Still waiting for Phil to show us the money

Labour and Phil Goff was challenged to show us the money. At the defining moment of the debate and as it turns out the election Phil Goff muffed it.

They said they would release the figures Friday, then they muffed the figures, botched the infographic and now no one believes them.

National, yesterday, has looked at Labour’s figures and they are still $15 billion short.

The main problems with the figures are as follows:

  1. Labour continues to ignore the money it would have to borrow to make Super Fund contributions.  David Cunliffe admitted yesterday that they would have to borrow this money, yet Labour still pretends it isn’t debt.  They also try and count returns from the fund as offsetting debt which of course it doesn’t. Undoing this accounting fudge adds $6.8 billion in debt to Labour’s borrowing numbers over four years.
  2. Labour continues to overstate its net tax revenues over the next four years by around $2 billion.  This includes $620 million for unspecified gains for “tax avoidance measures” and a $278 million error in the costing for its proposed top tax rate.
  3. Labour fudges and understates expenditure by at least $1.3 billion over the next four years, by putting less money in its fiscal spreadsheets for individual policies than it has already identified separately, including in some very recently released policy documents.  Labour also says it will save an unspecified $400 million on National’s spending, despite having opposed every one of National’s spending restraint decisions over the last three years.
  4. Labour has incorrectly tried to amend the PREFU treatment of SOE dividends.  Treasury has correctly kept the full dividends in the PREFU, and clearly identified the capital funding to be provided from the mixed ownership model as “Balance Sheet Funding of New Capital Spending”.  This would be funded from the net proceeds of the mixed ownership model share floats.   Labour has tried to count $868 million of dividends over the next four years as new revenue, counting what is already incorporated in PREFU baselines, and compounding the problem by using incorrect figures.  That all has to be backed out of their numbers.
  5. Labour continues to pretend it can pay for half of the Auckland CBD rail loop within the Auckland Mayor’s seven year timeframe without borrowing money over the next four years.  That’s another $530 million.
  6. On top of all that, Labour’s incorrect figures above mean they have undercounted an additional $414 million in interest costs over the next four years.

If you add those numbers to the extra $3.6 billion Phil Goff and Labour already accept they would borrow more than National, then the total of extra borrowing is $15.6 billion.

Phil Goff and Labour still need to Show us the Money.

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