New Zealand Labour Party

Bill English’s face is redder than his books

The Government owes New Zealanders an apology for failing to deliver the surplus it spent four years and two election campaigns promising, says Labour’s Finance spokesperson Grant Robertson.

“Bill English’s face is redder than the Crown accounts. This is the political test he set himself, and he has failed.

“John Key promised Kiwis a surplus, asking Kiwi families to knuckle down for years and trust the Government to get it right. New Zealanders have stuck to their side of the bargain. 

“Treasury forecasts out today show National hasn’t; with almost $1 billion wiped off the surplus since the May budget. The economic decline has been so dramatic that even the 2015/16 surplus is in danger.

“Less than three months into its third term National is already back-pedaling on its election tax cut promise.

“Not only is the Government not getting the books into the black but growth and exports are declining. And worst of all Kiwis’ forecast rise in wages is as much of a mirage as the promised surplus.

“John Key needs to be upfront with Kiwis and make it clear we are certainly not ‘on the cusp of something special’. He’s got it wrong.

“The Government’s economic plan of milking the dairy sector is curdling at a worrying rate. The international milk price has halved since February and $6 billion will be taken out of the economy with the drop in Fonterra’s milk pay-out.

“It needs to rebalance the economy so businesses and exporters can create the jobs and decent wages that Kiwis deserve.

“Bill English must commit to not playing tricks to get back into the black. If he is going to manufacture a surplus by fiddling the books he needs to tell New Zealanders what services will be cut.

“National doesn’t just have a deficit of money, it’s has a deficit of ideas. It’s time for a new direction,” says Grant Robertson.