Govt throws debt target out window

LETTER

Right now it feels as though every week the Government breaks another promise to New Zealanders, whether it’s fees-free, the lack of KiwiBuild houses, and now Finance Minister Grant Robertson scrapping his self-imposed debt target.

Instead of a fixed target of reducing Crown debt to 20 percent, Mr Robertson has given himself a “range”. You can almost guarantee this means debt at the upper end of the range of 25 percent, loosening the purse strings by tens of billions of dollars. That isn’t wriggle room.

The Finance Minister is admitting defeat, after repeatedly using these rules to give himself the appearance of being fiscally responsible.

The Minister has been backed into a corner by allowing the economy to slow, overpromising, and his Government spending up large on things like Shane Jones’ slush fund and other poor spending choices like fees-free for tertiary students and KiwiBuild.

This is a blunt admission the Government can’t manage the books properly, and the Minister is conceding to what National has been saying for months — the Government has overpromised and cannot deliver.

Mr Robertson is giving the Government a licence to spend up large, at the taxpayer’s expense.

Debt isn’t free. It will have to be paid for by higher taxes in the future. Labour is putting a heavy financial burden on our children and grandchildren.

National believes in paying down debt when the economy is in good shape so we have the ability to support New Zealand during a crisis, like we did during the Global Financial Crisis and the Christchurch earthquakes. That’s what has kept New Zealand out of trouble historically.

Instead Labour has wasted the surpluses they inherited and weakened our economy through poor economic management. New Zealand could have had enough money to meet our needs.

The debt target is the latest broken promise by the Government as its “year of delivery” continues to be an embarrassing string of failures.

The Government is 18 months in and Mr Robertson has given up any pretence of fiscal responsibility, showing you just can’t trust Labour with the economy.

Anne Tolley

MP for East Coast

Right now it feels as though every week the Government breaks another promise to New Zealanders, whether it’s fees-free, the lack of KiwiBuild houses, and now Finance Minister Grant Robertson scrapping his self-imposed debt target.

Instead of a fixed target of reducing Crown debt to 20 percent, Mr Robertson has given himself a “range”. You can almost guarantee this means debt at the upper end of the range of 25 percent, loosening the purse strings by tens of billions of dollars. That isn’t wriggle room.

The Finance Minister is admitting defeat, after repeatedly using these rules to give himself the appearance of being fiscally responsible.

The Minister has been backed into a corner by allowing the economy to slow, overpromising, and his Government spending up large on things like Shane Jones’ slush fund and other poor spending choices like fees-free for tertiary students and KiwiBuild.

This is a blunt admission the Government can’t manage the books properly, and the Minister is conceding to what National has been saying for months — the Government has overpromised and cannot deliver.

Mr Robertson is giving the Government a licence to spend up large, at the taxpayer’s expense.

Debt isn’t free. It will have to be paid for by higher taxes in the future. Labour is putting a heavy financial burden on our children and grandchildren.

National believes in paying down debt when the economy is in good shape so we have the ability to support New Zealand during a crisis, like we did during the Global Financial Crisis and the Christchurch earthquakes. That’s what has kept New Zealand out of trouble historically.

Instead Labour has wasted the surpluses they inherited and weakened our economy through poor economic management. New Zealand could have had enough money to meet our needs.

The debt target is the latest broken promise by the Government as its “year of delivery” continues to be an embarrassing string of failures.

The Government is 18 months in and Mr Robertson has given up any pretence of fiscal responsibility, showing you just can’t trust Labour with the economy.

Anne Tolley

MP for East Coast

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Ferne O'Connor, Putaruru - 17 days ago
Yes Anne the National Government did keep the national debt down and the books looked lovely. It's just a shame that this was achieved by National neglecting our Hospitals, Schools and Policing and many other government-funded departments, as you well know.

Jason MWA - 17 days ago
Ferne
National also had four earthquakes to sort out. Christchurch was flattened twice, Wellington got a hiding and Kaikoura got a hell of a beating.
If licensed firearm owners are to be paid the market value of the seized firearms (and parts), then this Government will be looking at a cool billion.
I think Labour believes that teachers and nurses will always vote red, so they treat them like a given vote.

Delwyn Arthur - 16 days ago
National went into the GFC with Helen Clark's surplus to give them a good start.

Unfortunately we now have to accept the fact that with over-population; accelerating climate change and the resulting, ever more frequent, disasters; the growing disparity between the tiny percentage which owns most of the planet's wealth and the growing number of disadvantaged who own such a small percentage could get worse if we do not act. Capitalism and the sad old ideas of those who have benefited from it are totally outdated and until a new model is accepted, nothing is going to improve.
It is not a 12-month task to improve inequalities and anomalies which grew over the previous nine years. The "economic" growth has resulted in housing shortages, overcrowded roads, pollution of land, rivers and sea, and underresourced public services - Health, Education, Police to name a few.

Local and national organisations protecting their own patch and profitability also do nothing for the greater good. I hope the new model will highlight some of this as well, and lead to decisions based on the big picture, not one individual financial outcome . . . but this will also take time.

W Gerrard - 16 days ago
Jason MWA, yes National did have four earthquakes and should have had funds for that . . . and the Christchurch earthquake turned out to be a rort!

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