Meter compiles the political promises of each of the main political parties and places them within the major spending portfolios.

It assumes that the government elected on 20 September will last for a full three-year term and oversee Budgets 2015/2016 to 2017/2018.  Policies announced that do not come into effect during the next Parliament will not be included in the figures.

Our analysis includes spending pledges announced between 2011 and now. Given that the purpose of the Bribe-O-Meter is to track spending pledges announced by politicians, it does not model the effect of tax cuts or tax increases, nor the effect they would have on households.

Tax credits and rebates have been considered as constituting new spending.

Will you work with political parties to correct or refine the numbers?

Absolutely! We want to provide the public and media with as much information as possible. If there are errors or a party disagrees with Dr Dunn’s expert assessment of their costings, we hope that the Bribe-O-Meter will encourage the parties to provide the public with more information and transparency.

Since the launch of the Bribe-O-Meter, the National Party has objected to inclusion of certain spending commitments that are already legislated and approved as part of Budget 2014. On the advice of our independent expert, the National Party figures have been adjusted to reflect election priorities, rather than already implemented policy.

NOTES TO EDITORS:

The New Zealand Taxpayers’ Union is an independent activist group, dedicated to being the voice for Kiwi taxpayers in the corridors of power. It’s here to fight government waste and make sure New Zealanders get value for money from their tax dollar.

The Taxpayers’ Union operates a 24 hour media line for comment on taxpayer issues. Representatives are available on (04) 282 0302.

High resolution images and logos are available on request or online at http://www.taxpayers.org.nz/pages/resources