At a first read, the answer would seem to be yes, and that is what No Right Turn, among others, concluded. But let’s take a closer look.
The agreement between the Labour party and United Future states:
The government has also agreed that central government funding which is available for the specific Wellington regional roading programme will be able to be used to fund a highway through Transmission Gully if that is deemed to be the preferred option at the end of the current evaluation programe.
When you see a reference to a specific project that just happens to be in an area represented by the leader of one of the junior parties in a coalition, it is easy to say “pork.” However, on closer inspection, all the above-quoted passage commits the government to doing is to continue its “current evaluation programme.” That evaluation is being undertaken by the Transit New Zealand (click for a map of the project). If that bureaucratic agency’s evaluation process deems the Transmission Gully project worthy, funds may be released. And so far, Transmission Gully is not the favored route.
Not very porcine, in that Dunne (United Future leader) has secured no specific commitment to pull the project evaluation from the agency and have his favored project built, independent of whether the experts hired to assess projects’ worthiness agree the project is, indeed, worthy. That would be pork.
As I say in my PMP class, pork vs. programmatic policy is largely about where and what the burden of proof is. If the burden of proof that must be met to provide a benefit to some region or group is that the specific beneficiaries are important political constituents, it’s probably pork . If the burden of proof that must be met is based on technical criteria, it is probably programmatic.
“Programmatic policy” does not mean the policy has to benefit “everyone” (few policies do!). It may even permit politically favored groups to extract rents at the expense of other groups; the difference is that the beneficaries must prove their specific case: that their request for the policy benefit satisfies objective criteria, rather than expect the benefit based on merely political criteria.
It looks like David Farrar (Kiwi blog) agrees that the government deal provides no commitment to paying off Dunne’s support with central government funds for Transmission Gully.
I may look more closely at the deal to reclassify a bridge in Winston Peter’s (now former) district of Tauranga at a later time.