The world’s still in a very uncertain financial state and New Zealand is still too deeply in debt.
So what have the politicians learned?
Labour MPs are already planning to spend money we haven’t yet got which shows they’ve learned nothing.
Bill English showed on Q&A yesterday that National has learned the importance of decreasing debt and carefully directing spending where it will do most good:
Look, we have to be determined. We are one of the most indebted countries in the world. If you want the future of this nation subject to Labour and the Greens trying to buy votes with lolly scrambles, then we will get in a lot of trouble. So we’re using the veto so we’re clear— . . .
. . . We’ve looked at the most vulnerable mothers and babies in New Zealand, and that is the young mothers under the age of 18. There’s 2600 of them, and at the moment, they up until recently, they’re just left to sink or swim. Children having children with no— not necessarily any support. Some have it; most don’t. Subject to all sorts of pressures, creating all sorts of intergenerational problems. Now, the Prime Minister announced in August last year and then we put in the detail this year a package of measures to help those mothers and babies because we believe they’re the most vulnerable members of our society. If we’re going to crack the cycles of dependency, that’s where we need to crack it. . .
. . .We haven’t sent the wrong signal. What we’re demonstrating is that we’re balancing the determination to get New Zealand out of its significant debt problem, because if we don’t do that, everyone’s entitlements are at risk. Look around the world, seeing what’s happened to the entitlements of those countries where they don’t have their debt under control, they’re all being cut. . .
. . .We’re spending considerable money on it, but every time we make those decisions, we have to find the money somewhere else, and that’s the weakness in the Labour bill. They want to be able to spend the money, but they don’t want to take responsibility for where the money comes from. . . .
. . . Well, if the economy picks up and we get back to surplus sooner, then of course there’s room for discussion about all those things that people want us to have more of, but fundamentally we need a growing economy with less debt. We’re achieving those things at the same time as supporting our families by increasing their Working for Families payments, increasing their early-childhood education and maintaining the paid parental leave. I think we’ve got the balance about right. . .
. . . But I think the point here, Paul, is the government finances will get in a mess if we allow Parliament to go around spending up large with no responsibility for how to manage where the money comes from— . . .
Spending too much contributed to the debt we’ve got.
National understands that and is doing its best to get public spending under control and direct spending from the unproductive sector to the productive one, without scaring the horses too much.
Labour is still showing it’s the party that is still putting more thought into spending money than working out where it will come from.