Hamish Rutherford writes:
Out of nowhere, Finance Minister Grant Robertson has made a significant U-turn, reversing what seemed to be a core Labour position.
After years of criticising National for a significant growth in Crown debt to more than $60 billion over the last decade, Robertson now seems to think the state of public debt is the best thing about the New Zealand economy.
As sharemarket turmoil in the United States spread around the world, Robertson said in an interview that he had real confidence in New Zealand’s economic fundamentals.
“Essentially the low level of public debt is a really important part of it.”
This from a man who said that under National debt had “skyrocketed”. Barely two months ago he told Parliament he “will not be lectured” by his predecessor Steven Joyce about debt levels.
Robertson’s attacking National for increased debt has always been hypocritical, let alone inconsistent. Debt increased because National inherited a structural deficit due to the recession and GFC which meant tax revenue could not meet the spending levels Labour had put in place.
So if you are to think that Robertson was sincere in criticising the increase in debt, then by implication he is saying National should have slashed spending. But of course Robertson actually attacked National for not spending enough.