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National needs to come clean on debt

The National Party needs to come clean about whether it is going to use accounting trickery to meet its debt target, Labour Finance Spokesperson Grant Robertson says.

A report on the Politik website this morning suggests National is planning to “cheat” its way to the target set by Judith Collins and Paul Goldsmith by shifting debt around the Government’s balance sheet.

This could mean National doesn’t actually pay any of the debt off instead it just moves it around.

“It is clear evidence of the chaos within the National Party. They can’t figure out how to make their massive spending promises add up, so they are trying to magic the debt away.

“Their plan looks like taking out a second mortgage and trying to hide it from your bank. You still have to pay it back – but the debt is on a different set of books.

“If National are just going to use dodgy accounting to meet their promises, then they need to be upfront with New Zealanders about that.

“This is a very sad day for the National Party, the current leadership has clearly decided to turn away from the reputation of careful fiscal management that John Key and Bill English built up,” Grant Robertson said.

“Labour has continued National’s practice of allowing Kainga Ora and NZTA to use their balance sheets to invest in housing and transport.

“This has marginally added to New Zealand’s overall debt. However what National is proposing is a massive order of magnitude greater than that. This would be a cynical exercise designed entirely to suit a political agenda.

“What New Zealand needs is the certainty and stability that Labour is providing. By my count this is the fifth or sixth change National has made to its debt policy under the three different leaders it has had since COVID-19. Their economic policy is a shambles.”