“Now Grant Robertson’s destructive legacy has been laid bare, the need for real change in New Zealand’s direction has never been clearer. The next Government will need to take real action to balance its budget so Kiwis can balance theirs,” says ACT Leader David Seymour.

“PREFU shows Labour has no plan for paying off debt, no plan for turning things around, every year forecast the country borrows more and more until we lose first world status.

"Spending by 2026 will be $11 billion higher than forecast just last year. That leads to far more borrowing than anticipated. Net debt is forecast to reach $100 billion by 2025. They’ve given up on New Zealand and New Zealanders need to give up on them.

"More debt means more interest. The interest bill is forecast to be $9.2 billion by 2026, exactly twice the $4.6 billion expected in BEFU 2022. We refer to the 2022 budget because COVID was over when those forecasts have made, yet the situation is much worse than forecast then. New Zealand is now spending more as a country on interest than primary and secondary school education, and twice as much as is spent on police, courts and corrections combined. Kiwis’ taxes aren’t paying for public services, they’re paying for Labour’s mismanagement.

“All this Government spending and borrowing is contributing to New Zealand’s current account deficit blow out. It remains negative, and high, throughout the forecast period. New Zealand is marking time and borrowing money to stand still, it’s like we’re still in COVID paralysis while the rest of the world has moved on.

“Robertson can’t blame Putin, can’t blame COVID, and can’t blame the weather. In the past 18 months, 2026 forecasts for crown debt have worsened by $34 billion. OBLEGAL is around $10 billion per year worse off. Government spending in 2026 is $11 billion greater than it was forecast to be 18 months ago, driven by the massive interest bill. The fallout from Grant Robertson’s borrowing is an anchor dragging New Zealand down.

ACT is challenging other parties to show New Zealanders how they would cut wasteful spending to get the Government’s books back in shape and start showing taxpayers some respect. Carrying on in the current direction is a recipe for New Zealand to become a middle-income country rather than the first world nation in an island paradise that it should be.

“There is a path back to fiscal responsibility, it starts with being brutally honest about the current situation. After years of doing less with more, the next Government must do more with less, just like Kiwi households and businesses are forced to do thanks to Grant Robertson’s irresponsibility.

“Labour has gone from spending $80 billion a year to spending $139 billion a year. That $139 billion dollar figure is itself $2 billion higher than forecast last year. In total the amount spent per person, after inflation, is up 30 per cent. Who is getting 30 per cent more value from their government services? No one.

New Zealand cannot turn around woeful productivity and gradual decline by simply baking in Labour’s wasteful spending. The economy cannot thrive when government makes up a third of it and government is doing less with more every year.

“Political leaders have a responsibility to tell taxpayers on this side of the election how they plan to start showing them some respect after 14 October. Given the disastrous state of the books, vague promises of fiscal discipline aren’t enough.

ACT has explained exactly where serious reductions in Government spending could be made. In the coming week we will do more as we update our alternative budget for the sobering reality Treasury just revealed.

“National has said it would make some savings but hasn’t told New Zealanders where it would make them. Red ink won’t simply disappear with the election of a blue Government – there needs to be a concrete plan for cutting waste.

“National is right to criticise Labour for spending over a billion dollars a week more than when it took office. But words must be backed up by actions and their spending cuts have already been made redundant. National’s proposed savings of $2 billion a year have already been offset by PREFU forecasting more than $2 billion in extra Core Crown expenses in 2024 alone.

“Criticising but then keeping wasteful programmes like Fees-Free and free school lunches is not the real change of direction New Zealand needs.

“We need to ask ourselves: Is New Zealand in deep trouble and in need of a new direction? Or are we doing fine and in need of people wearing blue suits to manage the same policies? ACT is certain that New Zealand is in deep trouble and needs a significant change of direction.

“Labour says ACT and National are the Coalition of Cuts. We say absolutely. There’s plenty of waste that needs to be cut.

“Swapping red for blue, and Chris for Chris, won’t deliver the change of direction New Zealand needs. New Zealand needs ACT for real change.”

Press Contact

[email protected]