government debt

Just because you and I need to save more, who says the government needs to do the same? With cheap money around, how about we turn this whole austerity kick on its head and start talking about growth?

It's a lock. Ten out of ten. No room for doubt. Bill English is going to deliver a surplus a surplus in 2014/15 come hell or low tax take. That was the message from the Finance Minister on Q+A.

Bill English's third Budget has laid foundations. For a couple of short-term goals, in particular. But what's the point if those foundations are being undermined even as they are laid?

In his barn-storming, even cocky, address to the House yesterday, John Key let slip what this budget was really all about - twice. Was it growing the economy? No, that's not the work of conservative governments. Was it saving jobs? Nope, that was last year's message. Was it savings, as he had promised it would be in his address to parliament in February?

So, a record deficit huh? The scene is being painted for a chop-chop Budget, but is our public debt really that bad? Let's take a look at our history...

So, in two days time Bill English will announce that we have the largest deficit EVER by a New Zealand government. All round the world folk have seen stories of how our deficit will be $15-17 billion. Cue wailing and gnashing of teeth.

The earthquake will ask some tough questions of all politicians this year - What will they cut? How much can they borrow? Either way, the government's austerity plans are on hold

Even as the funerals begin, the release of names continues to give flesh and blood to the tragedy and grief keeps clutching at us, the political and economic reality of this earthquake is starting to come to the fore. Like liquefaction.

John Key wants to cut taxes, maintain spending and not saddle future generations with debt. But no country can cut its revenue and increase expenditure at the same time, so conflicted Key faces a hard choice

So John Key's still playing it coy on 2010 and 2011's tax cuts and yet is promising to borrow a whopping $40 billion over the next three years. Amidst the Prime Minister's tentative appearance on Q+A yesterday morning were some interesting nuggets of information.