election bribes

Labour will go after the student vote with major bribes

Labour is set to announce plans to cut the cost of tertiary education, with the policy likely to be the centrepiece of leader Andrew Little’s state of the nation speech in Auckland on Sunday.

Education spokesman Chris Hipkins, who picked up the role in Little’s November reshuffle, signalled at the time Labour wanted to cut the cost of post-school education and that lowering fees was a priority.

This week he would not confirm any details of a possible policy announcement on Sunday. Hipkins said there were “a range of options” available to Labour.

But he pointed to Labour’s track record in lowering financial barriers, such as capping tuition fees.

In 2005 its promise to make student loans interest free for all those remaining in New Zealand was seen as a key to Labour’s re-election.

Hipkins said cost was one of the main barriers to students taking up further study.

Education providers in the sector had seen cost rises of about 9 per cent, with average hourly wages rising 8 per cent, since 2009. Over the same period tertiary tuition funding had risen just 3.5 per cent – from $2.4 billion to just under $2.5 billion. Read more »

$1B surplus expected – Bill will be giddy [UPDATED]

The year ended on June 30, and the final accounts will be released around 1pm today.

Finance Minister Bill English said when he presented the Budget there could be a turnaround.

In Parliament yesterday he wasn’t giving anything away.

“A return to surplus was always a stretch target,” he said.

“Regardless of whether the annual accounts show a small surplus or a small deficit, the overall trend is in the right direction.”

Labour’s finance spokesman, Grant Robertson, expects the accounts will show a small surplus.

“It’s almost certain the Government will announce a surplus for the last financial year … that they only just managed to scrape it together is poor financial management,” he said.

Mr Robertson is forecasting deficits for the current financial year and the next, contrary to the May Budget’s projections for modest surpluses.

“National’s financial management will go down in history as one small surplus out of nine budget deficits,” he said.

Apart from the fact that having a surplus is better than a deficit, National are desperate for one to fund their 2017 election bribes?policy initiatives. ?Expect the purse strings to be finally released somewhat with announcements along the lines of “police will get an extra $500m over years starting in 2018”, and other inspiring stuff.

The budget squeeze has been on everyone, well, mostly everyone. ?So teachers, nurses, police and the like are somewhat overdue for some relief, if not directly, than at least by the public sector getting a little more money to adjust for inflationary and demand pressures.

And crime, health and education on the back of a strong economy has 4th term written all over it. ?Chuck in a few tax cuts, ACC reductions and some feel-good stuff, and the Left are going to need something Bigger than Dirty Politics and something even less probable than Kim Dotcom to upset National’s chances.



The reported budget surplus $414M. ?

While the ACC account is in surplus by $1.6B. ? It’s another smoke and mirror job.


Talks of bringing tax cuts forward are similarly a joke. ?But you’ll have them. ?It’s been part of the 2017 campaign strategy since the beginning.


– Peter Wilson, NZN via 3 News


It’s a bit late, but National’s fight for Northland has started


Team Key is all about cycle ways….

The National Party’s making it clear it’s not going to give up Northland to New Zealand First.

That’s the clear message the Prime Minister’s given to party members at a regional conference in Waitangi today. Read more »

Cunliffe takes the campaign to primary school children


Read more »

Election bribes aren’t worth your vote, suggest SST journo

Sunday Star Times’?Adam Dudding is unhappy with the level of election bribes so far

Ten thousand cheap houses here, a cycleway there. Free GP visits, removal of GST from food, maybe even some tax cuts.

In the final months before an election, politicians drop hints about future bounty to the electorate like the kind of deluded parents who think that playing “Santa Claus is coming to town” all through December will improve a wayward child’s behaviour.

Sometimes, the child (or the electorate) steps into line and takes the bribe. But promises are funny things. They’re not always believed. They can be broken. And sometimes they’re just not enough to make a difference.

Recent weeks have seen a slew of promises, but compared to previous elections, the bribes are pretty thin on the ground, says political commentator Bryce Edwards. That’s partly because in the wake of the GFC there’s not a lot of cash to sling about. Yet the current fashion for austerity goes beyond that.

“Parties seem to think that when they make policy promises to any particular constituency it’s seen as somehow self-interested, or unbelievable.”

The result has been a spree of ostentatious under-promising.

Last week Labour performed the extraordinary trick of spiking six election policy announcements before they’d been made, because the pre-election financial update showed state coffers were fractionally emptier than expected. Labour also said it would delay by six months the rollout of free GP visits for the elderly – a policy announced only 10 days earlier.

Meanwhile, National has tried to have its cake and not eat it, by raising the prospect of tax cuts, while sternly insisting they’ll be teeny-tiny.

Labour’s cancellation of policies that ?may not actually have existed was a masterstroke. ?Kudos to Matt McCarten, and one to be bookmarked for the future. ? The media still report it as if the policies existed in the first place. ?Genius. ? Read more »

The MMP election bribe rort: a reader explains

I love some of the good writing that’s coming in via the Tipline of late. ?I’d like to share this one with you

Hi Cam

I just listened to Norman on the radio talking about post-election deal making, and my blood began to boil. Labour and the Greens are using MMP as a shield behind which to hide their true intentions, and they ought to be called on it by interviewers.

