The bribe campaign continues

I don’t recall seeing as much blatant voter bribing as we are seeing this election. Party leaders seem to have a handout for every place they visit, trying hard to but votes locally and also to make the national news each day.

As the incumbent Government National have had an advantage. They used the budget in May to announce their big bribe, tax cuts for everyone plus a family package that boosted payments to beneficiaries and parents.

Labour followed with their own major bribe, free tertiary education (starting with one year but signalling more).

Both parties have also been drip feeding bribes as they campaign around the country. I have not keep up with the millions being offered on a daily basis.

It’s less than two weeks until the election and policies are still being dribbled out.

And yesterday Winston Peters announced his big bribe to his main constituency – some sort of new super gold card with lots of baubles and scant details. NZ First don’t seem to have done any homework, no costings, just a promise of something for nothing for pensioners.

The cost of NZ First election promises keeps climbing. Media don’t seem to pay much attention to this, but if NZ First gets to bargain for a coalition deal they could add substantially to National’s or Labour’s handout offers.

Labour also have the possibility of Greens adding a big hit to taxpayer expenses if they get into Government. This could be on top of NZ First requirements.

Parties have always been good at trying to bribe voters with the money taken off them by the state.

This election seems more of a bribe-fest than ever.

Perhaps MMP needs a new tool for voters – a vote of approval or disapproval of a coalition agreement.

But that would probably be pointless. All a party would need to do after that is come up with an ‘expert group’ that recommends things that weren’t detailed in the election campaign or coalition agreement.