Adam is a political reporter for the New Zealand Herald.

Health and youth packages lift Labour's total

Labour party leader David Cunliffe. Photo / Brett Phibbs
Labour party leader David Cunliffe. Photo / Brett Phibbs

Labour's health package, along with its recent youth employment policy, lifts its score by $1.36 billion on the Herald's Porkometer - our running total of big-ticket spending promises by the two major parties.

But National, with its official election campaign still two weeks off and no costly policies in the past two weeks, still has plenty of publicly uncommitted spending capacity in reserve.

The health package adds $1.12 billion alone to Labour's total over four years, or $1.18 billion including an extra $10 million a year increase each year from year two to cover population increase and inflation, money which Labour says will come from money already allocated for such increases in National's Budget.

Also announced since the last Porkometer two weeks ago is a youth employment package costing $183 million over four years.

Together, they take Labour's Porkometer reading to $6.51 billion while National's reading remains at $1.31 billion.

The Porkometer does not represent the difference between the two parties' overall fiscal plans. Labour's increased spending is partly funded by almost $5 billion in additional revenue it says its capital gains tax and tax measures will gather and much of almost $15 billion in additional spending or operating allowances set out in National's last Budget.

National has yet to say how it will spend that money, giving it plenty in reserve for its campaign.

The Porkometer takes its name from the United States term "pork barrel", which refers to politicians advancing spending in particular geographical or special interest areas to curry favour with voters.

- NZ Herald

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