By Alex Tarrant
It's almost like waiting for Godot.
After spending much time telling us in the run-up to the election campaign they would provide a fully costed policy manifesto, Labour has been put on the back-foot by National over spending promises and how much extra borrowing they will need to take on over the next four-five years.
National Party campaign manager Stephen Joyce has been sending out release after release detailing how much more the Nats believe Labour will have to borrow over the next four years due to its election policies - not just economic, but education, health and law & order policies too.
The latest figures from Joyce, on the owe our future website, have that sitting at NZ$17.2 billion.
Last night during The Press election debate in Christchurch, Prime Minister John Key said that figure was about NZ$14 billion. But hey, what's NZ$3.2 billion between friends?
"Show me the money," Key demanded of Goff to applause from the Christchurch audience last night. The debate was given to Key due to his 'fiscal attack' on Labour, after a close-run affair in the TVNZ debate on Sunday.
You'd think Labour would have seen this coming, and would be able to produce the figures when needed to refute Joyce's claims. Well, they knew it was coming, because they've said they will present a fully costed election manifesto.
But they're still working on the numbers. I phoned Labour finance spokesman David Cunliffe yesterday and asked if he was doing the numbers, hastily adding I was asking about the fiscal numbers, not the caucus ones.
Labour's finance team is hoping to release the costings from all its policies in the next few days. You'd think they could have started from day one, and every time they released a new policy, say what this would do to alter the fiscal requirements.
Much better than leaving Stephen Joyce to do it.
'Here it is...sort of'
UPDATE: We'll it seems the goading has worked somewhat.
Out on the campaign trail in Nelson today, Goff tried to make to refute Joyce's claims, the NZHerald online reports:
"Over the next three years the Government has projected it will be borrowing about NZ$13 billion. Under our projections we'd probably be borrowing about $15.6 billion. But we'd keep our assets," Goff said.
"We'll be showing New Zealand the money tomorrow. John Key needs to show New Zealand the jobs at the same time," he said.
(Updates with links back to The Press debate, Goff comments from Nelson)