Robertson: Families package not changed by Treasury mistake

Author
Newstalk ZB Staff,
Section
Audio,
Publish Date
Monday, 22 January 2018, 8:09PM
Grant Robertson expressed his disappointment with Treasury's mistake. (Photo / Getty)

The damage caused by Treasury over-estimating the impact of Labour's flagship families package is being downplayed.

The package was billed as lifting 88,000 children out of poverty.

But Treasury got the maths wrong thanks to a coding error, and told Finance Minister Grant Robertson last week the benefits of the package were overstated.

Robertson told Larry Williams while he's angry about the error, it doesn't derail the policy.

"This doesn't change at all the amount of money that families are going to be getting, the fact that 380 odd thousand families will be benefiting from this package. It doesn't change the fiscal cost of the package."

Earlier in the day, Robertson told a press conference that he could not repeat what he had told Treasury Secretary Gabriel Malkhouf when he was informed of the mistake.

"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," he said.
"I made clear that, for us, this was an important projection and important for him to get it right."

He is also brushing off suggestions that low business confidence could hamper the economy.

A report from the New Zealand Institute of Economic Research found that confidence had dropped since the election of the Labour led government.

Robertson admits the government is still bedding in, but said consumer and employee confidence is still strong.

"Business was confident in its own activity. It's now a matter of us sitting down, working with business making sure they understand the direction Government is going. I think you will see those confidence numbers increase pretty rapidly over the next year."

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