Minister of Finance Steven Joyce has confirmed that a claim in a meme circulating online is essentially correct - he did not complete eight economics papers while at university in the 1980s.

But his press secretary says he was focusing on his fledgling radio career at the time.

The image, which has been doing the rounds on Facebook, purports to show the National MP's university transcript from 1984-1986.

Five economics-related papers are marked as DNC - Did Not Complete - and two are marked WD - Withdrawn. An eighth failed paper is marked with an E grade.

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It is not clear from the transcript at what point Joyce withdrew from the papers, or whether he sat exams.

A version of the meme which claims to show Steven Joyce's university transcript from the 1980s. Image/Facebook
A version of the meme which claims to show Steven Joyce's university transcript from the 1980s. Image/Facebook

The Herald put written questions to Joyce, including whether the grades affected his ability to be finance minister.

His press secretary replied only that "Minister Joyce started but then withdrew from those papers because he was starting his radio company".

Joyce and several friends, including More FM's Jeremy Corbett, started New Plymouth radio station Energy FM in 1987.

He went on to develop a commercial radio empire and made $6 million when it was sold to CanWest.

Joyce revealed he had not completed all his university papers in an interview with Victoria University's student magazine Salient in 2014.

"I went to Massey University, from 1981 to 1985 in Palmerston North. I did a vet intermediate and didn't quite make the cut for vet school so I did a zoology degree for two years," he told the magazine.

"In the first three years I passed all my papers, I was very excited. And then I started in student radio. In my fourth year I was doing economics papers. I sat six and passed three.

"In my fifth year I enrolled for three and passed none. By that time I was fully into radio."

University study was free for all students while Joyce was at Massey University.