The Taxpayer’s Union is flattered that the Greens want to adopt its Bribe-O-Meter according to its media release.
It is said that imitation is the sincerest form of flattery, so we’re chuffed that the Green Party has picked up the Taxpayers’ Union idea for an independent costing unit for election policies. In her state of the nation speech earlier this week, Green Party co-leader Metiria Turei said:
"So what I’m here to announce today is a measure designed to bring a little more transparency and accountability into New Zealand politics. Today, the Green Party has sent a letter to each party leader, asking for support from across the House to establish an independent unit in the Treasury to cost policy promises.
Political parties could submit their policies for costing to this independent unit, which would then produce a report with information on both the fiscal and wider economic implications of the policy."
We have long argued that an independent office to cost political promises would be good for democracy and public policy debates. It's why we developed the Bribe-O-Meter and hired an independent economist in the lead up to the last election!
While our preference is to have the office as one of Parliament, rather than Treasury, we told media that the Green’s policy has real merit. The tool would make it harder for politicians to make up expensive policy on the hoof with taxpayers bearing the costs of the wish-lists. It would likely prevent the fiasco we saw with the Northland by-election bribes.
Yesterday on Radio New Zealand's afternoon panel, David Farrar from the Taxpayers' Union talked about why he supports the policy (click here for audio). I was also interviewed by Newstalk ZB's Larry Williams about the proposal.
Perhaps the Greens should extend the idea of accountability and transparency to local government and cost promises made by local wannabe politicians. It would, for example, have been good to cost the 'Essentially Waiheke' promise of a new community pool in three years. Mind you, a costing was already available paid for by the first Waiheke Local Board but was ignored by Essentially Waiheke, Gulf News and Waiheke Marketplace.
Shaw is anxious to promote his UN Agenda 21 policies. He has seen how successful the Maori Party has been by being the tail that wags the National dog. Shaw wants a bit of that action. He cannot be seen to be serious if the Greens harbour shrills like Roche. I expect to see Roche demoted below her marginal place on the Green Party List if the Party wants to share power with National after the next election and thereby, for the first time in its history, achieve something.
If Roche even thinks she will lose her seat in Parliament she will already be establishing a new, and lucrative, power base. Is this where the Wexit (Waiheke Independence) movement comes in?