Friday, August 05, 2005

Minor parties - 99 MPs

This party is a single issue party focused on reducing the parliament size to 99. Actually most people probably support this policy but the logic behind their argument is a popularist "anti-politics" approach. A quick overview reveals most of their overview policies are quite reasonable however I doubt they (as such a small party) have really looked into the implementation level.

They include policies such as MPs salary increases limited to the rate of inflation.
This is a problem at the implementation level because for a job like "controlling the country" MPs are not paid all that much. Surely we want to attract the best people and in addition we don’t want to make the system inflexible or it will be less able to meet our needs. Their attitude towards senior citizen is also of concern since it seems to be to generally paying more to older people without a wider justification for this. These sorts of blanket promises designed to attract some subset of the electorate are a bit dangerous.

They also have an environmental policy to encourage the use of solar panels. It is not entirely convincing - it sounds easy to cheat and unlikely to make a huge difference but it might be worth a trial. Similarly their policy on making it difficult for government to waste tax money may be difficult in practice it sounds like a huge beaurocracy. "People applying for funds from the public purse will be required to submit a detailed plan of how the money is to be spent and provide fully audited accounts of all expenditure". Although I am not sure how seriously they are taking this and it could just mean something similar to the current system.

I do however support limits to perks while in parliament and in retirement these are probably created by some historical fluke and should at least all be reviewed if not just cancelled. Also, their policies on health education and immigration are all quite pragmatic - they focus health on allowing people to participate, education on preventing people dropping into crime, immigration on filling skills shortages, police on law and order etc.

They propose an interesting idea to have the superannuation fun effectively build our roads and then be paid back from tolls - this is quite interesting. People may actually like the idea of paying back the elderly by driving on the roads.

They have introduced the "sounds good but actually has negligible effect" policy of subsidised new housing (Assistance of up to $10,000 will be granted to qualifying families buying their first home.) The problem here is of course that house prices will be pushed up by around that value.

However, to be fair there are some positive effects in certain situations - the policy would have some interesting wealth effects if house prices were low and the economy was slow when the policy was initiated since everyone who's house price went up would feel richer and be able to spend a little more.

Despite some reservations, overall this is a fairly sensible party for a one issue party. I would feel much safer voting 99MPs than direct democracy.


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