24 May 2002
Finance Minister Michael Cullen today rubbished Opposition claims that the budget was stingy and that a National government would have been more generous, saying the facts told a different story entirely.
“The only way to establish a reliable comparison between governments is to compare the expense tables prepared by National in the 1999 Pre-election Economic and Fiscal Update with the same tables in this year’s budget.
“Taking the 2002-03 year as the base, we find that housing spending is 171 percent higher than it would have been had National regained office. This is because National would have sold houses, we are building new ones.
“Expenditure on economic and industrial development is 66 percent higher than National would have spent in the same year. Again, this is not surprising and reflects a basic change in philosophy.
“Unlike National, we assert that there is a constructive role for the government in the economy, and the business community agrees with us,” Dr Cullen said.
“The other big areas of difference are: heritage, culture and recreation, up 38 percent; law and order, up 20.5 percent; health, up 16 percent, and education; up 10.5 percent.
“The message from these comparisons is obvious. This government is investing more in both social services and in growth than a National government would have,” Dr Cullen said.
1999 Prefu 2002 Budget
Housing $38m $103m
Economic & industry $766m $1,275m
Heritage, culture $387m $533m
Law and order $1,439m $1,734m
Health $7,211m $8,370m
Education $6,779m $7,494m