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Paul Goldsmith should stop digging

Written By: - Date published: 3:05 pm, October 3rd, 2020 - 80 comments
Categories: grant robertson, making shit up, national, paul goldsmith, same old national, spin, uncategorized, you couldn't make this shit up - Tags:

Clearly Paul Goldsmith and National have been hurt by the rank amateurishness of its alternative budget.

To recap it was released in a hurry two days after PREFU was released.  And boy did it show signs of being hurried.

It quickly transpired there was a $4 billion dollar hole because Goldsmith had used the incorrect figure for “savings” to be made by stopping contributions to the Cullen fund.

Then another hole appeared, this a more modest $88 million hole.  Although more modest in relative terms this was still sufficient to pay the annual wages of over a thousand teachers.  This mistake arose because it used the wrong figure for the capital allowance.

It got worse.  It then emerged that National had double counted a $3.9 billion contribution from the National Land Transport Fund.  Its solution was to just say that the NLTF would have to pay this sum twice.  What fiscal geniuses National has.  Imagine being able to get funding this way by drawing twice on a fund in the future even though you have no idea if it will be able to afford this.

And then another $2 billion hole appeared because National, fiscal geniuses that they are, thought they could cut contributions from the Cullen Fund but still collect the tax earned by these further investments that were not made.  Wow.  Tax income out of nothing.  And they talk to the left about magical money trees.

Yesterday Paul Goldsmith thought that he was on a winner and that he could get his own back.  He firmly believed that he had discovered two holes in Labour’s fiscal policy.

He noted that Labour had not included the cost of Auckland light rail or the proposed Otago hydro storage into its costings therefore there were holes in Labour’s budget just as bad as those in National’s.  The only problem is that he appears to have again totally misunderstood how Government finances work and shown yet again why he should not be trusted with the Government cheque book.

His basic problem is that funding for light rail has not been decided on.  There is no need to apply funds to the project until there is some certainty that it will be funded in a certain way.  At this stage there is still the possibility that the Super fund will finance and build the project as a PPP.  It may not happen this way but until there is some certainty there is no need to put it in the budget.

And besides there is $1.8 billion in the Auckland Transport Alignment Project “that will be used to leverage funding and financing and progress the city-airport and northwest corridors over the next decade.”

National’s claim is a joke.  Especially if you recall that its version of ATAP had a $5.9 billion fiscal hole in it.

Similar comments apply to the Otago hydro storage project.  There is funding in the budget for the business case.  After this has been presented a firm decision can be made about whether to proceed with it and at what cost.

And Labour’s fiscal statement clearly points out that there is unallocated capital budget, $7.8 billion worth in the next term, that will be available for different projects once decisions have been made.  To quote from Labour’s fiscal plan:

At PREFU, there was $4.8bn of funding remaining in the multi-year capital allowance. A further $3bn of new capital investment is set aside for the 2024/25 financial year within PREFU. Labour will ensure that this $7.8bn of new capital investment in the next term is spent wisely on projects that tackle our long-term challenges. We will also make sure that the investments that we have made to date are delivered.

This is not a hole in Labour’s figures.  It is a further hole in Goldsmith’s credibility.  The take is that bad David Farrar has not posted about it.

He really does need to stop digging.

80 comments on “Paul Goldsmith should stop digging ”

  1. Draco T Bastard 1

    The only problem is that he appears to have again totally misunderstood how Government finances work

    The real problem is that the majority of people don't know how government finances work. If they did then they'd know that Household Budget that most politicians used was complete bollocks.

    The government creates money and spends it into the economy which then filters through and empowers the rest of the economy. It doesn't need taxes to fund anything.

    • Climaction 1.1

      This broken record again?

      many people smarter than you draco don’t subscribe and will not participate in such a stupid scam on economically illiterate people.

      there is no point asking you to shut up man, but please, shut up man

      • Austringer 1.1.1

        Heard a conversation between two economist!s arguing about Capitalism, its value and profit exploitation, one had the argue, print money, the other do you understand history, do you understand in the 1920!s Germany they printed so much money that a wheel barrow of Marks was needed to purchase a loaf of bread and if transacting money it was to the value of One point four million Marks to buy one American dollar, and the monster that arose from that capitalist exploit was Hitler. Capitalist inclined do not mention that in their history of profit and exploit. However, printing money,well for those on minimum wage and social care, will never afford the Kiwi dream of home ownership,a house in Auckland, average assuming two bedroom is $20,000, short of a Million. So should we print money or should we seriously look at alternative means of existence.

