Budget will show govt on track for surplus in 2015 – English

But the finance minister confirms it will still be a challenge.

The government is still forecasting it will get its books back into surplus in the year to June 30, 2015, and will confirm the track to that outcome in the May 16 Budget, Finance Minister Bill English said today.

In a traditional pre-Budget speech to the Wellington Employers Chamber of Commerce, Mr English said it would still be a challenge to get net government debt down to 20 percent of gross domestic product by 2020, since it was still forecast to be at 30 percent in 2017.

That meant the current stance of fiscal restraint would be "permanent".

“The government is in the midst of a comprehensive programme to make government and the economy more effective, and to create conditions to give businesses and families more confidence to invest in our shared future – despite global economic uncertainty.

“I can confirm that it will show the government remains on track to surplus in 2014-15."

The target has looked in doubt and is still subject to the proviso that the government would not pursue a Budget surplus for its own sake if there were another shock to the global financial system which required accommodative domestic policies.

“Returning to surplus in 2014-15 will complete only the first part of our task," Mr English said. “We will still have some way to go in rebuilding the fiscal buffers that have been run down in recent years."

The Budget would also focus on macro-economic stability.

“Conventional monetary policy, predictable fiscal policy and a sound financial system are precious advantages in an unstable world. We will hold on to them,” he said.

(BusinessDesk)

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