National has quietly dropped its long-promised return to surplus by this year by removing the date it will get the books back in the black from its online campaign material, says Labour’s Finance Spokesperson Grant Robertson.
“National’s pledge to reach surplus by this year must rate as one of the longest-running political promises ever. But not only are Bill English and John Key trying to claim it’s an ‘artificial target’, the whole pledge is being quietly erased from National’s history.
“In National’s Our 2014 Priorities election campaign document its first priority is: ‘Return to budget surplus in 2014/15’.
“But its Our 2015 Priorities document now uses the phrase: ‘Return the Government's books to surplus’, and has erased the all-important date.
“Bill English set a new bar for fiscal contortions yesterday by trying to claim the surplus promise was a ‘somewhat artificial target’ and he wouldn’t deliver a surplus ‘just to satisfy’ the opposition.
“That shows just how out of touch the Finance Minister has become. New Zealanders know an election promise when they see one, especially when it was repeated hundreds of times over seven years and two election campaigns.
"National should stop trying to rewrite history and just admit it is on the cusp of breaking the longest running political promise New Zealanders have ever seen,” Grant Robertson says.