Govt on track for surplus: Key

John Key
John Key
Prime Minister John Key says the Government is still on track to reach surplus, with today's half-yearly fiscal update painting a "reasonably good picture" of the economy.

Treasury will release its half-yearly economic and fiscal update this afternoon.

Mr Key told TV3's Firstline this morning that the update would show the Government was back on track to reach surplus by 2014/15, despite some changes.

He said the Government's deficit was down from $18 billion last year to $9b this year, and was on track to drop to $4-5b next year.

Mr Key said the impact of the Government's changes since 2008 was "quite stark".

"Individually, quite often a New Zealander or groups of New Zealanders don't like an individual decision we've made. It affects them or their community or their interests, and actually that's totally fair enough."

But the overall picture was robust, he said.

"And I think New Zealanders like, ... at least, that we're dealing with the issues."

Mr Key said unemployment - at 12-year high of 7.3 per cent - was a major focus of attention.

He pointed to positive signs including the rebuild of Christchurch, movement in the Auckland property market and the encouragement of small business.

Mr Key said the Government had done a pretty good job, given the conditions it faced this year.

"If you live in a sort of dream world, as the opposition parties do, where you don't have all these things like Europe melting down and the global financial crisis and all of those things, then of course it's easy.

"But in the real world, actually I think we've done pretty well. The crime rate is falling, the health system is improving. The one number that sticks a bit is the unemployment rate, but outside of that, actually things are generally on the improve."

Mr Key said interest rates were low, the cost of living was reasonably low and the wage gap with Australia was narrowing.


Unemployment can't be that bad then?

If the military are looking for that many people then perhaps the unemployment "crisis" is not so bad? Labour does more damage to the military anyway. The decision to cancel the deal for replacements for the Skyhawks was a much bigger blow than anything happening now.

The military is just one of many sectors feeling the pinch due to the requirement of New Zealand as a country to reduce debt levels and live within its means. You can't knock the govt for that, even if it is unpalatable.

Experience more valuable than words

Sv3, yes it does depend on who you talk to, though I would love to find one doctor or nurse (outside of those who sit in an office most of the time 'managing') who would agree they are better off now than before the Govt took office. However, I think experience is more important than what others tell us.  My experience is of very understaffed emergency depts, understaffed wards, numerous 'casual agency staff' filling gaps, etc.  

Do you know the latest cuts the Govt is looking at?  They include cutting funding for many operations such as grommet surgery for children.

As for the military being in great shape, are you kidding?  The Navy can't even operate all of its ships any more - partly because they don't have enough crew (hundreds have left due to the Govt's 'civilianisation' project and freezes on wages).  Also due to them not having enough money to keep the ships operating as much as they need to.  The latest brainwave is to charge market rents for all military houses - meaning dozens more will leave as they simply won't be able to afford living near their bases.

Why do people defend this Govt, seriously - I just don't get it. Oh, and by the way, I was a National supporter until now! [abridged]

Depends who you listen to

The health professionals I talk to on the other hand are happy enough. Also, health has not hit the headlines which for a National govt is definitely a win!

As for children in poverty, did they suddenly appear since National came in? No, because despite a social welfare state there will always be a level of poverty. It's not good but it's a fact that no government anywhere has ever fixed. I'm not saying I have an answer but if you think you do then good for you.

50,000 Kiwis leaving for Aussie is not a bad thing if unemployment is actually high here. Especially as they can milk the Aussie mines dry and then come home and set themselves up (at least that's the plan of all my mates in Oz, none want to stay there).

Military falling apart at the seams? With their new NH90s - they must be so annoyed that the government only sees fit to give them hundreds of millions of dollars of new helicopters.

So what's OK about the Government? Well for a starters, inflation is low, interest rates have remained low, debt is reducing, the inflated number of public sector jobs is reducing, and they are more hands off than Helen was. Oh, and they don't rely on the Greens to gain power.


There's a surplus for those involved with the National govt and there's a massive deficit for those of us who live in the real world.

Voting with their feet

I think what is already happening is that those that can't find jobs here, instead of being forced to move elsewhere in NZ, at still increasingly low wages, they are moving to Ozzie, 50,000 a year's worth of them. That leaves us with the unemployable, the sick, depressed, angry, and old. What do you propose doing with them in John's Brave New World? Shoot them?

BTW Australia's mining boom is tipped be at its end, declining rapidly after the next 6 months. What will the Kiwi do then poor thing? Me hopes they will stay here and vote the nouvelle cuisine (low on anything) king out of office.

Are you kidding?

sV3nno - are you kidding about the "improved health sector"?

Being a health professional, and admitedly a too frequent client of the health service, I can tell you from my work experiences and from nurses and doctors I talk to - the health sector in NZ now is probably the worst (in regards to lack of resources) it has been for many, many years.

In fact, I am asking local MPs to question the Govt's claim of "1000 extra doctors and 2000 extra nurses", asking for a detailed breakdown of where these extra nurses and doctors have gone, because the main hospitals report they certainly don't know where they are! I think you will find it is called 'creative accounting'.

As for the "extra Police", New Zealand First made the biggest contribution to the Police years back, an extra 1000 I believe. Again from what the Police themselves report, the only things happening with them since National took power is constant cuts in staffing and in budgets.

As for your comment things are "OK", I wouldn't call over 100,000 children now in poverty "OK". Nor would I call over 50,000 Kiwis (many semi or highly skilled) leaving for Australia every year "OK". I also wouldn't call the education and military falling apart at the seams "OK". Please do tell us all what is "OK" in regards to the Govt's management at the moment?


