We must fervently hope there are no more by-elections. The country simply can’t afford them.
I am not talking about the cost of running the by-election – although they’re not proving cheap. Last year’s Northland by-election cost just under a million dollars. That’s $30 a vote.
But the real expense is they make politicians dig deeper into our pockets.
The Northland by-election spooked National into promising upgrades to 10 bridges. The cost was put between $32 million and $69m.
Labour Leader Andrew Little dismissed National’s announcement as “pork barrel and a desperate bid to win the confidence of the Northland people”. He was quite correct in his assessment.
The disappointing thing is that National has stuck with the bridges despite losing to Winston Peters.
Their message should have been clearer: no votes, no bridges. The pork can’t arrive regardless of how people vote: that undermines the entire rationale of pork barrel politics.
Hide’s political radar must be down. To deny Northland its pork, National would have all but guaranteed another loss in the general election. Besides, taking things away isn’t John Key’s thing. Read more »