More mistakes in National’s economic plan could be inconsequential

There are claimed to be more problems with Nationals numbers in their economic plan.

Last week: National Party admits $4 billion hole in their promised spending

The National Party officially launched its election campaign today, but it was hindered by a $4 billion hole in its flagship economic policy.

The party’s finance spokesperson Paul Goldsmith was forced to concede his numbers did not add up after Labour revealed the significant gap in its costings.

“This is an irritating mistake. We missed it, and our external checker missed it as well, and that’s a mistake that we made,” he says.

Now the party will instead borrow the missing billions, which Goldsmith argues is still far less than what Labour is borrowing.

National Party leader Judith Collins told media after the launch it was inconsequential in the scheme of things.

Two days ago National’s fiscal hole appears to double to $8 billion as Paul Goldsmith denies double count mistake

The hole in National’s alternative budget may have blown out by another $3.9b after the party appears to have double-counted part of its transport programme.

The error has come about after National twice counted $3.9 billion left over from the New Zealand Upgrade package, an infrastructure plan announced by the Government in late January.

In fact, the left over money was put into Treasury’s multi-year capital allowance back in May. In National’s costings, the party had counted the two sums of money separately, when, in fact, the NZ Upgrade programme money now only exists in the capital allowances.

Today the story continues – National says fiscal plan stacks up after Labour insists there’s another mistake

National’s finance spokesperson Paul Goldsmith remains defiant the party’s economic plan stacks up – but has had to make another correction after using out of date figures.

Goldsmith says National’s “estimate is that would lead to about half of the people who are getting in the first year getting it in the second year”. The party is looking at a threshold of about $90,000 for an annual household income, he says, but that would be “clarified at the appropriate time”.

A second $88 million error, by using Budget figures for the 10-year ‘Existing Capital Allowance’ instead of the pre-election update, has now been corrected in National’s online plan.

Labour says there is a second $4bn error as National has double counted transport funding.

“Paul Goldsmith is floundering”, Labour’s Grant Robertson says.

“He’s trying to change his plan quietly in the background so he doesn’t have to own up to his leader for another mistake.”

Labour says National has allocated $3.9bn of transport funding under the NZ Upgrade Programme, but that money no longer exists in that programme as it was transferred by the government at the start of this year into a more general capital fund.

It says National has also counted and allocated that money in its general capital fund – so has double counted.

Goldsmith says he doesn’t “accept that at all”.

Whether Goldsmith is right or not this time is of little importance compared to the ongoing exposure of National’s less than competence economic plan.

Collins is probably right. In the scheme of things it is likely to be inconsequential as National look almost certain to not get a chance to implement their economic plan, especially if mistakes keep being highlighted.

National’s bad year continues. They have done a bad job of rebuilding the party after losing power in 2017. Covid hasn’t helped, but multiple leadership changes, disunity, an exodus of experience and an inability to put together a competent economic plan makes most of their problems self inflicted.

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10 Comments

  1. John J Harrison

     /  25th September 2020

    Pete, you are correct, this is of little importance – if Robertson’s claims are correct.
    What is important is the track record of this useless government as opposed to their targets and promises.
    KiwiBuild guaranteeing 100,000 homes, one billion trees planted, elimination of child poverty etc, etc.
    All abject failures which has cost us all dearly.
    The only “ winners “ have been the civil service which has increased by 20% in 3 years.

    Reply
    • Blazer

       /  25th September 2020

      It is of major importance when you assess Nationals economic credentials.

      It exposes the common myth that National are a ‘safe pair of hands’ and financially competent.
      These themes quite well embedded by PR but have never had any factual basis.

      Judith and Gerry are Jurassic creatures trying to lead NZ into a Great Leap backwards.
      They are bereft of progressive policy and are now resorting to tired slogans- ‘Labour hates farmers’…war on crime,and other meaningless drivel.
      Remarkably even the member from Nelson ,who belongs in the Smithsonian, has discovered an empathy for a local migrant as the election…nears.

      Reply
      • John J Harrison

         /  25th September 2020

        Blazer, let’s compare economic credentials then.
        When Labour came into power National bequeathed them a $6 Billion surplus
        Before Covid Ardern , through her profligate spending had us in deficit by over $1 Billion.
        Despite this record wastage of our hard earned money Ardern managed to traduce our GDP by 1.6% in the first quarter.
        Only 5 days of that quarter had the country in level 4 – so you cannot blame Covid for the first drop in GDP in decades.
        Ardern and Robertson are utterly useless when it comes to economic management .
        Blazer, give a single instance where Labour has been voted out and left a surplus for the in – coming government.

