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Duncan Garner: Shameless Steven Joyce digs himself a massive hole to lie in

Finance Minister Steven Joyce is the brains, the strategist and the boss of the National Party.

OPINION: Finance Minister Steven Joyce didn't much like economics at university.

Joyce did eight papers. He never troubled the academic records.

He failed to complete seven papers and the one he stuck with, he got an 'F'. I don't believe it was 'F' for finished either.

Uni was free back then, students got an allowance from the government to drink, it was party time.

* There's no fiscal black hole, just an incredibly tight squeeze. Can we move on now?
War of numbers descends into farce
Which side of the fiscal hole debate are experts standing on?

Imagine if that returned? So irresponsible. Students might end up wasting taxpayers' dollars by failing paper after paper on irrelevant courses and degrees like, say, zoology.


But Joyce wasn't dumb. He was smart. Steve took his, would you believe it, zoology degree, and became an accomplished radio DJ and businessman.

But Joyce was about more than just outlandish, make-believe radio pranks. He was so successful he bought and sold the radio business.

Eight failed economics papers later became $8 million of radio solid gold. He was suddenly a rich man. Joyce didn't mess with economic theory, he got results in the real world.

And that's Joyce.

He's the brains, the strategist, the boss, the committee chair, the poll-driven expert behind the huge success of this National Government.

He's a likeable and jovial bloke who is always thinking politics.

He's also a cunning, ruthless and totally results-focused political operative. He lets nothing get in the way of a win.

If politics was a horror, he's your Freddy Krueger; a powerful force that is almost completely invulnerable.

So let's call it. Joyce stuffed up this week. In his desperation to smear Labour's alternative budget, he got it wildly wrong.

He made a $11.7b blunder that goes to the heart of his own credibility. He didn't use Treasury officials this time - oh no, this was all his own work.

Because there is no $11.7b hole in Labour's accounts.

There's not one economist in the country who can find it. But what would they know? Joyce can see it clear as mud.

Who do you believe? A bunch of economists with no vested interest or the politician, the Finance Minister and campaign boss staring at a potential election defeat, but failing to name one independent person who supports his outlandish claim.

The number was so big, it was outlandish enough to get our attention.

He's got form. He once accused Labour of having an $18b hole under a previous leader. Joyce knows how to hit Labour - in the middle of its spreadsheet, even if he can't make head or tail of it.

This was Joyce's 'show me the money' moment, except it flopped, it had all the accuracy of being glanced by a flying dildo to the face.

It was a calculated, desperate brain-fart by a man that knew if he threw enough stink-bombs at a tax-and-spend party, then some of it would blow up in Labour's face. And it has.

But the real damage is to Joyce's credibility.

He came across like a desperate fool, whose big one-off spray never worked and whose grip on power looks weaker today than it was last Monday.

Remember Joyce and his $11b hole claims were all encouraged and supported by his leader, Bill English.

English is guilty too - by association. He's boots and all in this grubby little set-up.

But it's clear Labour is now bossing this campaign. Momentum and trend is everything.

Labour's up 20 points in just four weeks, from 23 per cent to 43 per cent in the latest Colmar Brunton Poll. And National is down almost 10 points in five weeks, from 49 per cent to 39 per cent.

It's not just a game-changing poll. It's a Government-changing poll. And seriously who picked that four weeks ago? No-one.

So stand by for two weeks of public haranguing and a full-noise scaremongering campaign from National, about how Labour will ruin the economy, under Jacinda 'Stardust' Ardern.

Stardust? What even is it? Who knows.

The one thing that has become clear though is the wall of negative noise known in political circles as the 'death rattle.'

It's about to become deafening. Because there's so much at stake.

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