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Government may cut National's 'unbudgeted' projects as it runs ruler over the books

Monday 4th December 2017

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Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern says her government may scrap projects announced by the previous administration, some of which didn't have money set aside for them in the budget.

At the post-Cabinet media conference this afternoon, Ardern said that all her ministers were working through their appropriations to see whether commitments made by the previous government are "in line with what we would like to achieve as a government", and she had been surprised by the lack of budgeting by the last government.

"There's no doubt that every day in office brings a new surprise of things that I would have had an expectation that the past government would have budgeted for - particularly where they may have announced something - but didn't," Ardern said. "Some of the expectations we had were that where announcements had been made around capital expenditure, that that would have been set aside, but that hasn't always proven to be the case."

"The lens we're applying there is: is it one of our priorities or not? We've already given some examples, for instance in roading, we don't consider it a priority in line with what we want to achieve as a government."

Ardern said she was confident the government would meet its pre-election budget responsibility commitment to reduce net core Crown debt to 20 percent of GDP within five years.

"We have commitments we have made, which we will be factoring into both the next budget and the half-yearly fiscal update," she said. "As we've worked through them, we're confident we can still maintain our budget responsibility rules."

Ardern said the government would give more detail on how its $1 billion regional development fund will be funded, whether from capital expenditure or operational expenditure, at the half-yearly fiscal update (HYEFU) on November 14.

(BusinessDesk)



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