Why we need an impartial organisation to cost all the parties policy platforms

FFS, just when it sounded like the Greens were going to come up with sensible policy prescriptions we get this absolute piece of rubbish.

If this is how we base policy why don’t people just make plans as follows:

  1. I will talk with people in important tones during very serious meetings,
  2. I will offer to give them money arbitrarily
  3. Therefore:  I will create jobs, income, sustainability, and cute kittens.

Seriously, in what world does a massive building initiative make sense when we are going to be struggling to rebuild Christchurch during the next decade given capacity.

In what world does giving money to green entrepreneurs (I would call many of these people marketers) provide “65,000 additional jobs”. [Pro-tip:  1% of the global market is HUGE – remember that we are less than 0.1% of the global population – so saying “just”, especially given foreign subsidies and scale, is ridiculous].

In what world do these policies not crowd out other industries – guess what, skilled workers are already in work, you will be just driving up their wages with your arbitrary industrial policy.

Tbh, this rings of policy made by people who just want to win an election, and have very serious meetings with policy analysts and people who make glossy leaflets.  It shows no reality, and no willingness to think about trade-offs.

When the policy is out fully, I’ll do a write up on it without the angst – but right now I’m pissed.  To think I was considering voting for them – god I wish we had a real choice this election …

UpdateKiwiblog and No Right Turn discuss.

If I was to have a platform

I am constantly criticised for not putting out conclusions for policy.  So I thought with an election coming up, I’d put down my personal election platform … this should make obvious why no-one would vote for me, not even my mother 😉

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Referendum Tool: MPP vs FPP etc..

If you are looking for a way to kill 5 mins at the end of the day, this tool/quiz to help you decide whether you like MMP or FPP is interesting… I must say I felt weird after doing the quiz as I wasn’t sure it accurately represented my feelings. Preconceptions are there to be shattered though:)


Youth training policy

I see that Labour has suggested a youth training policy – I like it.  I am not a fan of their tax policy (I’d fund by reproritising spending, or just increasing tax rates if society so desires, or best of all – actually improving the tax system), but that has nothing to do with this.

I’ve long stated that tax, benefit, and training policies should be more highly integrated, and I see this as a step in the right direction.

I am surprised to see National’s reaction.  For one, they suggested a similar thing prior to last election.  Also, they seem to be going on that Labour keeps announcing this and never doing it – but if this is good policy (something National hasn’t disputed) then why does their policy differ?  If its good its good – criticise policy on its merits right.

Do we need the same job as our friends: The country edition

Via Kiwiblog I see that another member of the Labour party is shooting themselves in the foot, again.  This issue has been done to death, and we’ve already had Dim Post and No Right Turn discuss the ridiculousness of what was stated.

But I’m an economist, I don’t care about “politics” in this party sense – and I especially don’t care when it is just someone making a dumb-ass statement that they don’t really mean.  Given I don’t think Clare Curran wants to remove democracy, what really concerned me more was at the end of the post:

Our economies are too important for the juggernauts of China and other bigger nations to turn us into service economies.

This appears to be saying that New Zealand shouldn’t focus on the things it has a comparative advantage over – instead it should be looking to model itself like other countries, larger countries who have greater scale and greater advantages at making things like manufactured goods.  I find this strange.

Although I don’t like comparing countries to individuals, one clear way to see this from my perspective is to think about me.  I am a service economy.  I have to admit it works pretty well for me, I get to write, I get to do economics all day AND I get to trade income from this to rent a house and buy a computer … excellent.

If other people are investing in making computers better, and improving the quality of the rental stock – that is GREAT for me.  It would be weird for me to then say “hell, I need to start building my own computers”.

Yet this is exactly the sort of few that Curran is trying to push – she seems willing to lower living standards in New Zealand and among our trading partners, just so we can make the same stuff as them (but more poorly).  For me, it is this sort of thinking that is preventing me from voting Labour – far moreso than the latest political gaffe by one of their MPs.

Greens on poverty

The Green party has recently released their policy program for helping the poor:

[Turei’s] party wants to extend Working For Families tax credits by $60 a week for the poorest 140,000 households, reinstate the Training Incentive Allowance for university-level courses to help beneficiaries get educated and into work, raise the minimum wage to $15 an hour and create minimum standards for rental properties to ensure they were warm and healthy.

I like the idea of helping poor families but is the best plan really to:

  • raise marginal tax rates on them,
  • give them cheaper bachelor’s degrees,
  • increase the barriers to entering the workforce at the minimum wage; and,
  • increase the cost of rental properties?

I’m sure Matt will have a more thoughtful analysis up soon but does this policy really tackle the problems that our poorest citizens and their children face? I don’t know for sure but I imagine that the cost of a university degree isn’t a binding constraint for many of them, for example.

It’s going to be fascinating to see all the parties releasing more meaty policy agendas as we approach the election!