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Fiscal Update Shows Winston Effect

ACT Finance spokesman Rodney Hide said today that the Pre-Election Fiscal Update revealed the disastrous effect Winston Peters' spend-up has had on New Zealand.

"The incoming government in 1996 was looking forward to solid growth, falling unemployment and large and sustainable budget surpluses. The rosy forecast was set out in the 1996 Pre-Election Fiscal Update.

"The foolish Coalition spend-up combined with the Asian downturn plunged the economy into recession and cost thousands of New Zealanders their jobs.

"New Zealand has an extra 20,000 unemployed, government is spending an extra $50 a week per household, a $6.4 billion surplus has been entirely evaporated, and New Zealanders have lost out on $3,000 of annual income that should have been theirs. That's what comparing this election's Fiscal Update with that from the last election reveals. Lax fiscal control means taxpayers are having to spend an extra $450 million this year financing government debt.

"This PREFU compared to that of 1996 shows the absolute foolhardiness of Labour and the Alliance's policy of massively higher spending. Winston's spend-up was hard on New Zealanders. Labour and Alliance's even bigger spend-up would be an absolute disaster.

What government needs is a dose of fiscal reality. We need taxpayers keeping more of what they earn and getting real value for money for what government spends.

"ACT is pleased to see that the government has cut back on its "slush fund" for "future initiatives". When ACT first started protesting about government setting aside taxpayers' money for unidentified projects the fund was $800 million cumulative a year. Under pressure from ACT it has been pulled down to $500 million. That's a saving for taxpayers of $1,800 million over three years. That's a good start for once again establishing fiscal discipline," said Rodney Hide.

ENDS

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