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English sets budget date, promises 'no surprises'

Finance Minister Bill English will deliver his fourth budget on 24 May. 

The finance minister is playing down Budget 2012 more than is even usual for finance ministers at this state in the political cycle, saying there will be "no surprises".

In a short prepared statement, Mr English said the budget "will focus on implementing the government’s clear and comprehensive plan to build a more productive and competitive economy,” focusing on three issues - responsible management of the government's finances; building a more productive and competitive economy; deliver better public services within tight financial constraints; and rebuild Christchurch.

He reiterated the government's intent to return to surplus by the 2014/15 year - something few economists think is likely. 

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