I’ve grabbed these four slides from the Budget presentation, as I think they show a powerful story. The first is that welfare reforms are working. Benefit costs are around a billion lower than forecast in 2010, and continue to drop.
Labour bang on about the current account deficit a lot. You’ll note how huge it was in 2008. Anyway in 2010 it was projected to hit 7% of GDP. In reality it has improved in the last two years and is still at a historically low level.
This one is very powerful. You see how Labour were ramping up spending massively, and especially in 2008 they basically spent every dollar they could find. And then when the recession hit, we ended up with our structural deficit.
National has imposed considerable fiscal restraint. No, not cutting spending in absolute terms, but having very little extra spending in the first four years, and just modest increases since.
And this is the key one. The settings inherited by National saw a structural deficit and debt ever increasing. In five years, it has been turned around. Labour and Greens complain about the increase in debt, while at the same time they bitched and moaned about every single decision to restrain spending. This is the essence of their problems – no consistency. They think you can fool people by bitterly opposing spending restraint for five years, and also complaining about increased debt.