National’s Half Year Economic and Fiscal Update commitment to significant spending restraint is commendable, but needs to backed by credible measures to ensure that proposed spending disciplines are sustainable, ACT Leader John Banks said today.
“Forecasting future spending restraint is the easy bit, it’s the doing that is hard. The big spanner in the works is the prospect of a Labour-led Government with Russel Norman at the levers of Treasury, spending big and printing money,” Mr Banks said.
“If we are to get the Government off the backs and out of the pockets of hard pressed taxpayers we must not only reduce the size of government, but also put legislation in place which makes future Governments more accountable to taxpayers for increases in spending.
“ACT’s Spending Limit legislation would see a cap put in place on government spending which would be tied to inflation and population growth. If spending busts through the cap politicians will need to explain to taxpayers why this has occurred.
“Like the Public Finance Act, the Spending Cap would encourage greater accountability and transparency, leading to a more efficient, effective and innovative state sector, and ultimately higher living standards.
“Taxpayers understand the government is spending beyond its means and have taken the government at its word that it will start to repay debt in 2014 – 2015.
“Introducing a spending cap would give taxpayers greater confidence that these future forecasts will come to fruition and will not be derailed by future governments spending up large with taxpayers’ dollars.
“It will make for more efficient government and that is good for taxpayers,” Mr Banks said.
The Half-Year Economic and Fiscal Update can be found here: