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Accounts Slightly Better, Growth The Focus

Fuseworks Media
Fuseworks Media
Bill English
Bill English

Crown accounts for the five months to November 30 were slightly better than forecast, but reinforce the need for responsible fiscal and economic management through 2010, Finance Minister Bill English says.

"We face another six years of Budget deficits and we're borrowing an average $240 million a week, every week, for the next four years.

"The best way - in fact, the only way - of getting on top of this significant fiscal challenge is to get the New Zealand economy growing and giving businesses the confidence to invest and create higher-paying jobs.

"The Government has embarked on a significant programme that includes reducing red tape, investing billions of dollars in productive infrastructure, getting better services from the government sector and addressing imbalances and inequities in the tax system.

"Budget 2010 will clearly set out the next steps of that plan, so that the economy grows faster and creates opportunities for families to get ahead."

The Crown's operating deficit before gains and losses for the five months to November 30 was $3.7 billion - or $700 million better than forecast late last year in the Half-Year Economic and Fiscal Update.

The operating deficit including gains and losses at $1.4 billion was $1.1 billion better than forecast, after better-than-expected investment performances by the New Zealand Super Fund, ACC and EQC.

"Monthly variations in the Crown's finances can reflect timing differences that are later reversed - and they need to be seen in the context of net core Crown debt rising from $17 billion in 2009 to a forecast $65 billion in 2014.

"The recession will continue to be felt on the Government's finances for some time. Anything we can do to shorten that process and get the economy growing faster will make a significant difference."

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