INDEPENDENT NEWS

What a lot to spend on a boring Budget

Published: Thu 15 Jun 2000 04:07 PM
Considering the money the Government has spent, this a boring Budget that won't mean anything for most New Zealanders, Opposition Finance spokesperson Bill English said today.
"Dr Cullen has failed to deliver the king hit that New Zealanders needed to restore flagging confidence in the future.
"And he has shown he doesn't understand what drives enterprise and initiative. He doesn't know how to restore confidence, and without that, New Zealanders' jobs, incomes and investments will suffer.
"There's no bridge to business, and that's because Dr Cullen is on another planet.
"Labour promised to close the gaps and build a bridge to business. Instead he has created a Budget that's full of gaps, not bridges.
"The Budget is built on shaky fiscal foundations. Economic growth is peaking now and will fall over the next three years. Private forecasters are starting to revise down their forecasts to 3% or lower compared to Treasury's forecast of 3.5%.
"Low business confidence is starting to feed through to lower growth and that will put pressure on Dr Cullen's surpluses.
"The other pressure on surpluses is political. Dr Cullen today spent $4.2 billion of the $5.9 billion allocated for new spending in the next three years. He has left himself with just $575 million for his election year, a fraction of what he spent today. That's if growth holds up - and it's less than National allocated.
"To rescue the Left's political chances, he will be tempted to spend a lot on in-fill behind his front-loading.
"There's simply not enough here to believe the Budget's fiscal projections. They will not work.
"This is the first Budget since the mid 90s with no tax cuts and no increase in child tax credits. Rising household costs and interest rates, a slowing economy and flat house prices will make difficult politics for Labour, and more pressure to spend their way out of it.
"There is nothing in this Budget to restore confidence in the Government's policy or meet the high expectations Labour has created for social change," Mr English said.
ends

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