        Reply
        • Blazer

           /  25th September 2020

          The record shows that the Key Govt acknowledged the prudent management of Michael Cullen.
          The record shows that the Key Govt ran straightline deficits year on year.

          The record shows the Key Govt borrowed more in its tenure than the cumulative total of ALL Govts preceding it.

          The record shows that with the Cullen Fund as security NZ is regarded as a safe bet.

          The record shows that Muldoons National Govt BANKRUPTED our country!

          Reply
        • Duker

           /  25th September 2020

          “When Labour came into power National bequeathed them a $6 Billion surplus

          There is no cash surplus too bequeath they borrowed $6 bill plus THAT YEAR
          as well to provide the mountain of debt at almost $90 bill that was left behind

          But Robertson did even better In his first two years as Finance Minister, Grant Robertson posted two huge surpluses, significantly ahead of Treasury’s expectations. Jan 2020
          https://www.nzherald.co.nz/business/news/article.cfm?c_id=3&objectid=12301207

          Labour left a $40 bill asset the Cullen fund…thats real money AND the fund is NZs biggest taxpayer too boot.

          Reply
        • Duker

           /  25th September 2020

          “Before Covid Ardern , through her profligate spending had us in deficit by over $1 Billion.”
          Thats a LIE
          ” In his first two years as Finance Minister, Grant Robertson posted two huge surpluses, significantly ahead of Treasury’s expectations. Jan 2020

          Reply
  2. Duker

     /  25th September 2020

    The real issues arent financial so much as their credibility is shredded as ‘financial mangers’.
    Their campaign was built around not revealing any economic policy till the pre election financial update came in (prefu) and yet when they did have that in their hand it seems like they have ignored it.
    Goldsmith is revealing himself to be just like Joyce, very sloppy on numbers ( which would be prepared by others) and opting to be a PR manager rather than a financial one.
    Notice the difference in tone – if the Greens make a ‘mistake’ its chewed over for weeks especially by National , but now the $8 bill mistakes of Goldsmith should have a bigger hit on the cred of the ‘mistakee’
    As Roberston has pointed out the ‘big picture’ of Nationals financial plan for the next decade is completely contradictory- less revenue from tax cuts ( and no they wont end after 16 months), more spending for every little itch around the country and bigger reduction in debt.

    [deleted]

    Reply
    • Duker

       /  25th September 2020

      So saying squirrels is now not allowed ?
      Any way Ive picked part his diversion from Goldsmiths financial jiggery pokery ( Collins said it was double checked so someone is not being truthfull) and exposed Harrisons diversionary claims as falsehoods

      Reply
  3. Duker

     /  25th September 2020

    Goldsmith has become more outrageous in his flip flops over his $8 bill budget hole in RNZ Fiance debate
    https://www.stuff.co.nz/national/politics/300116612/election-2020-fiscal-hole-flipflop-health-housing-and-debt-in-noholds-barred-finance-debate

    “That money originally came from a fund called the NZ Upgrade Programme, but when Stuff alerted National that the fund no longer existed, Goldsmith said he would find the extra money by reallocating spending from another Government fund, the National Land Transport Fund.”
    It had raided the Covid Contingency Fund for its 16 month tax cuts (LOL)

    “But Stuff later had it clarified that the $3.9b would still be coming from the NLTF, meaning that National would look to reallocate roughly $10b of the $48b NLTF over the next decade.”

    NLTP is the fund for roading paid for petrol taxes, which national has already ‘over promised’ like work on a new harbour tunnel ( promised for second time in 7 years) and 4 lane ‘every where’ ( they will be stiffed again as those projects were over promised like the Rotorua bypass when i lived there)

    More to the money available over the next 2 years
    “He said the average increase in health spending over the last five budget has been $767m.”
    Yet Goldsmith has $1 bill per year for the whole government operational spending including wage increases, police , education , prisons.
    In reality Goldsmith and Collins are promising 3 years of austerity that will like 2008-12 choke off any recovery

    Reply
  4. Duker

     /  25th September 2020

    Goldsmith is pretty sure hes got his budget details sorted

    Reply

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