        [Fixed typo in user name]

        • KJT 1.1.1.1

          The printing money was the effect. Not the cause.

          German inflation happened after they ran short of gold to pay war reparations. The hyperinflation followed.

          Zimbabwe ran out of food and other supplies. Same.

          Their hyperinflation was caused by shortages. The excess money printing was the response.

          NZ printed money during the first Labour Government to build State houses. The result was not hyperinflation. It was more State houses.

          The "Fed" has been money printing like crazy. Inflation in the real economy has been stubbornly absent. As the available labour and resources is under utilised.

          Mean while we accept banks, "printing money" all the time. Paying interest to them for the privilege. Unfortunately they will mostly only "print" to add to the price of existing assets. Try getting a bank loan without land as security for a small business.

        • Incognito 1.1.1.2

          [Fixed typo in user name]

      • Draco T Bastard 1.1.2

        Ah, so you don't like following the evidence?

        Yes, private banks creating money every single time they issue a loan is part of the proof that governments can issue currency as they choose as its the governments that give the private banks the privilege of creating that money.

        Also, fact is not supported by popularity – no matter how many people would like it to be so. All those people saying that I'm wrong are miseducated and aren't looking at the facts.

        I suggest educating yourself a little:

        Almost all of us are convinced that the federal government sees (and must manage) money, budgets, and finances in the same way that we do. It doesn’t. Not by a long shot. In fact, it’s downright Opposite World.

        Why is this the case? Because we don’t create money – the federal government does. We use its money. This is the case for you and me, our families and businesses, and even the towns, cities, and states we live in – we are all currency users. The federal government (of countries with sovereign fiat currencies, such as the United States, the UK, Canada, Australia, and Japan) however, is the one and only creator of currency – it is the monopoly currency issuer.

        • Climaction 1.1.2.1

          I have an economics degree. I studied MMT. So I studied how money is created in an economy and the value it holds.

          so I know how ghastly the effect of just printing money because you happen to be the temporary owner of the printing machine makes no sense. The value of the currency plummets, which doesn’t reduce debt or make it easier to pay. It forces people onto alternative currencies as the government issued one has zero value.

          As the value of 1 unit plummets, the price of the everything goes up.

          so before sending me articles by a Jeff Epstein, maybe go and educate yourself.

          start by asking yourself why no modern, democratic government pursues this method to pay its sovereign debt back

          • Tricledrown 1.1.2.1.1

            Climaction so what's wrong with lowering currency value in a recession helping exporters and reducing imports.

            Looking at NZ dollar it has stayed very stable with $60 billion of QE.

            You obviously didn't read very widely when doing your degree.

          • Draco T Bastard 1.1.2.1.2

            These days, having an economics degree is pretty much proof that you're wrong.

            Currency doesn't have value. Its merely a tool that allows trade.

            start by asking yourself why no modern, democratic government pursues this method to pay its sovereign debt back

            That's just it though – they do use that system. That's what a fiat currency is. So, why does the government have debt?

            Answer:

            And the Enquiry was flooded with special pleading like had not been aired in public before.

            The Treasury’s (2002) own – Review Of The Commonwealth Government Securities Market, Discussion Paper claimed that purported CGS benefits include:

            … assisting the pricing and referencing of financial products; facilitating management of financial risk; providing a long-term investment vehicle; assisting the implementation of monetary policy; providing a safe haven in times of financial instability; attracting foreign capital inflow; and promoting Australia as a global financial centre.

            We heard some of that during the GFC – that the liquid and risk-free government bond market allowed many speculators to find a safe haven.

            In other language – that the public bonds play a welfare role to the rich speculators.

            My bold.

            so before sending me articles by a Jeff Epstein

            And attacking the messenger is typical of people who are scared that their beliefs are wrong, who simply do not want to believe the facts as presented to them.

