Tuesday, April 19, 2016

Proving their point

Back in January, the Greens proposed the not very radical idea of a policy costings unit to provide independent information on political party promises. National immediately denounced it as costing too much (while shovelling $26 million towards John Key's vanity flag referendum). So, the Greens sought to have the policy costed by Treasury under existing rules. You'll never guess what happened next:

The Finance Minister has refused to allow the Treasury to cost Green Party policy despite rules allowing political parties to access such a costing.

In January, the Green Party Co-leader Metiria Turei proposed the formation of the Policy Costings Unit (PCU), which would operate independently to cost the policy of political parties. At the time, the Prime Minister dismissed the idea saying it would cost too much, so the Green Party asked Treasury to cost the PCU proposal in February.

“Currently, political parties can get their policy costed by Treasury, but need the permission of the Finance Minister,” said Mrs Turei.

“By refusing to allow Treasury to cost our policy, Bill English has proven this is why we need an independent policy costings unit which is not subject to political interference.

Pretty much. But in order for that to happen, it really has to be a standalone Crown Entity or an Office of Parliament, not part of Treasury.

Meanwhile, its a disturbing insight into how National corruptly uses its control over the machinery of government for partisan political purposes and to undermine our democracy. New Zealand deserves better than this. English should resign.