The printing of an incorrect version of the Pre-Election Economic and Fiscal Update (PREFU) document is indicative of a Treasury that has gotten “sloppy” under Grant Robertson’s leadership, National’s finance spokesperson says.
“I had a call from the secretary of the Treasury this morning, saying that actually we can’t rely on this [printed] document that we were given yesterday,” Paul Goldsmith said.
“The document online was correct. The printed document was printed from the wrong version. There is a whole lot of differences from the printed document.”
Goldsmith said this was the second mistake from the Robertson-led Treasury after documents were accidentally published days before last year’s official Budget announcement.
“What I am saying is Treasury has got sloppy under Grant Robertson’s watch over the last few years.
“This is the second mistake they’ve made. They bungled the Budget a couple of times ago, and now we have a PREFU document that they printed the wrong one.
After being told that the printers had apologised for the mistake, National leader Judith Collins said “it would have to be someone else’s fault”.
Collins was also incredulous after hearing about Robertson’s comments that there were limitations to GDP as a measure.
“Oh, for goodness sake, he hasn’t really, has he?” she said.
“What a failure comment from a Minister of Finance.
“The Minister of Finance should understand that people will feel a lot happier when they have more money in their own pockets, they have a job, they have a way forward, they have a plan.
"I’m just staggered that a Minister of Finance who can’t even be assured that a PREFU document is quite right is actually going to say it’s all GDP’s fault.”
Labour reacts to GDP results
Labour leader Jacinda Ardern pointed to her own party's plans to invest in infrastructure, particularly the free trades training.
"Some of the significant blows that we've experienced around GDP do relate to the very thing that's also given us economic freedom and the opening up of our economy and that was our borders.
"Yes we have seen that we've lost international tourism, that will have an impact but at the same time we have had prolonged periods of economic activity, including construction all the way through level 3.
She minimised the effect of shutting down construction during alert level 4.
"Over this entire period, seven months or so worth we only really had a period of six weeks where that wasn't happening. Then of course the level three restrictions - people were back on site, back on the job.
"What we're seeing is that actually we're seeing good growth in apprentices, in trainees, in areas where we want to grow the number of people on the job because we are investing in infrastructure projects that require people with those skills."
She seemed positive about the comparisons between New Zealand and Australia.
"I'm happy with that comparison to be made because in a number of areas, we are faring very very well, and that's in spite of the fact that actually international tourism is worth twice as much to us as it is to Australia."
"It's actually about the rebound ... I think we're already seeing we were able to open up a lot more quickly, we're seeing activity picking up even with some of the more recent restrictions.
"Compared to Australia, we are in a much better position."
Finance spokesperson Robertson said he backed the Labour approach, using some of the findings from the Prefu fiscal update released yesterday.
"If you compare unemployment, our peak is going to be significantly lower than Australia's, we're going to come out of this year with our debt a little lower than Australia's and our rebound will be faster and quicker."
They both brought the focus back to health.
"Success for me is saving people's lives, supporting and saving people's businesses, and coming out the other side faster and quicker and with more activity out the other side and that is what we're seeing in New Zealand.