Policy on the hoof

The Herald editorial sounds useful warnings:

Policy made on the hoof is rarely good policy. Never is this more evident than in the final days of election campaigns, when parties are wrestling for votes.

Winston wants to ban polls in election campaigns. Maybe we should ban policy instead 🙂

National was first out of the blocks with a vague proposal to help highly mortgaged people keep their homes while temporarily unemployed. Labour responded with a plan to help working couples with a job search allowance if one of them was made redundant.

Haste came at a cost, however. The Prime Minister, whose command of policy is normally impeccable, yesterday accused the Herald of misreporting one of the details.

In fact, she was wrong. Obviously Labour’s scheme had been thrown together too quickly for her to fully acquaint herself with its abatement regime. Such are the perils of policy made on the hoof.

There is another explanation. That she did know the details and was just trying to ignore the weaknesses!

The boost to the supplement [by National] may be viewed by some as a humanitarian gesture. Others will see it as a means of underpinning house prices. But it also has the hallmarks of policy rushed out in haste and without due consideration. Most damagingly, it ignores the of shielding people from reckless risk-taking.

Many of those who will find it hard to pay their mortgage if they are made redundant are the same people who disregarded the Reserve Bank Governor, Alan Bollard, when he repeatedly warned debt-laden households of the dangers of an ongoing spending spree. They abandoned common sense, convinced themselves house prices would always rise, and kept on buying.

I suspect Mr Fallow wrote this editorial, as it sounds very much like his questions at Mood of the Boardroom! And the moral hazard issue is very real. National have done a 16 week package which will last two years. Labour a 13 week package which is permament. I can see a future where the parties out-bid each other until we have a 52 weeks package for people made redundant.

The scant information National released yesterday did not disclose whether the accommodation supplement would be available only for family homes, and not for rental properties. Hopefully, this will be the case.

I am surprised the Herald even raises this point, as the existing rules of the Accommodation Supplement are very clear that of course it only applies for homes you live in.

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