Peters’ Porkies

Populist politicians always invoke pork-barrelling promises (election bribes) as a way to make themselves popular. In recent NZ political history the master of the craft was Muldoon whose 1975 NZ Superannuation election bribe was the bribe of all bribes. 42 years on his political successors have still failed to reverse it, despite the untold damage it has done to intergenerational equity, economic and social well-being. The degree that it restricts governments being able to invest in issues of the day is without precedent.

Winston Peters, the protégé who learnt his craft at Muldoon’s knee continues the tradition. Each election his NZ First Party rolls out spending promises it either hasn’t a hope of funding or for the few it gets across the line there is no justification presented apart from vote buying. In 2017 however the porkies from the Peters party have reached an absurd level even by its own precedents.

Show us the money Mr Peters

1. $5bn  – Student Debt write-off.

No funding sources provided

2. $3bn pa – Diversion of GST collected in regions to funding regional development.

This is money that would otherwise fund central government’s activities so has to be found from somewhere - we wonder where as Peters provides no suggestions.

3. $2.3bn pa - Universal Student Allowance and zero fees.

And this is before hordes more people decide to go to University because it is free.

4. $1.9bn pa – reduction of company tax rate to 25%.

No funding detail provided

5. $1.3bn – ban inshore fishing and provide compensation to the commercial fishers.

No detail at all given on funding

6$1.1bn pa - fix interest rates at 2% per annum for 5 years for first home buyers.

No funding provided and this doesn’t consider the flood of extra buyers who would be drawn in by such low rates

7. $845m pa – raising the minimum wage to $20 ph.

No funding detail provided

8. $450m pa – replacing 1080 with alternate pest eradication methods.

No funding detail provided

9. $324m pa – 1800 more police.

No funding detail provided

10. $3.6bn pa – Removal of GST from fruit and vegetables.

To be funded apparently by a “tax evasion crackdown”, and clamping down on the black economy. No realism at all provided to this throwaway line – it’s grossly inadequate of the %3.6bn pa required.

The above list is by no means exhaustive but provides an idea of the absurdity of the Peters programme. All up it will cost somewhere of the order of $12.5bn per annum plus at least $18bn of one-off costs. To cover this would require a 50% increase in income tax rates & even then the $18bn of one-off costs needs to be raised.

It is just absurd – where are our investigative journalists?