The original of this post is here at Polity.
Here’s an excerpt from an Audrey Young piece in the Herald
today yesterday, in which John Key talks about Labour’s plan to increase eligibility for free Early Childhood Education:
Mr Key cited Labour’s promise to increase early childhood education from 20 free hours a week for three and four years old to 25 hours a week.
The policy doesn’t take effect until July 2017 but Labour has costed it at $57 million in the first year and about $60 million after that.
Mr Key said the cost was more likely to be $600 million, $700 million or $800 million.
So Key thinks this policy will cost at least ten times as much as Labour does. That’s a very big claim.
And Andrey did not appear to ask for his sums, she just printed Key’s figures without comment.
Well, let’s see if we can make Key’s numbers add up:
How many kids would need to take up this full time, top of the range subsidy for the annual cost to get to $600m (Key’s lowest estimate)?
Well, $600m divided by $2,600 is 231,000 three and four year olds.
Here’s the problem: there are only around 120,000 three and four year olds in New Zealand!
So, to recap, for Key’s lowest estimate of the cost of Labour’s policy to be right, every single three and four year old in New Zealand would have to take the full extra subsidy, every week of the year, at a top of the line daycare. Twice.
Key needs to stop telling the public bare-faced lies. It is a disgrace, and New Zealanders deserve better.
And senior journalists need to start calling him on it, not just reprinting his lies verbatim.
(Just imagine the reverse for a moment: Would a newspaper uncritically reprint David Cunliffe saying National had got its sums wrong by a factor of ten? I don’t think so.)