Monday, March 16, 2009

Public relations replaces policy

The government is at it again, spinning its non-stimulus by announcing "$1 billion more for state highways". But when you dig into the details, you find that that billion is anything but.

According to the press release, the "new" funding will come from:

  • "$420m reallocation from non-state highway classes (including savings on administration costs)" - in other words, money they were already going to spend on roads, but have now decided to spend on different - and higher publicity - roads;
  • "$258m in new Crown investment (paying for the NZ Transport Agency’s share of Wellington Passenger rail infrastructure)" - which had already been committed to by the previous government; and
  • "$283m increases in fuel taxes (commencing 1 October and replacing regional fuel taxes)" - speaks for itself.
And the total amount of actual new funding here? Zero. But the aim isn't to do something, its to make it look like they are doing something. Policy has been replaced by public relations, and substance by spin.