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NZ Initiative praises Government for fiscal watchdog

Wellington (20 August 2019): The New Zealand Initiative enthusiastically welcomes the Coalition Government’s announcement of an Independent Parliamentary Budget Office.

Finance Minister Grant Robertson and Associate Finance Minister James Shaw jointly announced the Office today, to be operational from mid-2021. The Independent Parliamentary Budget Office will monitor the government’s fiscal strategy and provide independent costings of political party policies.

Dr Bryce Wilkinson, co-author of the New Zealand Initiative’s 2014 report, Guarding the Public Purse, which called for the establishment of an independent fiscal institution, said, “As an independent Office of Parliament, the Parliamentary Budget Office will be able to provide advice to Parliament, and to voters, to help to hold governments to account.” We envisaged it would be of modest size and would not give political parties an open cheque book for taxpayer-funding campaign costings.”

The Initiative’s 2014 report argued for the establishment of an independent office of Parliament to monitor the government’s compliance with fiscal responsibility principles; to monitor Treasury’s spending control and assessment procedures and functions; to assess the government’s programme for addressing economic pressures like those identified in long-term Treasury fiscal projections; to assess government agency performance in administering major spending programmes to help detect and avoid wasted spending; and, to better inform Parliament’s Finance and Expenditure Committee.

Read our report, Guarding the Public Purse: Faster growth, greater fiscal discipline.
Read our submission, New Zealand's Fiscal Policy Framework: Establishing an independent fiscal institution.

ENDS


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