The opposition keeps calling on the government to do something.
The announcement of a small improvement in the operating deficit before gains and losses in the last half of last year shows it is doing something and it’s doing it right.
It’s being very careful with public finances which is what it’s supposed to do.
. . . both Core Crown tax revenue and Core Crown revenue were slightly lower (0.1%) than forecast, but Core Crown expenses came in $273 million lower (0.8%) than expected, helping reduce the OBEGAL deficit by $158 million to $3.2 billion.
“These figures confirm that the Government’s determination to control its spending and get better value from taxpayers’ money is paying off,” Mr English says.
Careful and responsible stewardship doesn’t get headlines, but it does get results:
Todd McClay: What steps has the Government taken to manage its finances and get back to surplus?
Hon STEVEN JOYCE: The Government has put spending and revenue initiatives in place to balance the books. On the spending side, we have delivered two consecutive Budgets showing zero net new expenditure, while maintaining increases in health and education spending. We have launched the Better Public Services programme and reprioritised $4.4 billion over 4 years to ensure New Zealanders will see better results without new resources. On the revenue side, the Government has increased income while improving the fairness of the tax system by shutting down loopholes. These things include tightening the tax treatment of property, increasing GST, making it harder for people to avoid paying tax through trusts, and making resources available for the Inland Revenue Department to target tax avoidance.
All of which is far better than any alternatives being proposed.
Todd McClay: What alternative proposals has he seen for managing the Government’s finances?
Hon STEVEN JOYCE: I have seen any number of alternative proposals. These measures include putting a capital gains tax on every productive business and farm, encouraging tax avoidance by increasing the gap between the top personal income and company tax rates, discouraging all sorts of private investment in the New Zealand economy, printing money, and so on. That is the Greens-Labour prescription for the New Zealand economy.
And that is a prescription for economic woe not economic growth.