This explains a lot with Labour’s sums

3 News reported:

says New Zealanders can have confidence it’s getting its numbers right despite dumping a staff member from their position in the leader’s office.

Radio Live revealed a long-standing Treasury secondment has been terminated after a dispute over who should pay their salary.

This now leaves Labour with no independent number-cruncher, but leader David Cunliffe says his office has a strong policy team.

“We have very high grade, quantitative analysis and economic modelling skills in our office,” says Mr Cunliffe. “The team is led by the Honourable David Parker, who has my absolute confidence.”

Getting rid of the Treasury secondee is possibly the dumbest thing you can do in Opposition if you want to have credibly costed policies.

It has been a long-standing practice that Treasury will allow one of its staff members to be seconded to the Opposition Leader’s office, just as departmental staff are often seconded to ministerial offices.

The secondee, while no longer working in Treasury, has access to resources such as the Treasury model for forecasting the cost of policies.

I spent four years working in the Opposition Leader’s office and our Treasury secondees were Godsends. They had massive institutional knowledge, and added huge credibility to the development of policies and costings.

I can’t work out any reason the Opposition would turn down the traditional offer of a secondee, unless they simply don’t want their policies credibly costed.

There is no dispute over who pays the salary. It is always the Leader’s Office. When someone is seconded, you always pick up their salary. That is a red herring I believe.

So whenever Labour releases a policy, and claims the cost will be x dollars – remember that is is not a cost estimated by an independent professional. This is the cost that Labour has dreamt up.

I think I can understand why Labour don’t want their policies credibly costed. Look at this policy on the hoof by Labour today:

So Labour is pledging to insulate every single rental property in NZ. I’m outraged. How is it fair they won’t insulate my place also, just because I live in it. What if I transfer it to a trust and rent it to myself – will Labour then come and insulate it.

Also while they are here insulting my house, could they clean my windows also.

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