As National's campaign chairman for the past five elections, you'd think Steven Joyce would have been more careful in his political hit job.

By attacking Labour's fiscal plan in the way he has, by implying they had got their figures wrong, he has done damage to himself and to National's campaign.

He over-egged it by talking about an $11 billion fiscal hole.

That implied either an incompetent error or presenting deliberately misleading figures and it is no surprise that no one has agreed with him.


If he had been more temperate in his language and dealt with conservative scenarios instead of worst-case scenarios, he may have been taken more seriously.

The truth is usually more convincing than hyped up scare-stories. It was all timed for Prime Minister Bill English to make an impact on the second televised leaders' debate, just at the time when Jacinda Ardern could have been pressed harder on the blank cheque tax policy Labour is taking to the election.

Instead of politically exploiting the prospect of land tax, which Ardern did not rule out yesterday, Joyce has been back on the fiscals, having to defend his own reputation.

In the process, Labour has come up smelling like roses when parts of its plan deserve greater scrutiny.