Manifestos vs voter concerns: does the PN square up?

Corruption, cost of living and traffic listed as top three concerns in survey

 

In the context of yet another election dominated by the country’s major parties, The Shift has decided to cross-compare their electoral programmes with key voter concerns highlighted by surveys to determine whether they are being addressed.

According to Malta Today’s most recent survey on 8 March, corruption is by far the biggest concern for all voters across political divides, with 20.35% of the survey respondents referring to corruption as a key concern.

The Shift has grouped together all the highest-rated concerns by respondents in this survey into five domestic policy areas for review. Besides corruption, the issues ranked highest among voter concerns are the cost of living and low wages, the environment and over-development, traffic and COVID.

Given that the Labour Party’s manifesto is yet to be published, despite being mid-way through the campaign, the cross-comparison exercise must begin with what PN has proposed. A separate analysis on the PL’s manifesto will follow upon publication and subsequent review.

Corruption

As was highlighted in our manifesto crunch, the PN has come out swinging on corruption, promising to implement targeted measures such as the full implementation of the recommendations formulated by the Daphne Caruana Galizia public inquiry board.

Besides the proposals already highlighted, the PN further proposed appointing a commissioner for good governance within the Ombudsman’s office and follow-up investigations for all National Audit Office (NAO) reports that have highlighted maladministration.

Other proposals include a weekly parliamentary Q&A session with the prime minister facing direct questions from MPs, maintaining registers that document every meeting held between ministers and/or parliamentary secretaries with individuals who wish to speak to them and making public information as readily available as possible rather than on request.

Cost of living, low wages

While the PN’s manifesto does list a raft of specific incentives, schemes and tax breaks that benefit various different types of demographics, the manifesto fails to directly provide measures to address surging costs for basic, daily goods and stagnant wages.

In terms of wages, the manifesto vaguely refers to shifting discourse away from minimum wage policies and onward towards a living wage, which would mean the living wage benchmark would be calculated according to the minimum amount of money needed to afford basic needs.

However, no promises were made to raise the minimum wage or to scrap the minimum wage in favour of a living wage. The PN did promise wage increases for teachers and members of the disciplinary corps while also promising annual bonuses for frontliners like healthcare workers, social workers and educators.

Traffic

In the section referring to infrastructure, the PN has listed multiple proposals geared towards tackling traffic on two, interlinked fronts – the aspect of pollution generated from excessive use of motor vehicles and incentives for citizens who commute using public forms of transport.

The PN has promised to provide incentives for remote workers and people who go to work using public transport, electric vehicles or bicycles, further stating that the country’s licensing regime is set to favour electric vehicles by exempting them from license fees and taxes altogether.

The PN also proposed a trackless tram transport system operating through arterial main roads, along with calls for further studies and investment in other forms of public transport.

COVID

One of the PN’s weightier proposals for post-COVID pandemic recovery plans is the promise to allow all VAT, tax dues and social security contributions that have accumulated throughout shutdown periods to be paid back over eight years.

The PN had, in April of last year, also proposed a tourism recovery plan meant to stimulate the economic sector that was left high and dry due to COVID shutting down airports across the world. The plan is also referred to in its 2022 electoral manifesto.

While the plan did include measures meant to alleviate recovering operators from financial burdens such as a 7% reduction in VAT for bars, restaurants and other operators linked with the tourism industry, many of the reforms proposed at the time referred to measures seemingly geared for an active, full-blown pandemic, such as the creation of three testing hubs for tourists across Malta and Gozo.

Construction, over-development and the environment

The PN’s manifesto bears no reference to any specific, targeted measures to rein in the rampant construction industry, pledging instead to provide a “clear position” on over-development through a mixture of legislation and enforcement but failing to give further detail.

As for the environment as a whole, the PN has proposed an annual exercise in which designates 50,000sqm of public land as Outside Development Zone (ODZ), further excluding the possibility of including ODZ land within developable zones unless a two-thirds majority vote is achieved in parliament.

An environmental proposal put forth by the PN which seems to indicate the party’s tipping of the hat towards environmental NGOs refers to how NGOs would be given more voting power on decision-making boards that are tasked with adjudicating matters related to planning, infrastructure, transport and the environment.

                           
                               
guest
1 Comment
Oldest
Newest Most Voted
Inline Feedbacks
View all comments
carmelo borg
2 months ago

Ma nafx min fejn sejrin igibu dawn il BİLJUNİ KOLLHA + idejn li ghandu il pajjiz u l infieq ta direct orders u ghotjiet ta konsulenza b eluf u eluf ta EUROS lil mtal qalba. CAPCAP GAHAN MEQ MEQ

Related Stories

ADPD takes Electoral Commission, State Advocate to constitutional court over electoral discrimination
ADPD, Malta’s longest-standing alternative to PL and PN, held
Election 2022: Out with the old, in with the new
Parliament will look very different in a few weeks’

Our Awards and Media Partners

Award logo Award logo Award logo Award logo