The right has this belief that they are economic geniuses. Their reason for being is that they will make the economy better. The eternal question is who for, the answer tends to be for the rich and the rest of us can get stuffed, but their world view is of extreme importance to them.
Not all of them are rich. But they all want to be rich.
Occasionally this belief is shown to be faulty. Check out what Liz Truss did to the UK economy or what Rob Muldoon did to ours if you need proof.
And locally there is a growing belief amongst the media that National’s Foreign Tax policy calculations are hopelessly optimistic.
The policy was released two weeks ago and the questioning of the figures continues and has not abated.
National leader Christopher Luxon has tried to put the issue to bed but his uber confidence has not persuaded journalists.
You should listen to this Radio New Zealand clip where Luxon the trained talking robot said that the policy is rock solid and that he is really, very, absolutely confident about National’s figures.
Radio New Zealand hired two economists to look at the figures. They concluded that about 700 sales at an average price of about $2.7 million could be achieved. They calculate the tax raised would be in the vicinity of$210 to $290 million a year, not the $715 million promised by National in the first year. And they point out the Costelia review of National’s figures appears to have been on the report itself which contains no calculations.
If National’s calculations are robust then National should release them. Otherwise it can expect this issue to dog it for the rest of the campaign.
And a second large hole has appeared in National’s calculations. It anticipated that $1.5 billion of the Carbon fund was immediately available to be reprioritised or squandered depending on your world view. This was the figure for the fund in the Budget documents but the amount actually available is $1 billion. Labour announced in August that $500 million would be applied to walking and cycling projects. National clearly must have missed the memo.
Further costing "hole" tidbit: National's $500m climate fund gap.
-After Budget 23, there was $1.5b in the climate fund.
-On Aug 17, the Govt announced $500m from the fund would go to walking & cycling.
-On Aug 30, National's tax plan assumed the $1.5b was still all there. pic.twitter.com/XzJ0ae4set
— Marc Daalder 😷 Wear a Mask (@marcdaalder) September 13, 2023
Half a billion here, half a billion there, pretty soon we are talking about real money.
This is important because a billion dollar hole in Government’s budget would mean either increased debt or some pretty savage cuts.
And it goes to the core of National’s claim to be economic geniuses. If they cannot get basic predictions right then they deserve to be roasted.
This issue is not going to go away. And National is damned either way. If it releases its calculations I anticipate that its inability to price policies will be laid bare. And if it doesn’t then a sense of mistrust in what it would actually do will grow.