Bribe-O-Meter - Cost Of NZ First Northland Bribes Now More Than $200 Per NZ Household
March 23, 2015 Taxpayers' Union
Following another week of policy announcements on the Northland by-election campaign trail, NZ First is now clocking up promises that, if implemented, would cost more than $200 per New Zealand household.
As of today, National has promised $63.5 million for Northland, while NZ First's promises total $378.9 million. The amounts are equivalent to a cost per New Zealand household of $35.67 for National’s promises and $212.87 for NZ First.
The largest new bribe since last week's update was Mr Peters’ pledge to use taxpayer money to bailout the Kaipara District Council’s debt arising from the Mangawhai Heads wastewater project. This alone increased Mr Peters’ Bribe-O-Meter total by $80 million.
On yesterday’s TVNZ Q&A debate, Mr Peters made reference to a policy to build a ‘fast’ train service to the North. An independent economic expert commissioned by the Taxpayers’ Union for the Bribe-O-Meter, estimates that a high-speed rail link to Northland would cost at least $6.5 billion, more than Northland’s total annual GDP.
But you can breathe a sigh of relief. Winston Peters’ Chief of Staff confirmed to us this morning that the NZ First leader was not meaning high-speed rail. Apparently Mr Peters’ comments relating to ‘fast’ rail to Northland was a reference to line upgrades, already factored into the Bribe-O-Meter, and an express passenger service.
We are proud that the Bribe-O-Meter is forcing politicians to be transparent about the cost of their promises, but with one week to go there is still a risk that politicians turn the by-election into a lolly scramble at taxpayers’ expense.
Over the flip is a breakdown of the promises and our methodology.
Pledge, bribe or policyCost (million) NationalNZ First
Replacement of 10 one-lane bridges 50.5
Development of the Port of Whangarei (instead of extension of the Port of Auckland into Waitemata Harbour) 123.4
Upgrade the Auckland to Northland railway line 50
Rail link to port 122
Akerama Curves realignment13
Taxpayer bailout of Kaipara District Council debt (related to the Mangawhai sewerage scheme) 80
Express rail service between Auckland and Whangarei 3.5
As always we are happy to refine the estimates as we get more information from Government agencies, clarification from the candidates and receive economic advice on the costs of the various promises. We hope the Bribe-O-Meter encourages politicians to be more precise and transparent in their bribes over the next few weeks.
The Northland by-election is bringing out the worst in some politicians. You can tell when they are getting desperate because they start promising the earth in the hope of persuading voters with bribes and promises they usually can't keep. So I’m thankful the Taxpayers’ Union has brought back the Bribe-O-Meter to let the taxpayers know how much the promises will cost them.
I’m heartily sick of politicians taking taxpayers and ratepayers hard earned money to spend on stupid schemes and vanity projects. Thank goodness someone is standing up for the interests of those who actually have to pay the bills. Once again, well done Taxpayers’ Union.