An embarrassing slip occurred by Steven Joyce in the House today.
When I asked in a supplementary to his own patsy question by how many billion the current account defict was forecast to deteriorate over the next four years, he said “less than 5″ and said he based the estimate on the PREFU (Treasury’s pre-election fiscal update).
The actual number in the PREFU is down to $17.6 billion. Nowhere close to sub $5 bn. He then blamed the earthquake for the deterioration. In fact, the PREFU forecasts estimate only a quarter of the deterioration as eathquake related.
Mr Joyce has not corrected the errors – which is required under standing orders at the earliest opportuity.
His problem is that reducing the current account deficit is one of the most basic goals of economic development policy. Not knowingthe headline numbers is embarrasssing. Just making it up is downright risky.
This is the same minister busily negotiating “deals” with corporates, casinos and media moguls. I wonder how many Kiwis would trust his financial nous if he keeps fluffing the numbers?
Bill English is smiling inside.