nb-hi-blaine-higgs

Blaine Higgs says the government held the figures for a month or longer before releasing them.

The accuracy of Finance Minister Blaine Higgs's update on the province's finances is being questioned. 

Numbers used in the update were old and there are indications New Brunswick's deficit is worse than the government says, the CBC has learned. 

Higgs delivered a first quarter update on the province's $500 million deficit problem Friday. He claimed profits at NB Power will be $30 million lower than budgeted this year, a figure the utility has already downgraded.  

In filings with the Energy and Utilities Board last week, NB Power said its profits are projected to be $55 million lower than expected. That's 80 per cent worse than Higgs reported.

Figures at least a month old

Higgs acknowledged his government held the report for a month or longer.

"We've had this information on the first quarter for a few weeks, but we were intending to be able to line it up to the year-end results from last year," he said.

NDP Leader Dominic Cardy said that was unacceptable. 

"Releasing random figures that are out of date, if they don't have any connection to reality? I don't really understand why the finance minister is giving them the dignity of the attention they received yesterday," Cardy said Saturday. 

Cardy said the entire fiscal update is too old to be relied upon because lower profits at NB Power mean the deficit is worse than reported.