I’m sure all revealed at Budget 2018, but the financial management of this government is not surefooted.
On December 14 2017 Minister Robertson announced a mini-budget. This included confirmation of electoral promises including:
The Minister of Finance also announced at that time that annual $1 billion+ contributions to the NZ Superfund would recommence.
Since that time we have been regularly reassured that all the money was fine.
On January 25th he reassured us that the money was just flowing in no problem.
On January 30th he reassured us that our international credit rating and our economy was excellent.
On March 7th he further reassured us that the money the government had to spend was hosing in.
On April 4th, just a month out from the budget, apparently the money was coming done like Fanta out of the sky, and our debt position was just awesome.
Let’s not forget the stumbles over the transport tax that left Twyford to swing.
On April 17th, just four weeks out from the Budget, another spectacularly rosy assessment that the Minister could not hope but agree with.
And yet here we are, three weeks out from budget, the Minister of Health has to start walking back previously costed election promises.
Within the extraordinarily disciplined processes that Treasury has to go through to get a budget stable through December and January in any one year, Ministries have to deliver stable facts. They have had plenty of time to get through the “hand grenades in the bottom drawer”, as Twyford described them over the weekend. There are no excuses for this kind of ineptitude.
The Minister of Finance should have had this locked down with Treasury many months ago. It is weak management built on a record of false assurances, and excuses.
He has three weeks to prove that he is the Minister of Finance that this government needs him to be.