Nation deeply divided over whether to put expected operating spending in categorised expenses row or operation allowances row

If you thought the election couldn’t get any more exciting, it didn’t.

If you thought the election couldn’t get any more exciting, it didn’t.

The most exciting New Zealand election of the modern era may have become even more explosive today, after Finance Minister Steven Joyce attacked Labour for putting forecast health and education operating spending for 2018/19 and 2019/20 in their respective expense figures, while including only unannounced new initiatives under the category “operating allowances.”

The truly stunning accusations have lit a fire underneath an already polarising race, and raised the eyebrows of every voter over 60 with more than ten years experience as a chartered accountant.

Steven Joyce says the accounting practice not typically used by Treasury but apparently approved by Business and Economic Research Limited suggests either a $12 billion shortfall, or, if not, a significant underfunding of operational allowance for new miscellaneous Government initiatives over a three year period spanning financial years 2017/18, 2018/19, 2019/20, and even 2020/21.

Joyce says you “simply cannot spend only [that type of money] on [stuff].”

“As you know, one of our long-standing criticisms of the opposition is that they don’t spend enough money,” he added.

But Labour’s finance spokesperson and man responsible for writing the party’s budget, Grant Robertson, has hit back, saying National have failed, in their own costings, to account for population growth, inflation, and other factors when forecasting future operating expenditure, and that the inclusion of already announced spending in expenditure categories as opposed to operational allowance reflected Labour’s fiscal prudence and foresight on budgetary matters.

Voters all around the country are reacting strongly to today’s exchange.

“What?” asked Dylan Holland, of Papatoetoe. “I’m sorry, what?”

Economists we spoke to this evening told us “[numbers]” and “[things].”

The verdict? Fiscal in nature.