The Green Party has announced a policy to bring more clarity into the political system today, in Co-leader Metiria Turei’s State of the Nation Speech.
Green Party Co-leader Metiria Turei proposed the formation of the Policy Costings Unit (PCU), which would operate independently to cost the policy of political parties.
“New Zealanders deserve more transparency from their politicians so that they can better engage in the political system,” said Mrs Turei.
“That’s why the Green Party is proposing the establishment of the PCU, to provide independent costings for the policies proposed by political parties.
“The PCU would be an independent unit within the Treasury and available to all parliamentary parties. It would help cut through the noise of political party promises and deliver New Zealanders unbiased information.
“This will make elections more about ideas and less about spin. It’s these sorts of small changes that can have big impacts on improving our democracy.
“We have written to all other parties asking them to support this idea and to work with us so that we can make next year’s election more democratic,” said Mrs Turei.
Details of the Policy Costings Unit (PCU):
- The PCU will function within the Treasury and will run like all other divisions within Treasury. However, the PCU will be exempt from reporting to the Minister to maintain confidentiality of Party policies.
- Once a policy has been released by the political party, the costings prepared by the PCU will be proactively released.
- The PCU will be subject to OIA requirements unless the policy is to be released publically by political parties in the near future, in which case it will be exempt under s18 (d) of the OIA Act.
- The PCU will be open to all parties within Parliament initially, with hopes of expansion to parties outside Parliament in the future.
- The PCU will be a permanent fixture in the Treasury with extra resources added during election years to meet demand.
- The cost is estimated to be $1-2 million per year, increasing to $2-3 million a year during election year to account for increased staff.
- The ability for political parties to get policy costed already exists in the Treasury, but permission must be obtained from Ministers.