Here’s the first question from the House today:
“1. CRAIG FOSS (Nationalâ€”Tukituki) to the Minister of Finance: What does the latest GDP data show about New Zealand’s recent growth performance?
Hon BILL ENGLISH (Minister of Finance) : Revised GDP data up to the September quarter of 2009 was released just before Christmas. It revealed that the economy had, for a number of years, been growing more slowly than was previously reported. In fact, GDP output in 2009 was barely above the level 4 years beforeâ€”that is, 2005. In the 3 years to September 2008 the economy grew, under the revised figures, by less than 1 percent per year through the third term of the last Government and before the impact of the global crisis.
Craig Foss: How should the economy have performed over this time?
Hon BILL ENGLISH: The years 2005-08 were the best of times internationally, and we should have done much better than 0.9 percent growth per year.”
0.9% annual growth from 2006-2008? Just doesn’t feel true, eh? So I checked.
This is what I did. I went to the Stats NZ GDP figures, I added together the revised GDP for the four quarters of the 2006 September year and divided that by the sum of the previous four quarters, then I did the same for the 2007 September year, and the 2008 September year. That’s how you calculate an annual growth % figure.
Here are the answers: 2006: 1.6%, 2007: 2.1%, 2008: 1.5%. Giving an average of 1.7%. That’s against National’s record of -2.2% for the 2009 September year.
I got to wondering how English came up with his completely false figure. And I reckon he added up the quarterly growth figures from December 2005 to September 2008 and divided by 3. That gives you 0.87%.
Problem is that is nonsense. It isn’t the average GDP growth that year. It isn’t anything. Didn’t anyone ever tell English about compounding growth? This is fourth form stuff. I can’t believe neither English nor his staff saw that they had the maths completely wrong.
English would fail the national standard. Lucky he doesn’t have to sit it eh? He can just be the guy in charge of our finances instead.
Meanwhile, John Key:
Roger Douglas: could he not afford to pay for personal tax cuts by lowering the various expenditures that he opposed while in Opposition, such as the Working for Families programme, which he labelled ‘communism by stealth’?
Hon JOHN KEY: When someone loses 100 percent of what he or she earns, that is communism by stealth…
Um. Who loses 100% of their income? Not anyone getting Working for Families. More maths troubles for the money men?
Hon Phil Goff:Which assurance has greater credibility: the Prime Minister’s promise not to raise GST; the Prime Minister’s promise that he will raise GST but it will be fair to all; or, having been caught out in a conflict of interest on his Tranz Rail shares, his promise to sell his mining shares and his uranium shares?
Hon JOHN KEY: Well, let us sort one thing out. No one thinks Phil Goff is sexy, anyway.
Pathetic. The kind of pathetic little comment we’ve come to expect from this little man. More interested in awards from condom makers than doing his job.
Hon JOHN KEY: Maybe I am the only one with amnesia…
Maybe you are John.
This last one wasn’t in the House but still worth a mention. Paula Bennett blames the media for wanting to know what Whanau Ora is:
“I don’t think there is a misunderstanding,” Ms Bennett said. “I think it’s really kind of clear. I think that misunderstanding has been really built up by the members of the media really. Because we are kind of clear on where it is, what the concept is, how it works for those families that need it most. “
So, umm, is there a misunderstanding or not? You’re “kind of clear” on “where” it is? Because I’ve listened to the interviews, I’ve read the newspapers and the reports, and I have no f#cken clue what it is.