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  • rmacculloch

Battle of the "experts". Who are Newshubs "Highly Regarded Economists" trying to discredit the Nats?

The economics news has been dominated the past couple of weeks by Newshub insisting that the National Party's tax plan doesn't "add up". Here's the headline the outlet has been running, "National's foreign buyer tax costings likely have a roughly $530 million fiscal hole each year, according to several highly regarded economists. It's more bad news for the party which has faced constant questioning and criticism over its tax plan".

However, whilst Newshub is desperate to embarrass the Nats by endlessly scrutinizing their tax proposal, the same level of scrutiny doesn't seem to have been applied to Newshub's own sources. Let's be clear, the critique of National made by these "highly regarded economists" has not been peer-reviewed nor published in a journal and as such has no academic standing. In fact, estimating the effect of a policy change that has never been done before, like removing a foreign buyer ban & putting in a 15% tax on property sales over $2 million, is very hard because there's no precedent & so no data that can be used to show what has happened in the past when such a policy has been introduced.

The econometrics involved in my opinion requires a person to have completed a Masters degree with top honors, or PhD, in economics from a good university. So I looked up the qualifications of one of the folks who Newshub quote as their "highly regarded economist" source who critiqued the Nats proposals - his Linked-In profile says:

University of Otago, Bachelor of Commerce (BCom) in Marketing, 2001 - 2003

I'm happy to be corrected that this chap has done a high-level econ degree not mentioned on his Linked-In profile, but can Newshub please urgently clarify the background of its sources? After all, its' success at embarrassing National hinges on Newshub's sources being more credible than the Party's. On that note, the consulting firm called Castalia that checked over the Nat's numbers includes folks in their Auckland Office like Willem Crowhurst, who has a first class honors degree in economics from the University of Auckland.



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