Almost everyone is aware of The Press debate two weeks ago when Phil Goff couldn’t answer John Key’s question about how much revenue their proposed CGT will bring in the first year it starts, and what year that is. The result was a week of bad headlines for Goff, and serious damage to Labour’s economic credibility.
So after that fiasco, you would have thought that the first thing a semi-competent party leader would do is to make sure they can answer that question without hesitation. But amazingly Phil Goff couldn’t answer it for a second time!
On The Nation yesterday:
Duncan One of the crucial questions that John Key asked you that night was around capital gains, and he asked you in your first year what sort of money do you raise in the first year, and you didn’t know.
Phil Well the figures are out there, the figures are it’ll raise 26 billion in 16 years. And what I said, let me finish this, it starts slowly, it starts with you know 20 – 50 million or whatever, it gets up to half a billion very quickly, gets up to a billion in about eight years, and then it hits about three billion.
Duncan But do you know in the first year what it raises.
Phil Yeah I’ve got it right here…
Duncan No – do you know without looking? It’s 68 billion (DPF: meant to be million)
So even after a week of ridicule over not knowing his numbers, Phil Goff still couldn’t answer, without looking it up, that Labour’s CGT will only bring in $68m in its first year.
Now of course no party leader will know every number, but again after what happened last week, this is one number that should have been tattooed.
But the problems for Goff don’t stop there. In a fit of loyalty Trevor Mallard in an online chat said that as campaign manager he takes full responsibility for Goff not being prepared for The Press debate. But the two Davids have told quite a different story to The Nation:
Here’s what David Cunliffe said:
N: Should he not have known those numbers for a debate like that?
DC: Well I’m sure he does, and did, but you never know the bounce of the ball on the day and what comes to mind but that’s really a question you should address to him
N: So , did he know the numbers did you know the numbers then?
DC: Well some of those questions were numbers that had been previously released by our tax package… but it’s sometimes it depends about how the question is framed at the time but I’m not going to second guess – Phil’s done a great job on this campaign….
So Cunliffe is saying that Goff did know and that basically he just stuffed up.
N: When was the fiscal strategy ready? When did you know it?
DP: Well it had been prepared in advance of our savings forum. Phil had determined we would release the strategy two days after debate.
N: Had he seen the numbers
N: Yes he was of course aware of the numbers, he was aware of the numbers when we made decision to increase kiwisaver compulsory — our fiscal numbers were worked out at that stage. The exact date of release was the Friday, the press debate was the prior Wednesday, the two day gap between that I don’t know there’s a lot in that.
Parker basically confirms that the numbers didn’t change in those two days, that Goff could have answered the question on the Wednesday if he had been on top of it.