Budget surplus back-down deeply embarrassing for Govt

The Government must be deeply embarrassed that it won’t achieve its long-promised Budget surplus this year, the Green Party said today.

Government financial statements published today show a $269 million deficit in the Crown’s operating balance before gains and losses, and an operating balance deficit of $952 million, in the eight months to 28 February 2015.

This follows media reports yesterday that Finance Minister Bill English has “all but given up” on reaching surplus this financial year.

“Bill English has staked his job and his reputation on being able to return the Government books to surplus, but he keeps failing,” said Green Party Associate Finance spokesperson Julie Anne Genter.

“Bill English is now on track to equal the humiliating record for the most number of consecutive Budget deficits under the same administration – seven – set by the National Government from 1966 to 1972.

“National’s reputation as a responsible economic manager is in tatters. National has presided over an unending string of deficits, growing inequality, and a two-track economy that only benefits a small number of people.

“Tax cuts for the rich and the bungled asset sales have left the Government’s books in a shambles.

“John Key needs to ask Bill English serious questions about why the Finance Minister can’t achieve a surplus time and time again.

“We need a change of track to a smarter, greener economy with clear policy signals to drive innovation and employment,” Ms Genter said.