New Zealanders deserve more transparency from their politicians so they can better engage in the political system. Having party policies independently costed will help to cut through the noise of political party promises and deliver New Zealanders unbiased information.
The PCU would be an independent unit within the Treasury and be available to all parliamentary parties.
Further 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.