Bill English: Since 2004 core expenditure has risen from $41.9 billion to $63.5 billion
3rd Apr 09, 3:51pm
2. CRAIG FOSS (National"”Tukituki) to the Minister of Finance: How much has core Crown expenditure increased over the past 5 years? Hon BILL ENGLISH (Minister of Finance) : Since June 2004 core Crown expenditure has risen from $41.9 billion to $63.5 billion. That is an increase of 51 percent over the last 5 years. In that time the economy grew by just 23 percent and tax revenue by 24 percent. Craig Foss: Where has the burden of this increased expenditure fallen? Hon BILL ENGLISH: Most public expenditure programmes bring benefits to the community. However, over the next few years we will have to carefully weigh up the benefits of increased expenditure with the benefits that that expenditure would have to the community. The burden of extra expenditure falls on all taxpayers, and taxpayers will want to know that it is all used productively. That is why the Government is going through a process of prioritising its expenditure. Hon David Cunliffe: Can the Minister confirm that his answer to the first question mixed real and nominal numbers, and thereby misled the House and the public? Hon BILL ENGLISH: The answer is no, but it is quite clear that Government expenditure cannot continue to grow significantly faster than the growth of the economy. Craig Foss: What would be the consequences if these expenditure trends were to continue? Hon BILL ENGLISH: The consequences of expenditure growing significantly faster than the economy"”and particularly when revenue is dropping"”would be an unacceptable level of debt. This Parliament needs to keep in mind, as the Government does, that every dollar borrowed now will have to be repaid with interest by some future taxpayer, and every time the Labour Opposition complains about the Government reprioritising, taxpayers need to remember that it simply means more debt.