Who to believe?

John Key saying things will be rosy, or maurius who says the sky is falling? The truth is somewhere in between in my opinion, i.e. we are doing OK. Convenient how maurius doesn't mention the low inflation, improved health sector, more cops etc. At least John Key faces up to his weakness, which is the unemployment figures. I personally dispute the need for such high figures - people should be made to move elsewhere within the country for work before being allowed the dole, circumstances depending.

Borrow and hope

National came to power with a policy of tax cuts mainly benefitting the rich. The government has shown no real sign of a workable plan to bring an improving export-led recovery Bill English said would save NZ. It continues to be devoid of any real policy except putting up the for sale sign to balance its budget and fuel taxes to reach a paper surplus.

We increasingly have a low wage economy. The national debt is growing at an alaming rate headed for 120b from around 36b.

The gap Mr Key said would be closing between Australia and New Zealand economies is widening, attracting more and more of New Zealand's much-needed trained work force.

Unemployment rate is increasing as few jobs have been created, it may be argued more have been lost by government policy. We have more than the required number of people coming out directly against major government policy forcing a referendum.

What we do have is a national cycle way, the Hobbit film and a very smiley salesman's promise for a very bright and shining future.




Not at the cost to the public that they are supposed to be serving with their new pay rise. If you balance the budget and cripple the workforce, where's the long term gain???

Um, Rob .. you forgot the debt

Rob why are you just pulling out one stat rather than looking at the whole picture - is it because you forgot or does it not suit your crusade?

Why just look at the Govt Overseas Debt?  Surely the policies of the govt of the day impact on what everyone does so shouldn't you be looking at Total Overseas Debt.

In 1999 total overseas debt was 97.6% of GDP Labour then managed to get that up to 136.8% of GDP in 2008 obviously through what you might term diabolical financial management since then under National's diabolical financial management the figure has come down to 125.3% of GDP.

With that rate of improvement given two more terms National would be able to wipe out all Labour's bad work and get it back to where it was when Labour took over in 1999.

Um interesting.

Key's supporters are hilarious

Look at their comments in reply to mine, you have to laugh at their obvious bias for their hero, and NZ's master of deception - John Key.

You seem to think I am a Labour/Greens supporter?  Wrong - I was a National Party supporter until I saw all the back room deals going on and the lack of planning that still hounds them.

You also seem to think National has done a great job, making things tighter instead of borrowing?  Wrong again.  National borrows on average $300 million each week, some weeks they have borrowed a billion dollars!  Only a small percentage of that was directly related to the Earthquake.  Many of the jobs they have made redundant are now done by consultants being paid two to three times more!

Maybe you should go and talk with some teachers and hear the real story.  You should also talk with some doctors and nurses and see where these extra 1000 doctors and extra 2000 nurses have gone - seems to me Dunedin Hospital and Auckland come to that have had freezes on their nurse and Doctor numbers since National took power. 


Um, John .. you forgot the debt

Note that Key doesn't mention total government overseas debt but only deficit. The graph for total debt since National came in shows diabolical financial management - it has more than doubled.  I thought this was widely known but a few people (including Key) seem to be suffering a brain freeze.

Would other parties have borrowed more to cope with the crisis? Possibly ... but they are unlikely to have tried to ofload it on the public coated in ideological 'small government' and 'free market' flavoured donkey doo doo.

Short term pain, long term gain

Rather shortsighted there GW. Surely it's good to get into a position of fiscal stability as opposed to borrowing up a storm and ending up in a position similar to that nations like Greece are in.  Cant take, take, take take forever because eventually someone's got to pay.

Pot, kettle...

This from the person who constantly complains about the negativity of others!

On taking up office, this Government has had to contend with all these things, and some: Kiwifruit vines virtually wiped out in North Island by disease; major flooding in the North Island causing huge damage to infrastructure and housing; worldwide financial recession; the September earthquake; the Pike River mine disaster; the February earthquake.
All these created flow-on effects: job losses; increased welfare dependency as people lost their homes and jobs; depressed housing market; increased migration.

None of those events were predicted by the outgoing Labour Government, and whichever party took over the leadership of the country during these times would have been hard pressed to do much more than tread water to keep our heads in the oxygen zone. To be looking at any kind of surplus at this stage is remarkable.

I believe it is also a tribute to the average Kiwi for acknowledging that belt tightening had to happen and for the most part, that is what most of us did, whether it was forced upon us or we simply realised that it was the right thing to do in these dire times. [Abridged]


Must be end of the world then

Might as well vote left wing parties in and let them "borrow and spend" again. Let future generations pay the bill.
Record unemployment? Rubbish. If a person is willing to move to where the jobs are then they will get one. Good dairy farm or gold mining jobs are always available in coastal Otago, for example.
Education system in tatters? Never was National's strong point but it's hardly in "tatters". Kids are still getting educated. Teachers were never going to buy into a National-led initiative.
Health system on brink of collapse? Since 2008 the Government has added 1000 new doctors and 2000 new nurses, and this Labour loving industry has had hardly anything to say recently because it's the only sector that constantly receives increases in the zero budgets from this Govt.
I'm sure the Mayans simply ran out of room on their calendar, so keep calm and carry on.


So what if NZ is falling apart?

So what if we have record unemployment? So what if we have record numbers of Kiwis moving to Australia?
So what if the education system is in tatters? So what if the military has almost self-destructed?
So what if the health system is on the brink of collapse? So what if almost every initiative the Government has brought in has failed?
At least we will have a surplus, and we can all feel happy. [Abridged]


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