The varied opinions on the size of the hole in Labour’s budget remind me of the one-liner if you lay every economist in the world end to end you’d still not reach a conclusion.
However, while there is debate on the size of the hole, there is agreement that Labour’s fiscal plan is too tight to work.
Labour’s numbers are nothing like as compromised or wrong as Joyce claimed, but it requires some heroic assumptions about Labour’s ability to control all spending outside health and education to believe the numbers it’s published.
In other words, Joyce has claimed a worst case scenario. Robertson is claiming best case.
On that basis, it’s entirely reasonable to split the difference in the interests of trying to explain what’s at stake here, and to conclude that Labour’s forecasts will turn out to be anything between $4b and $6b short of its published fiscal plan, should it form a government after September 23.
If Labour turns out to be a spendthrift government, then Joyce’s alleged $11.7b miscalculation could prove to be too little.
Alternatively, if Labour turns out to be an unexpectedly tight-fisted government in a time of endless forecast Budget surpluses, its spending under-estimation might be far less than my punt of a $4b to $6b shortfall. . .
Looking at Labour’s record, its policies and the threat of more taxes, could anyone have any confidence that it would be tight-fisted?
It has fought tooth and nail against every single efficiency National has introduced over the last nine years. It can’t be trusted to ntroduce more efficiencies.
Even if the leopard changed its spots it is irresponsible to leave nothing in the kitty for inevitable expensive eventualities.
We’ve had natural and financial disasters in the last few years, only fools would bet on no more in the next few.