No borrow and hope

Bill has sent out his strongest signal that the future will not be implemented. I’m going to cover the details of this at a later stage – for now want to look at the overall fiscal situation.

The Herald reports:

Mr said without a change to the present spending track, preliminary Budget forecasts showed recurring operating deficits of more than $10 billion a year indefinitely.

“Most worrying of all, debt would continue climbing, with no sign of levelling off.”

At the predicted 2023 level, Crown gross debt would equate to about $30,000 for every New Zealander and it would force the Government to pay an extra $8 billion a year in interest costs than forecast in the October pre-election update, Mr said.

This simply can not be allowed to happen. Every dollar extra in interest costs is a dollar less for health, education, Police etc.

Mr said his Budget would allow for more spending than Labour’s last year.

But the rate of growth of in recent years could not be sustained, he said in a speech to business executives in yesterday.

Core Crown expenditure this year was expected to be $63.5 billion – up $21.6 billion or 51 per cent in the past five years.

He contrasted that to estimates that the economy had grown by just 23 per cent in the same time, and tax revenue by 24 per cent.

Cullen massively increased spending on the assumption that the economy would never falter. They intrdouced interest free student loans, KiwiSaver, Working for Families – and now there is not enough money to pay for them.

The responsible thing to do with a growing economy, is to have every year modest incraeses in spending, modest and significant surpluses. Peter Costello did this. But for nine years we had massive increases in spending.

Labour Phil Goff said last night that Mr was “softening the public up” to breach the basic promise National made in the election campaign last year – that people would be better off through tax cuts.

He said National had misled the electorate.

Labour would by now have not only cancelled their tax cuts (I will touch on this at a later stage) but would be copying UK Labour and actually hiking taxes in a recession with a new top tax rate of 50%.

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