The Treasury forecasters say 170,000 new jobs – so who are we to quibble?

And you can throw 170,000 net new jobs into your Budget speech, Bill.

Dunno why the socialist sceptics about employment growth don’t take their silly questions to the Treasury.

The bright buggers there know where their numbers come from.

And it’s their numbers that we find in the Budget forecasts.

Labour MPs are wasting their breath, therefore, trying to find out what the Ministry for Economic Development is doing to generate those jobs.

The role of the Treasury was emphasised by none other than The Boss just the other day in answer to a parliamentary question.

The irksome Jacinda Ardern asked him if he stood by his statement “the Budget will create in the order of 170,000 jobs”?

He put her in her place real fast:

“I stand by my full statement, which was: ‘The Treasury forecasts are that the Budget will create in the order of 170,000 jobs’, and that is true.”

Then she wanted to know what specific initiatives did Budget 2011 contain that he predicts will create in the order of 170,000 jobs.


We Nats could go on for a long time in answer to that one.

The Boss (who can be real polite on these occasions) sufficed with saying:

“I thank the member for asking that question.

“It will create an environment where interest rates will certainly stay lower than they would have under a Labour Government. We know that, because Labour members cannot even work out what a research and development tax credit costs. They are out there telling the country it costs $800 million when it costs $1.55 billion.

“It creates an environment through education, where young New Zealanders will get a chance to be sure that we can be tracking their progress through national standards. It allocates $550 million to early childhood education over the next 4 years, and we are sure that that will make a significant difference.

“I could go on, but, given that it is question No. 12 and we want to get out of here before 5 o’clock, I will sit down at this point.”

He was dead right: Alf certainly was keen to get out of there before 5 o’clock.

Anyway, as we can see from the first question and answer, the Treasury is calling the shots here.

Alf accordingly is by no means surprised to learn that the Ministry of Economic Development has not done any analysis of where the 170,000 new jobs promised in the Budget will come from.

The hacks at NZPA were on hand when Acting Economic Developent Minister David Carter told the commerce select committee he was not aware that any analysis had been done.

“Bear in mind the Government hasn’t said it will create the 170,000 new jobs – the Budget said there will be 170,000 jobs,” he said.

Good answer, David.

Asked by committee chairwoman Lianne Dalziel which sectors the jobs would come from, he said he did not know and had not done any work in that area.

“But I think you can see where potentially the jobs will be created,” he said.

“We’ve got a booming primary sector which is going to be looking for more jobs, you’ve got the potential then around food processing to lead to significant more jobs.”

Oh, and he said the number of smart companies doing well should not be underestimated.

The Ministry of Economic Development and New Zealand Trade and Enterprise needed to identify those companies and work with them, Mr Carter said.

Finally, let the record show Bill English, our splendid Minister of Finance, didn’t say 170,000 new jobs would be created.

He did say in his Budget speech:

“Today I introduce a Budget that will further strengthen the long-term performance of the economy.

“It supports economic forecasts that show growth returning to its highest in over five years and 170,000 net new jobs being created by 2015.”

See. It supports economic forecasts, and forecasts – especially of the economic sort – are about as rock-solid as a plate of Mrs Grumble’s porridge.

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