Labour’s Finance Minister has fronted over a $140 billion typo in the party’s fiscal policy, released today.
Labour’s economic plan, released earlier today showed the wrong unit used in the axis of a graph with debt projections for 2025-26.
The graph should have shown a percentage but used a dollar figure instead, indicating the plan showed about $56 billion of debt in the 2025-26 period when in reality it projects to be at least $200 billion.
A second release, sent out less than an hour later, of the plan showed a corrected graph.
Grant Robertson today fronted media today denying the error affected Labour's economic credibility.
“We have a typographical error in the axis of a graph. Our numbers add up,” he said.
“Our budget balances, National’s doesn’t,” Robertson said.
Judith Collins laughed out on the campaign trail when she heard about the blunder.
“Oh did they really?” she said.
Asked if she had read the pamphlet the Labour Party released over the plan, Collins said she hadn’t “but I have been told they have a pamphlet out, that it’s seven pages and half of it is pictures, so I’d call it the children’s pamphlet”.
“I’m sure it will take me about three minutes if it’s the children’s version,” she laughed.
Robertson said Labour's plan was “responsible, balanced and costed”.
“It makes sure enough money is set aside to handle cost pressures in essential services like health and education, while keeping to the debt reduction track already set out in the Pre-election Economic and Fiscal Update (PREFU),” Robertson said today.
“New Zealand, along with the rest of the world, is facing a 1-in-100 year shock due to the impacts of Covid-19. Labour’s plan balances the need to keep debt under control while making sure services like health and education are protected from cuts.
“Labour’s fiscal plan accounts for policies already announced during the election campaign, and sets aside funding for contingencies and policies that are yet to be announced.
As already announced, the extension to the Small Business Cashflow Loan Scheme, and promise to reintroduce the Training Incentive Allowance, will be funded from the COVID Fund because of these policies’ importance to the recovery from Covid-19. The plan leaves $12.1 billion protected in the Covid Fund,” Robertson said.