Stark con­trast in fi­nance min­is­ters’ an­swers to key stat

Weekend Herald - - FRAN O’SULLIVAN - Liam Dann Busi­ness editor- at- large

What’s the most im­por­tant eco­nomic statis­tic? We put it to fi­nance can­di­dates — Na­tional’ s Steven Joyce and Labour’s Grant Robert­son — at the Mood of the Board Room this week.

The an­swers were stark and of­fered some in­sight into their dif­fer­ent ide­o­log­i­cal ap­proaches.

For Joyce it is debt: “De­spite the fact a lot peo­ple don’t go around count­ing the debt, that drives ev­ery­thing else in terms of in­ter­est rates, the op­por­tu­ni­ties that New Zealand has.

“Frankly it drives the abil­ity to deal with the is­sues that we all care about.”

For Robert­son it is child poverty: “It is the num­ber of chil­dren in poverty, we have to be able to lift them out, be­cause in the end our econ­omy i s sim­ply a means to an end for de­liv­er­ing a de­cent life for New Zealan­ders.”

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