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Labour Opposes Fiscal Responsibility Tinkering

Minor amendments to fiscal responsibility bill passed into law today despite Labour deciding to oppose the once bi-partisan legislation.

The third reading of the Public Finance (Fiscal Responsibility) Amendment Bill was completed by 85 to 36 with Labour, Mana and Brendon Horan opposed.

Bill English said one of the strengths of Government in New Zealand was the broad political support of the Fiscal Responsibility Act which ensured prudent fiscal policy.

This was done not through prescriptions but ensuring the Government’s policy and its effects were transparent, he said.

The bill required Governments to now also report more openly on fiscal performance compared with original forecasts with the current system of reporting against updated forecasts which tended to mask variations, English said.

Labour’s David Parker said he agreed with much Bill English said and New Zealand had done well since the introduction of prudent fiscal policy.

Parker said though it had been wrong for Treasury to allow the Government to book gains from asset sales in the Pre-election fiscal update and not book the loss of income from those assets.

He was disappointed the Government did not accept any of the reasonable amendments put forward by Labour to ensure cross-party support and as a result Labour would oppose the bill.

The bill originally suggested a cap on spending increases as part of National’s deals with ACT was heavily changed in select committee with the fiscal cap dropped.

MPs began the committee stage of the Patents Bill

Still remaining in the Urgency Motion are the committee stage and third reading of the:

Financial Markets Conduct Bill

First readings and the referral to select committee of:

Student Loan Scheme Amendment Bill (No 3)

Land Transport and Road User Charges Legislation Amendment Bill

Animal Welfare Amendment Bill

Victims' Orders Against Violent Offenders Bill

Border Processing (Trade Single Window and Duties) Bill

Social Security (Fraud Measures and Debt Recovery) Amendment Bill

Second Reading debate on:

Heritage New Zealand Pouhere Taonga Bill

Victims of Crime Reform Bill

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