            • Climaction 1.1.2.1.2.1

              starting an article with someone who has more knowledge about the issue than your self with

              "Having an economics degree is pretty much proof that your wrong.."

              and then ending it with "Attacking the messenger is typical of people who are scared that their beliefs are wrong, who simply no want to believe the facts as presented to them"

              Suggests strong dissonance between reality and your false projections Draco.

              I know you won't accept that any one who holds a differing viewpoint than yourself about capitalism could be right, yet probably cant be trusted by you. But after 11 odd years of banging on on the standard about printing money to solve sovereign debt woes. during this time venezuela has gone from one of the richest countries in south america to almost the poorest, through the printing of money to pay the countries bills.

              Only the idiotic and insane think that the rest of the world is mad for thinking their views are the crazy ones.

              If printing money solved everything, no country would be in debt to any other entity. That's the one part of the equation that can never be explained away by the idiots who support monetary expansion as a solution to debt. your in good idiot company with KJT. Do you two pool money to pay for your tinfoil hats

              • Draco T Bastard

                Nobody said that printing solved everything. Have pointed out that the private banks printing money and then charging interest on it is certainly part of the problems we have today. After all, can't pay the interest on the loan of the amount of money in circulation doesn't increase by the amount of the loan first.

                You economists have been wrong for centuries and you just keep getting worse.

                Its why you couldn't project the coming of the GFC despite all the evidence that was available.

                Why, when someone other than an economist finally got around to looking, it was revealed that all of the economics textbooks were wrong about how money was created.

                As I say, you don't want your beliefs to be wrong and so you deny the evidence that's right before your eyes.

          • KJT 1.1.2.1.3

            The USA is doing it as we speak.

            And inflation is stubbornly refusing to occur.

      • KJT 1.1.3

        "Economically illiterate people". Such as the Governor of the Bank of England.

        How banks print/create money.

        "And Martin Wolf, who was a member of the Independent Commission on Banking, put it bluntly, saying in the Financial Times that: “the essence of the contemporary monetary system is the creation of money, out of nothing, by private banks’ often foolish lending” (Article). "

        The delusion that Governments are like households, is unfortunately an extremely persistent, and to the profit taking banks and their right wing political enablers, fortuitous, meme.

        • Climaction 1.1.3.1

          You've quoted a monetary policy conspiracy site. Martin wolf is a journalist, learned as such, but you yourself say no one should trust any mainstream media publication as they hold too much power. FT is fucking mainstream.

          What the governor of the bank of england said is

          “When banks extend loans to their customers, they create money by crediting their customers’ accounts.”

          Sir Mervyn King, Governor of the Bank of England 2003-2013 (Speech)

          this is fractional reserve banking. the basis of the joke borrow at 1, lend at 3, be on the golf course by 4.

          How else are new home buyers going to get on the housing ladder if banks are not allowed to lend a fraction of the deposits they take in. and then how do banks pay interest on savings deposits to savers.

          better to stay out of the argument if you don't understand the theory

          • KJT 1.1.3.1.1

            You lost your credibility as soon as you mentioned Venezuala.

            Their problems have nothing to do with "printing money".

            Of course the reality is it is entirely due to the USA, as the US, has itself claimed, "squeezing their economy until it screams".

            As economists grounded on reality like Ha Joon Chang show, much of modern academic economics has lost it's way.

    • Pat 1.2

      "A country that issues its own currency never needs to borrow money – ever."

      So long as it dosnt desire something it does not produce itself and the other party is willing to accept its currency as payment….a significant qualification.

      • Draco T Bastard 1.2.1

        Your sentence fails to make sense as it seems to contradict itself.

        If a country wants something that it doesn't produce itself it has two options:

        • Develop the capability to produce it itself or
        • Buy it from another country that does produce it

        In both of these cases it can only pay for it with its own resources. Barter, though, is inefficient (the economists did that bit right) and so the country prints some money and uses that to pay for either option. That money gives the receiver the option to buy anything that is available from that nation's economy (I'm assuming that the economy is already viable here and not that it needs to be created as well).

