An extraordinary moment in Question Time as John Boscawen skewered National’s hollow promise to close the wage gap with Australia by 2025. Watch the video and listen to Bill English’s voice. He was simply left high and dry when Boscawen asked him for some actual evidence that the gap is going to close:
Boscawen: By how much does New Zealand’s annual GDP growth rate need to exceed Australia’s to achieve the Government’s concrete goal of closing the income gap with Australia by 2025, and do Treasury’s 2010 Half Year Economic and Fiscal Update forecasts, released today, indicate that the Government’s economic plan will achieve the required rate over the next 5 years?
English: The growth rate needed to close the income gap by 2025 would be 1.8 percent per capita income growth higher than Australia’s. Today’s forecast does not indicate that the plan will achieve that rate over the next 5 years.
That followed English making hugely exaggerated claims about the improvement in the economy earlier in Question Time: “The forecasts also show that the economy has lost fewer jobs than was anticipated in the Budget by a figure of around 80,000.”
‘Sh!t, 80,000’ I thought, ‘that sounds like a lot, too much’. So I did what you always have to do with each claim this government makes – I checked the facts.
The Budget forecast was that 189,000 people would be unemployed in March 2010. The new projection is that unemployment will be 181,000. So, not 80,000 – 8,000. It can’t be that English misspoke, he wouldn’t have been skiting over 8,000 jobs. Our Finance Minister is so out of touch he really thought the number was 80,000. Still, what’s 72,000 Kiwis that don’t have jobs after all?