Joyce keeps digging

Written By: - Date published: 8:08 am, September 6th, 2017 - 10 comments
Categories: Economy, making shit up, national, same old national, Steven Joyce, the praiseworthy and the pitiful, you couldn't make this shit up - Tags:

Serial economics paper failer Steven Joyce is not backing down from his claims that there is an $11.7 billion hole in Labour’s fiscals. Even though pretty well everyone in the country who has a qualification in economics disagree.

From Radio New Zealand:

National campaign manager Steven Joyce is doubling down on his attack on Labour’s alternative budget, despite a series of economists saying he’s wrong.

Mr Joyce yesterday claimed Labour had mistakenly not accounted for rolling out operational allowances year on year.

Labour said the figures were robust and the claim was a cynical attempt to distract voters.

Mr Joyce insisted today that outside of laying down its spending on health and education, Labour had left no allocation for increased spending in any other area of government.

“Either they’ve mucked up the allowances and it’s an $11.7 billion hole, or they’ve just ignored the expenditure they’d have to make over the next four years – which is also an $11.7 billion hole.”

He said Labour’s figures would mean a two-year freeze on most government expenditure, with no new money for things like funding for the new Ministry of Vulnerable Children.

Mr Joyce reiterated his criticism on Checkpoint with John Campbell this evening.

“Forget who’s saying what, it’s not a vote as to whether these numbers are here. They are either accurate or they’re not.”

So has Labour left no allocation for increased spending in any other area of Government and will the figures impose a two year freeze on most government expenditure?

Well let’s have a look at Labour’s figures:

And here is the similar table (slightly altered) from PREFU.  PREFU only goes up to 2021.

Note there are significant increases in Health, Education and Social Welfare.

But is there a freeze in other areas?  Clearly not.  The figures in the other line items either match PREFU (National’s figures) or in areas like Law and Order exceed PREFU.  I presume the wage costs of the extra police is the cause for this particular increase.

One line that is not repeated from PREFU in Labour’s figures is the line “Forecast new operating expenditure” and the sum of this line over the 4 years is $11.7 billion.  Presumably this is where Joyce’s claimed budget hole figure comes from.  But Labour’s explanation is that the cost of the new policies have been added into the individual line items and clearly there are significant increases planned in the major areas of Government activity.

And Labour has a new line “Operational allowance” totalling $7.5 billion which I understand is residual cash set aside for wage increases and new policies.  And note again Labour has used PREFU figures.  If Labour has made no allowance for these items then neither has National.


Joyce is spinning furiously now and talking about how there is still a hole in Labour’s figures and how the spare cash is not sufficient to fund new policies and spends.  But his attempted hit on Labour has misfired spectacularly.  And it displays either an inability to understand the figures or a complete indifference to telling the truth or both.

If National lose this election then the actions of Steven Joyce, in blowing up the party’s reputation as financial geniuses, will play a large part in this.  I suspect the retribution will be swift and brutal.

10 comments on “Joyce keeps digging”

  1. NZJester 2

    He has to keep digging. Someone has to dig the grave hole for the current National Government to be laid to rest in.

    • ianmac 3.1

      Cunning bugger. Now the Media will hang on his every word. Seek him out for comment because he is “hot ” news. Even though he drew attention for the absurd reasons.

      • Bearded Git 3.1.1

        In reply to Hilary Barry’s question this morning about National borrowing $50 billion since it came to power Joyce answered “well that was the GFC and the earthquakes”.

        Barry just left this massive lie alone-no questions at all.

        NZ’s earthquakes (after EQC and insurance/reinsurance) cost around $20-25 billion; NZ remained largely unscathed by the GFC though it would have cost a few billion in lower economic activity.

        But the Nats stopped contributing to the Cullen fund-a few billion saved that should have reduced government debt AND it sold off the power companies and Air New Zealand, about $10 billion from memory.

        There is a borrowing gap here of about $35-40 billion much of which went on tax cuts, most going to the better off (the first thing the Nats did when they got into power). Not the best management of the economy at all.

        I’d get Steven Joyce to check my figures but…..

    • Muttonbird 3.2

      That is desperate. Global interest rates are still low which is the main driver, surely.

      He’s campaigning on the greed of Kiwis which has exploded under John Key, and on the fear of people who’ve been playing the housing market like a game of monopoly.

      I hope most Kiwis are selfless enough and brave enough to reject Cone head’s cynical and desperate politicking.

      National must be terrified because he’s been sent out to spread fear instead of running their election campaign.

      I wonder what the next polls will say.

  2. If National lose this election then the actions of Steven Joyce, in blowing up the party’s reputation as financial geniuses, will play a large part in this.

    It’s a reputation that they shouldn’t have as they’ve always trashed the economy.

    • Barfly 4.1

      I remember Bob Jones some time ago in a column saying that Labour Governments were better for the economy but that National ones did give the opportunity for good purchases of distressed assets.
      (I am paraphrasing the last bit from my memory)

  3. tracey 5

    Remember Nationals revenue drops by 450m to account for its tax cuts, where Labour’s does not.

    Recently National has found new money for language teachers and resources, to lift 50,000 chikdren out of Poverty in time for ANZAC Day and another 50,000 at some point, 72m to rehab imaginary unemployed drug addicts, tens of millions for a boot camp, and on and on it goes. A new day, new money be flung about by National. So, let us see their numbers for all the new spending? Feel free to add any figures I have not. Let us make a list… and check it twice

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