Bill dicks John’s books

A surplus was promised, and by whatever underhanded means possible, a surplus will be delivered.

The Government has been accused of massaging its books to ensure it reaches its goal of a budget surplus this year.

Treasury papers obtained by ONE News show that delaying spending on the Canterbury rebuild and increasing alcohol taxes are ways of boosting the figures, with current forecasts indicating the Government is set to miss the surplus by half a billion dollars due to falling dairy prices.

“To delay expenditure simply for what amounts to a political target is just offensive,” Council of Trade Unions economist Bill Rosenberg said.

Other Treasury suggestions include slowing down $33m in overseas aid spending by a year, increasing charges levelled at overseas visitors, and holding back on $100m in proposed cuts to ACC levies.

You can see why SkyCity and Team New Zealand are up against it. ? They are looking at squeezing the last few million out of the books just to make sure the bad dairy results can be compensated for. ?

It suggested delaying $20m from the Christchurch rebuild in briefing notes to Finance Minister Bill English last year.

“What Treasury was doing was providing advice about how you could massage that political goal for the National Party,” Green Party co-leader Russell Norman said.

Prime Minister John Key said Treasury was independent.

“We don’t put together the books.”

The Government took up Treasury’s suggestion to delay ACC cuts last year.

“So it meant businesses had to pay an extra $120 million in ACC levies,” Dr Norman said.

Mr Key said they were passing levy reductions as quickly as possible.

ACC are sitting on a ridiculously large surplus, largely through good management and the removal of ridiculously low thresholds that saw people getting ACC for a little sport massage after the game. ?Ok, it was called physio, but you know what was happening.

It’s excellent to see things tightened up. ?But that doesn’t mean much unless this is handed on to the taxpayer who have now been overpaying ACC levies for some time for no other reason than to assist in John and Bill’s plan to show a surplus.

A little creative accounting is ok, but this is now so blatant, it loses its effect. ?When John and Bill deliver their “surplus”, everyone now knows it’s just deferred spending and deferred cuts that are making that number stand up.

Is it really so bad to say we’re half a billion down the toilet on expectations because of the global dairy slump? ? It’s not as if it’s a secret. ?And it isn’t National’s fault.

Why try and hide it and in the process look like idiots?


– One News