Thursday, November 6, 2008

$500 transfer - what multiplier effect?

The Maori Party have advocated a one-off transfer to families of children living in poverty. In itself I have no major issue with this. I would have liked to see a little more detail on the thinking behind this move though. It's a lump sum transfer and should be recognised as such. The question is whether the intention of the transfer has been clearly laid out and whether any real analysis has been done on how it would achieve its objective.

I was somewhat dismayed by Peter Sharples using the term "multiplier effect" on radio and in the presser. No, Peter, there is no real multiplier effect here because it is one-off. First of all, don't even think of bringing retailers into the equation. They are not going to respond to such a small amount by increasing orders - not least because the orders for the Christmas period were likely placed months ago. Second, if shopkeepers believe this is a one-off then why should they change behaviour? The size of the transer is so small that it is not going to add to employment, and therefore will not add to expenditure over and above the initial sum. Your multiplier, Peter, is bogus. Please try to get a proper economist into the Maori Party.

The election is nearly over

Boy, am I glad that the election is nearly over.

The inane ads from all parts of the political spectrum are pathetic and we shall be wonderfully freed of them come Saturday.

However, the underlying childishness will still be there - no matter the make up of next parliament.

Many people view politicians with very little respect. You would have thought that the institution which has the power to influence the life of every man, woman and child in this country would be held in higher regard. Yet it is not. Why? Because despite all the good work that goes on the lasting image we have is of pompous MP's hlding up cardboard signs at press conferences, or the PM explaining why it isn't actually her signature on the bottom of a painting. Not biggies in the wider picture I hear you say. Unfortunately, that IS the wider picture. If (or maybe that should be "when") we see our politicians engage in silly behaviour knowing full well that they are going to be under scrutiny from their electorate, it is reasonable to expect them to be doing equally silly stuff at other times.

Bill English says something dorky. Yeah, like Michael Cullen doesn't say stuff that makes me cringe (rich pricks, anyone?). Even Helen Clark's "You might be able to shout at home" comment was unworthy of a PM. How about banning Dihydrogen monoxide? I'm sorry but the starting point with politicians is to assume he/she is a clown until proven otherwise.

Will we ever see the day when the political parties (especially the two big ones) do not need to descend into muck racking to defeat an opponent?