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English Ignoring the Big Picture


English Ignoring the Big Picture
11 MAY 2014

The Taxpayers’ Union is questioning Finance Minister Bill English’s remarks this weekend about the size of New Zealand's government as a proportion of GDP. Mr English told National Party delegates in Queenstown that government spending has now reduced to 30 per cent of GDP from 35 per cent in 2008.

“Mr English focuses at core crown expenditure, but ignores that general government outlays now represent 42.2 per cent of the economy,” says Jordan Williams, Executive Director of the Taxpayers’ Union.

“Efforts by Bill English to to streamline central government are being swallowed by the growth of local government and government owned industry."

According to OECD figures, total government outlays as percentage of GDP have in fact increased from 41.6 per cent in 2008.

"While it is good that core government spending as a proportion of GDP is reducing there’s little point if local government, SOEs and other crown entities suck up the gains."

"While we welcome Mr English's goal of reducing the proportion of core government spending to 25 per cent of GDP, the bigger picture should not be ignored. As percentage of the economy New Zealand government is larger than Australia, Canada, the United States and Ireland. "

“The government should be embarrassed that, on average, for every dollar Kiwis work for, 42 cents are for government. As we move into budget surplus Mr English should assure New Zealanders that money will be returned to the taxpayers who earn it, rather than used for more spending by politicians."

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