Are Family Party policies affordable?

I was speaking at a meeting with the local candidates Amy Adams (National), David Coates (Labour) and Ivor Watson (ACT) on Wednesday. It went very well and I received a lot of applause and positive comments. People especially appreciated our stand on the smacking law and the drinking age.

Amy Adams had the last speaking slot however and said something like “I have news for the Family Party, these minor parties can make all sorts of promises because they haven’t costed them out, and we won’t implement them. All our policies are fully costed and affordable”, which I had no opportunity to counter. This objection is often made to all minor parties however.

There is no point in a minor party attempting to fully budget for if every single one of their policies were implemented, as this won’t actually happen so the figures would be useless. Rather we need to look at the impact of each policy individually, as each policy would be fitted into the budget of the major party in government.

So let’s consider our top 10 policy priorities, and whether they could be implemented by a National-led government:

  1. Repeal the Anti-Smacking law:
    Costs nothing. Saves money (better disciplined children = lower crime in future).
  2. GST off basic foods and other essentials:
    Will cost money. Some of this will be recouped through lower health costs (healthier foods & warmer homes = less health problems), but that won’t fully pay for it.
  3. More front-line police:
    Will cost money. But National is already budgeting for more police, not as many as we would like but it is a step in the right direction.
  4. Harsher sentencing:
    Could cost more, but National is going in this direction too, so already budgeted for. Part of our policy includes “disciplined hard work” for all sentenced prisoners, which will actually save money.
  5. Repeal the Emissions Trading Scheme:
    Saves billions of dollars. This does remove the government’s “windfall” tax profit from it, but National is intending to remove this anyway (although they will keep the ETS). Unlike National’s policy of retaining the ETS (slightly tweaked), our policy keeps far more money in the NZ economy, resulting in more economic activity here and a higher tax take.
  6. Constitutionally strengthen the traditional family unit:
    Costs nothing.
  7. Counter NZ’s abortion-on-demand culture:
    Fewer abortions = saving of public health budget. Adding education programs for mothers considering abortion = extra cost. Should be revenue neutral.
  8. Protect NZ’s Christian Heritage:
    Costs nothing.
  9. Repeal the prostitution law reform act:
    Costs nothing.
  10. Repeal the Electoral Finance Act:
    Costs nothing.

So we have:

  • 6 policies that cost nothing or should be approximately revenue neutral
  • 2 that cost money but are already at least partially budgeted for by National
  • Only 1 that costs additional money not in National’s budget
  • 1 that saves billions

It is quite clear we would have few financial problems introducing our top ten policies within a National-led government. Our one costly policy in this list is balanced out by one that would save billions (as compared to National’s budget), probably saving far more money than the other will cost.

Our policies are sensible, practical and affordable. We just need the numbers to persuade National to adopt them.

Furthermore it is extremely arrogant for a National candidate to suggest that National would not be implementing any policies of a potential coalition partner. If they wish to be in government they will have to compromise on policies, that is a fact, it is ridiculous to suggest they can rule alone under MMP, especially based on current polls.

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