Rodney Hide has an excellent article in the NZ Herald about Dr Cullen’s attempts to cover up the level of surplus.
I am sure Dr Cullen knows that not a single person with any background in accounting or economics really believes him, but he is banking on the fact that over half the population have no idea about the difference between accrual and cash accounting.
In the House yesterday we were reminded that Labour tried this trick in the 1980s when they claimed the proceeds from asset sales as income to claim the budget was balanced. National took office and found in fact a $5 billion deficit was projected and later passed the Fiscal Responsibility Act which was designed to ensure that this sort of shonky accounting could never happen again.
15 years later we have Dr Cullen doing exactly the same trick, but this time to cover up a surplus, not a deficit.