Here’s fun. The big news in the economics blogosphere today is that a pro-austerity paper published in 2010 by two economists called Carmen Reinhart and Kenneth Rogoff, which argues that reducing public debt will increase economic growth, and which has been cited extensively by right-wing economists and politicians as empirical evidence in favor of austerity in the wake of the GFC, seems to be seriously flawed. Those flaws include an error in an excel formula that excludes certain countries from the dataset (including New Zealand). When you include those countries the historical evidence in favor of austerity disappears. There’s plenty more information here.
Turns out this paper has been cited extensively by Treasury in their pro-austerity advice to the National government. So that might be a fun question for an opposition MP to ask the Finance Minister: are the government’s economic policies the result of a bug in an excel spreadsheet, and if not, how does he account for the current state of the New Zealand economy?