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Political Parties Must Show Spending Discipline

Auckland Chamber of Commerce

All political parties need to come clean on spending "promises."

Responding to the Treasury fiscal update released today, Michael Barnett, Chamber Chief Executive, said that while the forecast confirms positive medium-term growth and employment prospects, they depend on maintaining the existing revenue and spending patterns.

"The next government must ensure a disciplined control on spending and be vigilant to not load excessive new costs on to business and the country."

Mr Barnett called on all parties to list their new spending promises and clarify their fiscal bottom lines.

Based on Labour's policy announcements to date, for example, an Infometrics analysis undertaken for the Chamber of Commerce indicates that an accumulated $1240 million of spending initiatives will be required by 2003/04.

If these spending "promises" and related costs on business are followed through, the economy will be put at increased risk, said Mr Barnett. On the other hand, if Labour decides to tailor its policies in order to maintain a more responsible economic path, then voters should be told well ahead of the election which policies have priority and which will be varied.

Other parties should do likewise, said Mr Barnett.

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