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Steven Joyce refuses to apologise for attack on Labour's fiscal plan, despite calls their numbers add up

Finance Minister Steven Joyce is not backing down or apologising for his claims about Labour's budget, despite a number of leading economists disputing his attack. 

Mr English says those who think National's statements around Labour's fiscal policy are wrong are simply not seeing the problem. Source: 1 NEWS

The Labour leader came out swinging, saying Mr Joyce should "correct the record". Source: 1 NEWS

His comments come after Labour leader Jacinda Ardern called for him to say sorry to voters over his "misleading" attack on their fiscal policy. 

Labour's fiscal policy was independently reviewed by Wellington firm Business and Economic Research Ltd, Jacinda Ardern said yesterday.

Ms Ardern also said the Labour Party has had Brian Fallow, Bernard Hickey, Vernon Small and the independent economist BERL who verified the Party's fiscal plan, all come out and reject National's accusation of a budget hole.

Mr Hicky's analysis for Newsroom found "no hole" in Labour's budget, and came to the conclusion: "Labour is mostly right and National is mostly wrong, although there is fault on both sides". 

BERL has categorically rejected that there is anything wrong with the fiscal plan and Director Dr Ganesh Nana has told RNZ today Mr Joyce's statements are incorrect.

"It's wrong - the costings have been allocated to the lines that they are being spent on," Dr Nana said.

"The current administration uses what's called an operating allowance - call it a bucket - to put in a whole lot of dollars, and that's the dollars that they haven't allocated.

"What the Labour Party has decided to do with its plan is take the dollars out of that bucket and actually put it in to the line items that they want to allocate that spending to - predominantly education and health - so that's where those numbers are."

But Mr Joyce says there is still a hole of $11.7 billion, and economists saying otherwise are wrong.

He told media he's had a "go around with numbers with Labour" but Labour Finance spokesman Grant Robertson's numbers "simply don't work".

The Labour leader came out swinging, saying Mr Joyce should "correct the record". Source: 1 NEWS

"They are saying to New Zealand they have a zero budget plan outside of education and health."


It comes after calls Labour’s number do add up, despite Mr Joyce saying there was a $11.7 billion hole. Source: 1 NEWS