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Opportunity for greater social investment

18 December 2003

Hon Matt Robson MP, Progressive Deputy Leader

Strong fiscal outlook opportunity for greater social investment and further debt reduction


Today's December Economic and Fiscal Update shows the Labour Progressive coalition government's cautious fiscal approach has put New Zealand in a strong economic position allowing essential social and infrastructure investment and the potential for further debt reduction, said Matt Robson Progressive Deputy Leader.

"Alleviating poverty and boosting economic development go hand in hand. The work we are doing in economic development, supporting regional growth and industry development, and the investments we are making in infrastructure are showing good returns not just for business, but for working families.

"Now we have the ability to boost support for low to middle income families, something the Progressives have been advocating and supporting at Cabinet level. It is heartening to know that we have the capacity, and the government consensus, that the money is available year on year, to address this serious problem.

"The forecasts for continued economic growth and low unemployment in the December Economic and Fiscal Update are a tribute to the strength of the government's programme of investment in economic development, infrastructure and debt reduction.

"This period of economic buoyancy must be fully utilised to strengthen our economic base and support for social programmes. The Progressives will also be supporting further infrastructural and capital investment to build up our ability to survive unexpected economic shocks and less affluent times. We would also support reducing our debt, and lowering the target GDP to debt ratio of 30 per cent as we are well below that currently on 24 per cent, and are looking at a buoyant future," said Matt Robson.


ENDS

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