Winston Peters has opened the door for potentially loosening the Budget Responsibility Rules, but not until after the next election. Thomas Coughlan reports.
Peters told the weekly post-Cabinet press conference that it was possible the rules may be looked at in three years’ time.
The Budget Responsibility Rules were entered into by Labour and the Greens before the election, but not New Zealand First. The rules did not feature in the coalition agreement between New Zealand First and Labour, although Labour insisted the spending promises contained within that agreement could be accommodated within the rules.
The rules, particularly that which limits the Government’s debt-to-GDP ratio to 20 percent, have come under increased criticism for limiting the Government's capacity to plug the country’s infrastructure deficit.
Green party co-leader James Shaw has already opened up the possibility of reviewing the rules “later in the term”. His co-leader Marama Davidson told Newsroom she remained opposed to them.
Finance Minister Grant Robertson remains broadly supportive of the rules and has maintained that they will help the Government in the event of a “rainy day”.
This was echoed by Peters on Monday who said that it was important to “ensure that we have got enough aside for a rainy day”.