Steven Joyce failed economics | The Jackal

5 Sep 2017

Steven Joyce failed economics

The Minister of Finance, Steven Joyce, yesterday claimed that the Labour party had miscalculated their fiscal plan by a whopping eleven billion dollars.

If this claim were proven true, it could show Labour up as financially illiterate… but if it was false, it could prove to be another whopping own goal for the National party.

Desperate for something negative to try and dampen the Jacinda Ardern effect with, the National party ran a story claiming that Labour had miscalculated and would therefore blow out government debt.

Yesterday, the National party reported:

The Labour Party has an $11.7 billion hole in its fiscal plan that blows its debt out and breaks its own budget responsibility pledge, National’s Finance spokesperson Steven Joyce says.

Unfortunately for the National party and their propagandists, the claim that Labour hadn’t calculated their fiscal plan correctly was entirely wrong.

Keith Ng pointed this out on Twitter:


Clearly Steven Joyce had been found out, but incredibly he kept on digging.


Keith Ng also pointed out where National was making their main error.


It’s not even that ambiguous to an economist really, unless they’re intentionally ignoring the actual figures printed on the page for some reason. Thankfully for New Zealand most economists aren't looking to politically gain from their "mistakes".

Of course people should take what Joyce says with a pinch of salt, especially after economist Bernard Hickey obliterated him and Bill English over their false claims about productivity gains. Only a few days later, and Joyce is once again being critically analysed over yet another false statement.

Yesterday, Newsroom reported:

Analysis: There is no hole in Labour’s fiscal plan

Robertson said Joyce had incorrectly assumed that Labour had not accounted for the usual cost pressures of wage inflation and an ageing population in health and education. He said Labour had included these cost pressures in its 'Delivering a Modern Education System' and 'Delivering a Modern Health System' lines in its Fiscal Plan. This was 'above the line' spending and meant that the operating allowance 'below the line' did not need to include them. These lines added up to $8.55 billion of the $9.4 billion 'hole', Robertson said.

This was the central part of his appeal to the crowd and the ref. The ball was clearly held up over the line and never got anywhere near the ground, he said. The replays show Robertson is right about the operating balances being correctly calculated. Labour has cumulated the operating allowance figures and has included the usual inflation, just in a different place above the line.

Hickey is confirming what Keith Ng tweeted.

Joyce later told me he accepted what Robertson said about the inflation that was usually in the operating allowance line actually being 'above the line' in the 'Delivering Modern health and education system' lines.

Robertson then went on to say that Joyce was wrong about the family package being delayed. He said an early version of Labour's website mistakenly said the family package would start from April 1 next year, but Labour's fiscal plan itself had used July 1 as its start date and had clearly stated as much.

So all Joyce had really proven was that a date concerning Labour’s family package was incorrect and Labour updated it. He also confirmed that he hadn’t read or understood Labour’s fiscal plan properly.

Perhaps that error is due to the fact that the Minister of Finance failed economics.


It’s clear that Steven Joyce is failing to win the financial debate amongst New Zealand’s top economists... he's therefore likely to be failing to convince the general population that National are good stewards of New Zealand's economy as well.

Obviously the National party is desperate for something to attack Labour on, and have sadly resorted to once again making shit up. That’s not the sign of a functioning party during an election campaign… that’s the sign of political desperation.

It’s time for the politicians who think that fearmongering with lies will gain them support to be voted out… it’s time to change the government.