Labour's finance spokesman Grant Robertson is continuing his attacks on National, honing in on what he sees as the party's Achilles heel.
The Wellington Central MP has again targeted National's books, this morning trying to prove his opposition's fiscal hole was even wider than once thought.
He spent much of this morning's RNZ debate with National's finance spokesman Paul Goldsmith on the offensive, forcing the National MP on the back foot.
But Goldsmith called
out his rival a number of times for talking "nonsense" and saying Robertson was "throwing mud around that didn't stick".
Despite the claims, counterclaims and counter-counterclaims, Goldsmith refused to commit his party to support setting up an independent fiscal costing unit to cost all political parties' spending plans.
again conceded there had been a $4 billion shortfall in its spending plan – its calculations for stopping contributions to the NZ Super Fund were based on not up-to-date data.
He also conceded a "very small error" in regards to
But he pushed back on Robertson's claims that National double-counted how it was going to pay for its transport spending plans.
Robertson has claimed that National planned to "stripped billions" from the Government's transport fund to pay for even more funding shortfalls.
Goldsmith, however, said this was not the case – "we are shuffling around different pots of money", he told the Herald after the debate.
He said National had initially planned to pay for part of its $31b transport infrastructure fund by using some of the unallocated $14b Covid-19 recovery fund.
It instead decided to use that money to pay for its planned temporary tax cuts.
To make up the funding hole that created, National instead said it would use more money from the National Land Transport Fund –
used to pay for roads, cycleways and other transport projects – to cover the shortfall.
"He's [Robertson] acting like a trainspotter; if things haven't been labelled in exactly the way he expects it to be labelled, he gets all excited," Goldsmith said.
But Robertson wasn't having a bar of this: "There is double counting. To make up for that, they are now raiding the National Land Transport fund."
He said National's plan was a "shambles" and "chaotic".
"These mistakes matter in the real world. If you're making mistakes like this in putting a plan together, in Government those mistakes matter."
The pair traded a number of blows throughout the debate on myriad issues.
"All of what Paul [Goldsmith] is describing comes from a completely unaffordable irresponsible plan that won't deliver in the long term," Robertson said.
"You can't sit on the sidelines like you did for nine years and let things get worse."