The Government’s so-called mini budget is nothing more than a litany of distractions, delays and diversions which leave the country without any certainty or coherent economic plan, Labour Finance spokesperson Grant Robertson said.
“Today was a test for Nicola Willis as finance minister to finally reveal what her government was going to do and how they were going to pay for it. She has failed that test and left New Zealanders in limbo. How the government is going to pay for the inflationary tax cuts she has promised remains a mystery she refuses to solve.
“Her claims of self-funded cuts have been labelled a risk by Treasury, and her savings, cuts and project costs don’t add up.
“There is also no information today on the costs of the coalition agreements that Nicola Willis has agreed to. There are some large commitments in the agreements including funding for prisons, increased funding for IRD, Police, St Johns, aged care and more.
“New Zealand deserves the facts. Nicola Willis’ fictional narrative about the previous government consistently ignores the reports delivered by global ratings agencies and international organisations which credit the strength and resilience of our economy and have seen them increase or maintain their ratings.
“The facts are that the New Zealand economy is around 7 per cent larger than before COVID, unemployment has been at record lows, wages are rising and our debt levels are lower than most of the economies we compare ourselves too. It has been a tough year for New Zealanders with cost of living pressures as inflation peaked. But it is now on a downward track.
“It is farcical to claim that there are any surprises in the Government’s books which have changed little since PREFU in September.Just like every government there is a mixture of baseline and time limited funding in the Budget. In 2017 Labour inherited a large amount of time limited expenditure. It is up to the government whether that needs to be carried on or not in future Budgets.