Gordon Campbell | Parliament TV | Parliament Today | News Video | Crime | Employers | Housing | Immigration | Legal | Local Govt. | Maori | Welfare | Unions | Youth | Search

 

Robertson's rocket for Treasury over child poverty error

Robertson's rocket for Treasury over child poverty modelling error

By Pattrick Smellie

Jan. 22 (BusinessDesk) - Finance Minister Grant Robertson had some choice - but unrepeatable - words for the Treasury Secretary, Gabriel Makhlouf, when it emerged the government's lead economic agency had over-estimated the impact of Labour's flagship families package replacing the previous government's tax cuts and targeting low-income families.

Legislated before Christmas, the package was billed as lifting 88,000 children out of poverty, striking an early blow for one of the new administration's primary targets - reducing child poverty.

However, the Treasury announced on Jan. 17 it had advised Robertson of a coding error that meant the benefits of the package were overstated, thanks to an error in a single line of code in a mathematical model, but that it had not yet worked out what the real number should be. Its estimate that the previous government's mix of tax cuts and low income household measures would have improved the lot of more than 50,000 children was also wrong because of the same mistake.

Asked what he said to Makhlouf when told of the error, Roberston told a press conference following a Labour caucus retreat in the Wairarapa he did "not want to say that in the company we are in now".

"I was very, very disappointed. I expressed that disappointment to the Treasury Secretary, and he undertook to redo the analysis as quickly as he could. I made clear that, for us, this was an important projection and important for him to get it right."

The error exposed the government to questions about possible fiscal pressure in the 2018 Budget because of the higher hurdle required to reduce child poverty, but Ardern said the figure of 88,000 children moving out of poverty was "never a target" and only ever a projection provided by the Treasury.

"This package will still reach more than 380,000 families. What we don't have a clear picture of is how many of those have children in poverty," she said. "But the package is still a solid package. It will not change.

"All we will know is how much further we have to go to hit some of the ambitious targets we have for child poverty. That was always the case."

Ardern is expected to release concrete targets for reducing child poverty in coming days, along with legislation intended to make the government accountable for measurable reductions and to allow public input on the government's level of ambition.

While the government would maintain the previous administration's innovation to have a set of high level Better Public Service targets, it would more explicitly target such issues as cold, damp homes and levels of absolute child poverty than the National-led government, which used proxy measures such as reductions in the incidence of rheumatic fever to signal improvements in both areas.

(BusinessDesk)

© Scoop Media

 
 
 
Parliament Headlines | Politics Headlines | Regional Headlines

KiwiBailed: KiwiBuild Head Officially Resigns

The head of Kiwibuild, Stephen Barclay has officially resigned from the role. In a statement issued on his behalf, it was announced that he would step down from today [Friday].

Housing Minister Phil Twyford's office said he would not be commenting on Mr Barclay's resignation as it was an employment matter. Last month, Mr Twyford confirmed that Mr Barclay had not been at work for a number of weeks. More>>

 

Welfare Stats: Rise In Hardship Numbers Shows Income Inadequacy

The latest Ministry of Social Development quarterly report show that a record number of people have received hardship assistance from work and income, with an additional 40,000 hardship payments made between September and December 2018, compared to the previous quarter of the same year... More>>

ALSO:

DHBs "Prepared": Junior Doctors Strike Again

The needs of acute patients will be met during tomorrow's junior doctor strike, a DHB spokesperson says... Almost 3000 junior doctors are expected to walk off the job, which will affect all DHBs apart from West Coast District Health Board. More>>

ALSO:

Gordon Campbell: On MBIE’s Social Media Scam

Given the ambit of MBIE’s work, almost any form of social activity could qualify as being part of MBIE’s brief, so the privacy threats posed by this training programme are extensive. The current oversight safeguards seem threadbare to non-existent. More>>

ALSO:

JusTrade: New Campaign For A 21th Century Trade Agenda

‘Critique is no longer enough. If anything is to really change, we need to step away from the existing framework and take a first-principles approach to rethinking what will work for the 21st century.’ More>>

Earlier:

Gordon Campbell: Thompson + Clark Are The Tip Of The Iceberg

How can we tell where and how any lines are being drawn? Oversight is not exactly robust. If it were, Thompson + Clark would have been out of contention for state security work ten years ago. More>>

Trainers: Taratahi Institute of Agriculture In Interim Liquidation

Taratahi employ 250 staff and this year has provided education to over 2500 students. Taratahi owns and manages 8 farms throughout the country. More>>

ALSO:

IPCA Report: Complaints About Deputy Commissioner Wallace Haumaha

The Authority has found that DC Haumaha acted improperly by approaching staff and others to provide information to support him to refute the allegations about his 2016 conduct, or solicited other staff to do so on his behalf... More>>

ALSO:

 
 
 
 
 

LATEST HEADLINES

  • PARLIAMENT
  • POLITICS
  • REGIONAL
 
 

InfoPages News Channels