Labour has made what it says are "minor" changes to its
fiscal plan in response to the softer economic outlook and
lower Crown revenue forecasts outlined in last week's
Pre-election Economic and Fiscal Update (Prefu).
However, that amounts to cuts in spending of $300 million a
year from what Labour proposed in its original plan and has
seen a handful of yet to be announced policies axed.
In a further trimming of its spending plans Labour is no
longer planning to adjust for inflation the approximately $1
billion a year in spending increases it earmarked to keep
pace with rising costs in core Government services including
health and education.
Finance spokesman David Parker said while Treasury had
adjusted its revenue forecasts lower in the Prefu, Labour was
maintaining its previously forecast increase in tax take from
policies including its capital gains tax because they were
conservative in the first place.
Leader David Cunliffe said Labour had retained all of its
significant commitments including policies intended to help
boost and diversify economic activity.
Given the deterioration in commodity prices including those
for dairy and logs that had prompted the revisions outlined
in the Prefu,"this investment is absolutely critical".
Among policy changes were the delay by six months of the
introduction of free doctors visits and prescriptions for
Mr Cunliffe said Labour was announcing its changes because"we
want to be upfront with the public".
He hit out at the Government for not so far fully disclosing
its plans for $1.5 billion a year cumulative spending
increases outlined in the Budget.
"It is the right of voters to know what they are going to get
for it ... it's the democratic thing to do."
- Adam Bennett of the NZ Herald