Floundering in Parliament yesterday, John Key made some wild claims.
Hon Phil Goff: If the gap with Australia is closing, as he and his fellow Ministers have claimed, how does he explain the fact that in June the level of New Zealanders leaving for Australia was up 50 percent on the same period last year?
Rt Hon JOHN KEY: There are a couple of things. To put the member’s mind at rest, I say that the gap with Australia is definitely closing, so it is not a matter of ‘if’. If he wants to pop up for a coffee I will take him through the numbers, and I can take him through a few others.
Go for it, Phil. Grab David Cunliffe, your economics people, and some journos and go up there.
I for one would be fascinated to see what numbers Key is talking about. I’ve searched the official statistics high and low and seen nothing to show that the gap with Australia is closing. In fact, it is widening on every measure – GDP, GDP per capita, unemployment (well, that gap closed, we used to have lower unemployment, now we have higher), wages. Hell, we’re still poorer than we were four years ago and real wages are projected to fall in the next two years.
Maybe that’s why Key didn’t mention any specific measure. And maybe that’s why our illustrious Minister for Economic Development refuses to name any benchmarks against which we can measure National’s progress towards catching Australia by 2025.
Key also said “the economy has actually grown more in the last 6 months than it did in the entire last 4 years.”
In fact, the economy grew 1.3% in the last six months compared to the previous six months while the economy grew 2.5% from the September 2005 year to the September 2009 year, and that was including the worst recession in a generation.
At the same time, perhaps Bill English could pop in and explain his source when he clams that after tax wages grew only 3% under Labour. He repeated that claim yesterday but has supplied none of the data. And I’ve shown that wages per working age person actually grew 16% above inflation under Labour.
Do serial porky tellers like Key and Double Dipton think they can just make this stuff up and get away with it?
At the least, I would love to see Key and English challenged to name their sources and give the numbers to back up their claims. That’s what supplementaries are for.