In this campaign we all know that you cannot have Labour without the Greens, or the Greens without Labour. Why not tell us what they will collectively do so that we actually know the choice we are being asked to make: Nation v Labour/Green?

Labour can promise to do A, B, and C, and pretend to cost it as funded. The Greens can promise D, E, and F, and pretend to cost it as funded. They then get to attract to the left voters who like any of A through F. But they both know they are never going to do it all. It is not much different to misleading advertising.

They say they cannot put their heads together and decide what they would collectively do until they know how many votes they each get. Rubbish. What difference does it make if Labour are 2:1 v the Greens or if they are 4:3 or 5:3 ? who cares. They need each other and that is all that matters ? as Al Bundy would have it, you can?t have one without the other. Read more »

Show us the money Phil! I mean, David!

Got an itch? ?Tell Labour. ?They’d love to scratch it.

In a veritable lolly scramble the Labour Party have been announcing policy after policy giving millions upon millions away.

Soon you’re talking real money.

How much?

Mr Joyce says so far Labour has?pledged billions and billions of new spending.

?Labour has announced policies that on their own admission add up to more than $16 billion of new spending over four years. And the true total is likely to be higher because some of the policies have been costed incorrectly,? Mr Joyce says.

?And that’s before you add in the Greens and other coalition partners like Internet-Mana.

?New Zealand has yet to achieve its first surplus since the Global Financial Crisis and the Canterbury earthquakes ? and the?Labour Party?has broken out the Santa Claus outfits.

“The last time Labour went into spending overdrive in 2008, it pushed floating mortgage rates to almost 11 per cent, it sent the economy into recession before the Global Financial Crisis and it left the incoming National Government with a deficit of nearly $4 billion in 2008/09. It’s clear David Cunliffe has learnt nothing from that experience.

?It’s becoming obvious unusually early in this campaign ? New Zealand simply can?t afford a Labour/Greens/Internet-Mana Government.?

16 Billion and counting.

Personally I don’t believe they’ll actually do even half of it. ?Most of them have out clauses in the fine print, such as “if economic conditions allow” and “after further review”, and so on. Read more »

City-centric Labour setting off on regional bribe charm offensive

Having lost support hand over fist in their usual urban strongholds, Labour quite incongruously turns its attention to National heartland holding a fat cheque book

Cunliffe is set to use his appearance at the Local Government New Zealand conference in Nelson to say that if elected Labour would set aside tens of millions of dollars a year for a contestable fund for regional capital projects, focusing on infrastructure development.

Today’s announcement by Cunliffe – who has been under fire over his decision to take a skiing holiday in Central Otago last week as Labour slumped in the polls – will be the latest in an attempt to promote Labour’s plan for an “economic upgrade”.

It is believed the plan will propose the setting aside of a similar amount for capital projects as National did when it announced at its conference $212 million for “regionally important state highway projects”.

It is also expected that regional development would be restored as a ministerial portfolio.

National has a dedicated fund to promote investment in irrigation, although it aims to achieve at least a modest return for the Government.

Labour’s fund would take a “triple bottom line” approach where projects allocated funds would not necessarily need to make a commercial return to the Crown, but would be justified on the basis that the Treasury coffers would be boosted long-term through higher income tax and lower welfare payments coming from increased employment.

Don’t you love it? ?”Triple bottom line”. ?Meaning, here’s some money, don’t worry if you actually do anything useful with it ?- we won’t hold you to account if you use it to upgrade the fleet of company cars. ? As brilliant as it is blatant. ? Read more »

Labour’s flagship education policy is stillborn

Labour are truly bereft of original ideas, and they keep going back to the standard: ?spend more money to solve a problem.

As we’ve often said, because Labour make it so necessary to say it, if spending more money solved problems, we could spend ourselves into health, prosperity and zero unemployment.

We all know it doesn’t work that way.

On the face of it 2000 extra teachers sounds like a great idea, until you think it through. ?Forget the actual cost of it right now, that’s the least of the problems with this policy.

Where are these 2000 teachers coming from?

Teachers colleges turn out several hundred a year. ?So Cunliffe says old, tired, disillusioned teachers are going to be attracted to the profession. ? And he will be looking at immigrants.

Let’s break that down a little further. ?Teachers that have given up on teaching already will need to be “encouraged”, but the whole payment and reward system of the teaching profession is diametrically opposed to anyone being paid even once cent more than anyone else with the same qualifactions, experience and responsibilities.

So, they won’t be getting any more money. ?It flies against everything the teachers unions stand for. ?Equality in everything, and all that.

So if you aren’t going to be able to pay or reward these teachers for coming back, what form will Labour incentives take?

These teachers?coming back are disillusioned or retired. How are they going to hit the ground running with iPads, chromebooks, WiFi Internet?

These teachers?coming back are disillusioned or retired. How are their colleagues going to accept them? ?How would you like to be perceived as a burnt-out, disillusioned, retired teacher that only came back for whatever Labour is going to use to incentivise them?

How are your colleagues going to treat you, knowing you walked away from them in the past? ?You rejected the profession then, what’s changed? ?A Labour bribe?
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