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Minister's Statement On BPS and DEFU

Minister's Statement

The Government's economic strategy and Budget 2001 priorities will deliver a programme of fostering sustainable economic growth and welfare in the long term.
Budget 2000 "front-end loaded" a substantial portion of the three-year $5.9 billion fiscal provision in order to maximise progress towards meeting the goals, defined in detail in the Budget Policy Statement 2000.

We have introduced policies, such as restoring New Zealand Superannuation base rates, reintroducing income-related state house rentals and reducing the interest burden on student loans, to increase the participation of every New Zealander in the economy and society, as well as to develop an innovative economy capable of providing jobs and opportunities for all New Zealanders.

Budget 2001 will see us moving into a period of implementation and consolidation, while still making progress towards achieving our policy goals.

There will be spending in education, health and welfare, as well as on initiatives that can contribute to enhancing economic growth and innovation.

We will continue to make progress towards our long-term debt objectives, and we will also start accumulating assets to manage the future fiscal pressures associated with an ageing population. In doing so, we will bring greater stability to retirement income policy.

We reaffirm our commitment to remaining within the $5.9 billion limit. Careful fiscal management is important, as it will help ensure sustainable economic growth and enable progress towards our short and long-term fiscal objectives.

The forecasts show that we remain on track to meet our long-term objectives. The economic outlook points to steady growth in the years ahead, translating into rising structural surpluses. These surpluses will be invested in building up the New Zealand Superannuation (NZS) Fund as well as in education and health, areas that will add to New Zealand's future prosperity.

By achieving our goals within a prudent fiscal framework, this Government will deliver a sustainable programme, beyond the next two years, that will build a decent future for all New Zealanders.

Hon Dr Michael Cullen
Treasurer and Minister of Finance
8 December 2000

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