$30 billion, maybe $40 billion

The Press reports:

The Canterbury recovery will cost almost $1 billion more than the value of Cyprus’ gross domestic product, almost twice Iceland’s and more than double New Zealand’s annual health spend.

And while Canterbury Recovery Minister Gerry Brownlee says the recovery’s price tag is still on the rise, looking set to surpass the latest $30b estimate, Canterbury Employers Chamber of Commerce chief executive Peter Townsend has now gone further, saying the recovery will cost $40b.

Bill English must sometimes gaze enviously at Michael Cullen’s photo, assuming he has a dart board in his office.

The last Finance Minister had a booming global economy, and his biggest problem was inventing new spending schemes to stop the surplus getting too large.

English has had not only the worst global recession since the Great Depression, but also the fiscal shock of the Christchurch Earthquake which as a percentage of the economy is one of the greatest to hit a developed economy in modern times.

The fact we are on track to achieve surplus the financial year after next is a minor miracle, after inheriting a structural deficit projection.

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