Gordon Campbell | Parliament TV | Parliament Today | Video | Questions Of the Day | Search


Govt. concocting a yarn on its 'shortfall'

Bill English
Opposition Finance Spokesperson
Wednesday 3 May 2000

Govt. concocting a yarn on its 'shortfall'

The Government is concocting a story to try to explain away its shoddy pre-election budget planning, National Finance spokesperson Bill English said today.

"They are trying to claim that there is a shortfall of about $200 million in the Budget they inherited.

"In fact, we told them before the election that their figures didn't add up. They made too many election promises. Now they are discovering precisely that, and trying to make excuses.

"Under the strict disclosure rules we instituted, it's impossible and illegal to hide the books in the way Labour is alleging.

"Parliament passed the Fiscal Responsibility Act precisely to prevent the shonky books Labour left in 1990, and to stop governments using this hoary old excuse for not meeting pre-election commitments.

"The facts speak for themselves. In 1990 Labour left us an $89 million "surplus" which in fact turned into a whopping $2.6 billion deficit.

"In the pre-election fiscal update we projected a modest surplus of $14 million. Dr Cullen's BPS forecast a surplus of $400 million - that's $400 million more than he thought he had before the election. It's just laughable of Dr Cullen to say he hasn't got enough money for his initiatives.

"Are Trevor Mallard and Michael Cullen really trying to say that their own officials broke the law?

"In the Treasury's Pre-Election fiscal update published on 21 October 1999, the Secretary of the Treasury, Dr Alan Bollard, signed a Statement of Responsibility which is a statutory declaration under the Fiscal Responsibility Act

"The PREFU is the Treasury's independent legal view of the real state of the Government's books.

"Dr Cullen has referred publicly to a range of issues adding up to his alleged $200m shortfall; Police, Defence, CYFS, Arts, and IRD. All these were under active consideration by the previous government and the future costs and risks were well known to Treasury. (See for example attached table on police baselines)

"I warned Dr Cullen on 11 November 1999 that he had not allowed enough funding in his alternative budget for ongoing spending pressures over and above his election commitments.

"National made allocations for future spending of $600m, $1200m and $1800m for the next three years. The allocations were regarded by commentators and analysts at the time as credibly large to deal with ongoing spending pressure as well as new initiatives.

"Any government has to deal with considerable pressures on its finances and Dr Cullen and Mr Mallard are learning just how onerous their responsibilities are. The Government is learning how carelessly it raised expectations that it would spend a lot more money.

"Spending on police, defence social services and tax administration are always under pressure. Former Treasurer Bill Birch was well-known for being tough on spending, and he set challenging targets for government departments. If Dr Cullen can't meet those targets, that's his choice.

"If he can't do it with his extra tax revenue of about $1 billion, then he's really got a lot to learn," Mr English said.


© Scoop Media

Parliament Headlines | Politics Headlines | Regional Headlines

KiwiBailed: KiwiBuild Head Officially Resigns

The head of Kiwibuild, Stephen Barclay has officially resigned from the role. In a statement issued on his behalf, it was announced that he would step down from today [Friday].

Housing Minister Phil Twyford's office said he would not be commenting on Mr Barclay's resignation as it was an employment matter. Last month, Mr Twyford confirmed that Mr Barclay had not been at work for a number of weeks. More>>


Welfare Stats: Rise In Hardship Numbers Shows Income Inadequacy

The latest Ministry of Social Development quarterly report show that a record number of people have received hardship assistance from work and income, with an additional 40,000 hardship payments made between September and December 2018, compared to the previous quarter of the same year... More>>


DHBs "Prepared": Junior Doctors Strike Again

The needs of acute patients will be met during tomorrow's junior doctor strike, a DHB spokesperson says... Almost 3000 junior doctors are expected to walk off the job, which will affect all DHBs apart from West Coast District Health Board. More>>


Gordon Campbell: On MBIE’s Social Media Scam

Given the ambit of MBIE’s work, almost any form of social activity could qualify as being part of MBIE’s brief, so the privacy threats posed by this training programme are extensive. The current oversight safeguards seem threadbare to non-existent. More>>


JusTrade: New Campaign For A 21th Century Trade Agenda

‘Critique is no longer enough. If anything is to really change, we need to step away from the existing framework and take a first-principles approach to rethinking what will work for the 21st century.’ More>>


Gordon Campbell: Thompson + Clark Are The Tip Of The Iceberg

How can we tell where and how any lines are being drawn? Oversight is not exactly robust. If it were, Thompson + Clark would have been out of contention for state security work ten years ago. More>>

Trainers: Taratahi Institute of Agriculture In Interim Liquidation

Taratahi employ 250 staff and this year has provided education to over 2500 students. Taratahi owns and manages 8 farms throughout the country. More>>


IPCA Report: Complaints About Deputy Commissioner Wallace Haumaha

The Authority has found that DC Haumaha acted improperly by approaching staff and others to provide information to support him to refute the allegations about his 2016 conduct, or solicited other staff to do so on his behalf... More>>





InfoPages News Channels