Friday, December 22, 2023

Cam Slater: Robertson Left a Sea of Red Ink

It is ironic that Labour’s colours are red, the same colour as the sea of red ink in the Government’s books left by arguably the worst Finance Minister in New Zealand’s history, Grant Robertson.

Grant Robertson should be ashamed. The books are in much worse shape than we knew before the election. But worse are the ‘fiscal risks’ which weren’t public – and ought to have been.

The Taxpayers’ Union outlines just how bad the books are:
  • There are seven new significant financial risks in today’s document that were not disclosed [to] the public, or the Opposition, prior to the election.
  • Crown tax revenue over the forecast period is now expected to be $1.6b lower than the same forecast made just 3 months ago.
  • Deficits are larger – that means we’re going to need a bigger debt clock!
  • Unless we change tack, and quickly, by 2028, the Government will be spending more taxpayer money on paying just the interest on debt than they will be spending on primary and secondary schools.
  • And the the return to surplus in 2027 is wafer thin. Three months ago it was $2.07 billion. Now it’s just a $140 million forecast surplus.
  • Economic growth is expected to slow and remain low. Despite Treasury’s figures being finalised before Stats NZ’s negative GDP figures (released last week) things are bleak.
  • GDP growth per capita (the only measure that really matters) will continue to decline for the next two years. New Zealand (and New Zealanders) are getting poorer.
  • Inflation is expected to be higher than forecast prior to the election – this means families will face higher price rises and higher interest rates for even longer.
  • Unemployment has increased and is expected to now hit 5.2%
  • Wage growth is slowing
  • Productivity is also hitting a wall
The books are clearly not in good shape; much of it came as a surprise, and New Zealanders need to brace themselves for tough but necessary decisions ahead.

The status quo is not a viable option. The full budget is going to have to be harsh to turn the economy around.

The Government has no choice other than to cut wasteful spending. Naturally, the left will attack each and every dollar cut as sacred dollars that should never be cut. But they should be ignored. They are economic vandals and saboteurs.

The evidence keeps on building that Grant Robertson is far more dishonest about the books than when Mike Moore lied about them in the dying days of the Lange/ Douglas/ Palmer/ Moore regime.

The release of today’s Half Year Economic and Fiscal Update confirms the worst kept secret in Wellington; the fiscal challenges ahead are much worse than the public were told about prior to the election.

From the Treasury lock-up, Executive Director of the Taxpayers’ Union, Jordan Williams, said:

“Treasury has confirmed that the last government put New Zealand on a completely unsustainable fiscal path. Grant Robertson should be ashamed, as not since his mentor Mike Moore has a government been so dishonest with the public about what was really going on. He should be issuing an apology.

“It is very clear that tough decisions – and a brave Minister of Finance – are necessary to get the books back into shape.

“The economic backdrop is nearly as bad, with high net migration dragging us into positive growth – but only just. On a per person basis, New Zealand still faces getting poorer in the short term.

“Now that we know that the Pre-election Economic and Fiscal Update was in fact a fantasy land, we need to ask ourselves how our fiscal reporting model and institutions have failed taxpayers.

“After Mike Moore lied to New Zealanders about the state of the books in 1990, the Fiscal Responsibility Act was put in place to ensure there were no post-election ‘nasty surprises’ like those which we have seen today. Like back then, it is not so much the numbers, as the laundry-list of fiscal risks that are only seeing the light of day now. Items that Treasury has disclosed today were absent from the pre-election update; that is clearly not good enough.

“This feels a lot like 1990, which led to Ruth Richardson’s ‘mother of all budgets’ the following year. Budget 2024 is going to require Nicola Willis to be made of stern stuff.

“While responsibility for the poor state of the books rests with Grant Robertson, Treasury too must accept some responsibility for the lack of transparency.” 
Taxpayers’ Union

Whenever Grant Robertson opens his gob he should be shouted down, until he quits parliament and leaves. His reckons are as crap as his Dad’s fraudulent accounting.

Labour cannot be trusted with the Treasury Benches, and this new Government needs to remind people of that constantly over the next three years.

Labour used to bang on about ‘nine years of neglect’; this Government needs to start saying ‘Six Years of Sabotage’.

Cam Slater is a New Zealand-based blogger, best known for his role in Dirty Politics and publishing the Whale Oil Beef Hooked blog, which operated from 2005 until it closed in 2019. Cam blogs regularly on the BFD - where this article was sourced.


Anonymous said...

Robertson's arrogance over this shocking exposure of his incompetence demonstrates his actual ability as Minister of finance = none.

He should resign.

Anonymous said...

Red ink from a RED PARTY. No surprises there then.

The only question is WHY the RED PARTY keep getting voted in??

Hazel Modisett said...

That's what happens when you grant specialist portfolios to muppets with nothing more than a Political Science degree & then wonder why they spend even more money on consultants. Imagine a competent govt, where the Finance minister came from the Finance/Banking world, Education ministers were ex teachers/principals, Health ministers were actual doctors. Too simple a concept I imagine...getting real people into politics instead of woke ideologues that follow every daft idea coming out of the UN, WHO, WEF etc.
Strip Robertson of his govt pension & privileges & send him back to New World to wrap & stack veges at minimum wage as penance for his crimes against NZers.
And while your at it, can someone stuff a sock in Hipkins mouth ? The s@#t that he spews in parliament must be bad for the environment...

John S said...

Hipkins is just returning to form. Small boys in short pants shouldnt be in politics. They should stick to their university level protests.

Basil Walker said...

Well said Taxpayers Union that Nicola Willis "has to be made of stern stuff " which is a reasonable wish of a person to handle competently a massive job of Minister of Finance .
Nicola Willis needs strong support from each of the Coalition three leaders over and above support due to a cabinet minister because the MSM will be merciless until someone has the fortitude to sue the MSM and management personally for treason or misconduct in office.

Anonymous said...

MSM should never be goverment owned it's that simple. They just become a mouth peice for the government of the day.