The last Labour government delivered 9 budget surpluses. The current National government have delivered 6 deficits so far, and borrowed more than all previous governments – combined.
All this time National have been promising and promising to get back in to “surplus”. Last election it was pretty much their only policy, back to surplus by 2014 / 2015. Now of course we know that they will fail to meet the target this year, and probably next year as well.
And so begins the spin:
Key maintains he can hit “artificial” surplus ahead of pre-Budget speech
Ahead of his first major Budget speech John Key is refusing to rule out the Government hitting a surplus this year, while at the same time dismissing the target as “artificial”.
For several years National has pledged to return the Crown accounts to surplus in 2014/15, although Treasury is currently forecasting a small deficit and last week Finance Minister Bill English said a surplus was “unlikely”.
Key said New Zealand was a $220 billion dollar economy, the Government spent about $70 billion, meaning a deficit of a few hundred million dollars was irrelevant.
“It’s really like trying to land a 747 on a pin head. It’s just not that possible for the Treasury to get that right.”
The target is “artificial”? Yes it is, but it was set and endlessly repeated by Key and the Nats, so tough luck. It’s “like trying to land a 747 on a pin head”? One cartoonist suggests a different analogy:
Depends who’s holding the hammer I guess.