        Taxes aren't there to raise money for the government to spend but for numerous other reasons including:

        • Controlling inflation
        • Controlling pricing
        • Guiding behaviour
        • And many more
        • Pat 1.2.1.1

          keep telling yourself that

          • Draco T Bastard 1.2.1.1.1

            Ah, you've run out of argument. Not a surprise considering all the evidence available proves your beliefs about money wrong.

            http://bilbo.economicoutlook.net/blog/?p=45106

            • froggleblocks 1.2.1.1.1.1

              No, we haven't run out of arguments, we've given up shouting them at a brick wall (you).

              • Draco T Bastard

                I'm not the brick wall. The people, like you, who refuse to accept the facts are:

                Ultimately, Bretton Woods collapsed in 1971.

                It was under pressure in the 1960s with a series of “competitive devaluations” by the UK and other countries who were facing chronically high unemployment due to persistent trading problems.

                Ultimately, the system collapsed because Nixon’s prosecution of the Vietnam war forced him to suspend USD convertibility to allow him to net spend more.

                He announced that the US was abandoning the convertibility system on August 15, 1971, which paved the way for the introduction of fiat currencies.

                This was the final break in the links between a commodity that had intrinsic value and the nominal currencies.

                Fiat currency systems

                The move to fiat currencies fundamentally altered the way the monetary system operated.

                This system had two defining characteristics:

                (a) non-convertibility; and

                (b) flexible exchange rates.

                You need to recognise this major shift in history before you can understand why the economic policy ideas that prevailed in the previous monetary systems (based on convertibility) are no longer applicable.

                We have a fiat currency because the Gold Standard didn't work and a fiat currency is, pretty much by default, the government printing money (even if they have given that ability over to the private banks).

                In other words, the system that I describe is already in place. That's what the evidence shows us.

        • Draco T Bastard 1.2.1.2

          Addendum:

          Governments pass laws which could include that the goods and services produced by a nation must be paid for by its own currency.

          As I've said before, a market system needs to be heavily regulated and that most definitely includes the money.

          • Pat 1.2.1.2.1

            you can make all the national laws you like…you cant enforce them outside the borders and you cant dictate terms to traders….especially when you are a small player with bugger all to offer in return

            • KJT 1.2.1.2.1.1

              In fact, much of the demand for NZ currency is so foreigners can buy NZ assets. And/or lend it to us, and land buyers from offshore, at our normally stupidly out of sync interest rates.

              • Pat

                Indeed…and how much more can /do we wish to sell…from memory around half our assets are owned offshore currently….its not really a sustainable method of ensuring demand.

                • Draco T Bastard

                  We need to ban foreign ownership. That was always a bad idea.

                  But that would still leave our products as something to sell and thus ensure demand.

            • Draco T Bastard 1.2.1.2.1.2

              Don't need to enforce them outside the borders. Why would you?

              And we have quite a lot to offer. Or are you saying that the farmers are all wrong?

              • Pat

                we sell nothing critical to any of our markets…whereas much of what we import IS critical, trying running a health system without pharmaceuticals, and airline without aircraft and spares, a construction industry without machinery.

                Japan can live without our apples, germany wouldnt miss our venison, china is building its dairy herd (and lived without dairy for centuries), the UK will happily drink french wine and we cant give our wool away.

                • froggleblocks

                  Draco believes that NZ has the technical capacity, capital, labour and expertise to be fully self-sufficient, to the point that he thinks we can build our own microprocessors and other computer components, and all of the pharmaceuticals we need, etc. Just ignore that we don’t even have the raw resources required to do all the things he’s talking about.

                  It's pointless debating with him on these topics because he's so far away from reality that there's no common ground on which to have a sane discussion. Either you agree with his extreme (and unfounded) views or you're completely wrong, as far as he's concerned.

                  • Pat

                    Perhaps so, but a version of what he advocates has been gaining considerable interest of late and unfortunately the international trade implications are conveniently ignored or glossed over….its important that those implications are addressed.

                  • Draco T Bastard

                    You're an ignoramus.

                    We do have that technical capability and the necessary resources. I've linked to them several times already so I won't bother so again.

                    As I said, you don't want to believe the simple facts and so is the person who wont debate as you're too caught in your own beliefs.

