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
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.