National's Steven Joyce is not backing down from his claim that Labour's fiscal plan had $11.7 billion in unaccounted spending, blaming Labour for "changing their story".
Mr Joyce on Monday claimed the perceived shortfall, but multiple experts in economics have since rebutted his claims, saying Labour's numbers are solid and are simply accounted differently than the Government currently does.
Speaking this morning to TVNZ1's Breakfast, Mr Joyce stayed firm that his claims were not wrong, insisting that Labour's plan did have the hole "as they presented it" and saying they had "changed their story".
"Now they've changed their story, they're saying 'oh no, we didn't mean that, we actually didn't mean to call them allowances, they weren't allowances, we meant to call them something else, and by the way we'd have zero budgets for the next two years' - which nobody believes," Mr Joyce said.
"What they are proposing to do would be very tight and impossible for a National government, let alone for a Labour government who wants to spend a lot more."
Mr Joyce pointed to a piece by business journalist Pattrick Smellie in The Dominion Post as an example of someone who agreed with him, although Mr Smellie's piece is in fact a mixed bag.
"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.," Mr Smellie wrote.
"Joyce has claimed a worst case scenario ... Robertson is claiming best case."
Mr Joyce said Mr Smellie's piece "said that it's several billion dollars - he's not prepared to go all the way to my number yet".
However, Mr Smellie's piece in fact said both he and Grant Robertson were wrong, saying "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 $4 billion and $6 billion short of its published fiscal plan".
Mr Joyce went on to accuse several of New Zealand's premier economists with decades of combined experience of being either politically biased or having their numbers "around the wrong way" and said "everybody has a view".
"I had people in my office and others look at it indepth, we're confident of the numbers as presented, they are now changing their story," Mr Joyce said.