Wednesday, August 21, 2019

A sensible idea

That's the only way to describe the government's plans for a Parliamentary Budget Office to allow opposition parties to get an independent costing of their policies. When the idea was first floated back in 2016 as an office within Treasury, I thought that wasn't independent enough and argued that it should be an Officer of Parliament. I'm glad that that's the path the government has gone down.

Meanwhile, National Leader Simon bridges claims this is "screwing the scrum" against the opposition. Rather, it does the opposite. in the past, we have seen governments use the bully pulpit of the Treasury benches to falsely claim that the opposition is financially profligate and has a "fiscal hole". An independent Parliamentary Budget Office will protect oppositions from such behaviour, while providing the public with more information on which to base their votes. That's something an honest opposition should welcome. The fact that National doesn't tells us they are neither honest, nor interested in informing voters properly about their policies.