NZPA reports Bill English is lining up more cuts for public services under the cover of getting the books in the black.
According to English:
In our first two Budgets, the Government took early steps to bring deficits and Government debt under control. We will build on that over the next few years by living within our $1.1 billion annual allowance for extra operating spending and weeding out lower-priority spending.
Really? You could’ve fooled me – I thought that the last budget was about borrowing a billion dollars to pay for massive tax cuts for New Zealand’s richest.
But then this is the kind of dodgy accounting that this government uses to make claims that spending $1.3bn on private prisons is great because it generates $1.2bn of benefits.
If this was a straight-up transfer of wealth from the poor to the rich within a stable economy it would be bad enough but it’s not that simple. What makes it worse is the fact cutting spending now is likely to contract the economy at a time it is still extremely fragile, which will in turn create the need for more debt.
Which will then be used by the government as an excuse for more cuts and then privatisation of public assets.
Bill English isn’t stupid. He knows exactly what kind of a vicious cycle he’s risking and, in fact, he knows it from experience – exactly the same thing was done under the last National government in which he was a minister.