                • Draco T Bastard

                  trying running a health system without pharmaceuticals

                  We do make pharmaceuticals here.

                  and airline without aircraft and spares

                  And those too.

                  a construction industry without machinery.

                  We make that too. Well, technically, buses but I'm sure we could make the machinery needed for construction.

                  Japan can live without our apples, germany wouldnt miss our venison, china is building its dairy herd (and lived without dairy for centuries), the UK will happily drink french wine and we cant give our wool away.

                  Yep. I agree with all that.

                  But, then, I've been saying for years that we need to get off this trade dependence that we've allowed ourselves to become because it made a few folk rich.

              • McFlock

                Actually, history suggests that local currency laws are only "enforcable" as long as people want to use the local currency, rather USD, Euro or RMB.

                The black economy thrives when governments think they can legislate their way out of having a means of exchange that's viewed as worthless.

                • Draco T Bastard

                  True but why don't people view our currency as worthless considering that its no different than what I'm suggesting?

                  • McFlock

                    Because the confidence in the money supply is maintained by the fact that the deficit printing is not unlimited, the ordinary inflationary effect is offset by the fact that the local and global economy has slowed due the current unpleasantness, and the fact that any decent minister of finances tries to run surpluses when conditions allow, despite your argument that taxes don't raise money for government expenses.

                    • Draco T Bastard

                      Where have I suggested that the government printing of money be unlimited?

                      The government's ability to spend money into the economy is limited by the economy's very real limits.

                      And then we have to look at the hyper-inflation in house prices fuelled by the private banks printing so much bloody money.

                      Taxes don't raise money for government expenses. That's not just my argument but what the research shows us – as my links above show. If anybody wanted to learn then they'd read/watch them but most seem too caught up in the false beliefs that they've been taught. Watch the Angry Birds video I posted earlier for about a minute from 7:37

                      From what I can make out, our economy is being purposefully destroyed so as to enrich the already rich.

                    • mikesh

                      And then we have to look at the hyper-inflation in house prices fuelled by the private banks printing so much bloody money.

                      The supply of money follows spending. If people wish to spend up large on housing, the banks will provide the money which will allow them to do so. The trouble is that money borrowed on the basis that it is to be repaid long term creates a large dollop of money in the present, unless the banks lend from a pre-existing source of money.

                    • McFlock

                      Dude, unless your angry birds video refutes a lesson the Stuarts learned in the 1600s, I'm not hugely interested in wasting my time.

                      For our currency to be "worthless" (or near enough) it's supply has to so far exceed people's demand for it that nobody wants it (or near enough), so the supply would be unlimited (or near enough).

                      That's the basic market value of anything that is "worthless". When silver was the means of exchange and Spain was looting Latin America to fund their navy, guess what happened to the value of silver and the price of ships. The means of exchange lost value and the king couldn't buy as many ships as he thought.

                      And as for the old rant about fractional reserve banking, it doesn't matter because the inflationary effects of that situation are taken into account when the Reserve Bank creates the seed money for the banks to borrow. So if it's like "ohmagerd the banks create 9 times more cash than they have", the RB can just go "ohmagerd, I'm only going to lend out 10% of what I would have done, problem solved!".

      • Tricledrown 1.2.2

        Pat once again someone percieves wrongly the effects of printed money everything that is produced for export has an price on the local or international market.

        So why are banks allowed to print 33% plus borrow printed money at negligible interest rates or even negative interest rates.

        In periods of low inflation it makes sense to print money so long as it goes into the productive economy.

        That's why Germany 1920's Zimbabwe more recently had hyper inflation their productive economies were destroyed ,so not enough production to meet the demand created by the printing of money.

        • Pat 1.2.2.1

          sadly the printed monies are not entering the 'productive economy' anywhere and the myth there is no inflation is exactly that, a myth. We can (temporarily) maintain our currency simply because the major trading economies are doing the same….sooner or later something is going to give and we are not in a position to go autarkic…we are not the US, EU or China, indeed we are closer to Zimbabwe than we care to admit.

          • KJT 1.2.2.1.1

            Whether money printing causes inflation or growth in economic activity, depends on what it is used for and the resources available to buy.

