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Labour fact check: Key’s twists and turns in speech


Spokesperson for Finance

Labour fact check: Key’s twists and turns in speech

John Key has yet again twisted the figures and selectively chosen his statistics, a fact check by Labour shows, says Labour’s Finance spokesperson David Parker.

“John Key has a long history of getting away with misstatements that range from an honest mistake to worse. Today Labour is calling him out with a list of the misrepresentations in his speech.

“Labour is determined to hold John Key and his spin doctors to account ahead of election year,” says David Parker.

Key: Over the past year, for example, 66,000 more people have got a job.

Over the past two years, unemployment has fallen by only 4000 (from 151 thousand to 147 thousand)

Key: Average weekly wages have gone up 2.8 per cent, compared to inflation of only 1.6 per cent.

Under the Labour Cost Index – the measure of wage rates, Salary and ordinary time wage rates increased by 1.6% - an zero increase in real terms.

Key: And the economy as a whole has grown 3.1 per cent – one of the faster growth rates in the developed world.

The annual growth rate is 2.7 per cent - Key is misleading the public by using the quarter-on-quarter annual growth rate. Annual year-on-year growth is a much more robust measure of growth as it covers a broader time period (a year, rather than three months). This is the measure that Treasury uses in its forecasts.

Key: We have had an on-going commitment to discipline around government spending and that will continue this year, next year and for as long as we lead the Government.

National has increased debt by $60 billion in office, the worst of any in government (in nominal terms) and the worst since Muldoon as a percentage of GDP.

Key: One way to illustrate our approach is this – in the last five years of the previous Labour government, new operating spending each budget averaged $2.7 billion a year.

Every year Labour posted large surpluses and paid down debt. National has yet to do this once, after more than five years in office.

Key: In the last five years of Labour, government spending in total went up 50 per cent.

In the last five years of Labour we introduced Working for Families, interest free Student loans and Kiwi Saver – all paid for out of growth. None of which National has repealed .

Total Government expenses


$55.2b to $75.8b from Budget 2003 to Budget 2008: Increase of $20.6b (37 per cent)


$75.8b to $91.0b from Budget 2008 to Budget 2013: Increase of $15.2b (20 per cent)

Total Government Revenue


$57.0b to $81.5b from Budget 2003 to Budget 2008: Increase of $24.5b (43 per cent)


$81.5b to $86.7b from Budget 2008 to Budget 2013: Increase of $5.2b (6 per cent)

Net government debt (excluding Super Fund):


$17.6b to $10.3b from Budget 2003 to Budget 2008 (-43 per cent)


$10.3b to $55.8b from Budget 2008 to Budget 2013 (+442 per cent)

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