            Bank "money printing" is causing housing inflation. Chasing "safe" mortgage investment and our interest rates that have been kept artificially high, for decades.

            Puzzling, if you didn't know they are profiting from it, is the total disregard for bank "money printing" compared to the disingenuous protests if Government do it.

            Conversely. Government money printing can have the opposite effect. Government money printing for State houses in the 40's kept housing supply up and had a dampening effect on prices.

            Bank money printing is increasing the money supply without increasing the resource. Land. Government money printing was increasing a resource, housing along with increasing the money supply.

            Inflation and money printing in Germany and Zimbabwe was an effect, not a cause. The cause was shortages, just as it is in Venezuela due to US embargoes.

            We are nowhere near, Zimbabwe.

  2. Andre 2

    He really does need to stop digging.

    Why?

    Best thing to do is just let him carry on.

  3. Barfly 3

    It reflects ill upon us to harass the addicted ? /snigger – Jeepers I made hard work of that

  4. Peter 4

    Goldsmith is out of his depth. He determinedly and successfully seeks to show that. He will be either Finance Minister or opposition spokesperson on finance after the election.

    He is eminently far better suited to other work, like erecting or taking down election hoardings.

    • Incognito 4.1

      I recommend Dr Shane Reti for either position. I think Judith is cruel to let Paora suffer so much.

      • froggleblocks 4.1.1

        'Dr Shane' is already going to be health minister, and Collins has made clear several times he’s not going to be ‘a part time one’ like Hipkins.

        • Incognito 4.1.1.1

          Just merge Finance and Health into one Super Ministry like Steven Joyce did. It would be good for Health to have direct tabs on the money flows. I’m just trying to help Paora and Judith to generate a little momento because I’m starting to lose interest in this Election and I want my money’s worth.

    • Sacha 4.2

      Those vanity biographies won't write themselves. Brownlee might want to commission one.

    • KJT 4.3

      I doubt if holding a hammer is in his skill set.

  5. ken 5

    Or should he keep digging until the hole is big enough for his whole rotten party to fit into?….. and then we could fill it in and build a toilet on the site.

    • Wensleydale 5.1

      That's a spectacular idea, Ken. I wholeheartedly support it. Needs a plaque on the front: "The National Party. They were shit. They still are."

  6. Stuart Munro 6

    You're just trying to spoil Grant's fun. He's enjoying this.

  7. Dennis Frank 7

    With the Herald & Stuff totally devoid of anything on Goldie currently, looks like the establishment has deemed him irrelevant.

    If independent economists were appearing in the media after having evaluated his claim, he could have got a semblance of credibility. I couldn't find any. Perhaps he ought to try a song & dance routine instead? Abba's Money Money Money?

  8. froggleblocks 8

    You know what else Labour didn't include in their budget? Revenue from cannabis tax. Because like the other "holes" Goldsmith found, there's no certainty around cannabis tax at present.

  9. Jackel 9

    These are pretty basic mistakes Goldsmith is making such as not double checking if he's double counting and not checking if something is just pencilled in or is an actual spend etc. The tories are talking Goldsmith up as the next Roger Douglas, somehow I doubt it. National are just more Conservative kiwis, they're no better with money than anyone else.

  10. AUSTRINGER 10

    COMPULSORY UNIONISM, NEEDED TO BE QUESTIONED.

    [Please turn your Caps lock off, thanks – Incognito]

    • Incognito 10.1

      See my Moderation note @ 10:26 PM.

      • Adrian 10.1.1

        Whats going on with this "Austringer ", it reads like computer generated bullshit coded by someone with English as a 27th language. Is the page being played?. I suspected something similar in a Stuff article yesterday when the comments were over 90% anti-Lábour and "Jacinta ", and the majority with terrible syntax and spelling.

  11. Ffloyd 11

    The only thing National has Shovel Ready is Paul Goldsmith.

  12. georgecom 12

    seeing how Goldsmith has been struggling a bit, Seymour decided to grab a shovel and help his old mate out. Turn an $8 billion dollar fiscal hole into a $16 billion fiscal hole. Reverse rumpelstiltskins, spinning gold into straw, as well as spinning the story of cutting taxes, massively hiking spending but somehow also quickly reducing government debt as well.

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