Treasury and Finance Minister Bill English unveiled a healthier budget outlook on Tuesday that immediately reduced wholesale interest rates by 10 basis points and raised hopes of a sovereign credit rating upgrade next year.
Finance Minister Bill English set Tuesday December 17 as the date for the Half Year Economic and Fiscal Update (HYEFU) and spelt out in a little more detail the choices facing the government as it heads for surplus in 2014/15.
The Government and the Auckland Council are set to announce later this week where their new Special Housing Areas will be created. The move is a fresh sign they are stepping up their efforts to fast-track new land supply and home building to meet their Housing Accord target of building 39,000 houses in three years.
Finance Minister Bill English is standing firm in his opposition to restarting contributions to the NZ Super Fund before the Government's current schedule of 2020/21. This is despite a growing momentum in the budget towards a larger and earlier surplus than the current budget target of 2014/15.
Finance Minister Bill English was pleased with the improving budget figures he unveiled on Monday, but he acknowledged the jury was still out on whether the economy had truly rebalanced away from housing-led consumption spending fuelled by foreign debt. He acknowledged the surge of investment in construction and the high New Zealand dollar had delayed the expected rebalancing.
Finance Minister Bill English warned against a 'political lolly scramble' when he unveiled a better-than-expected set of accounts for 2012/13 on Monday. His comments in a news conference staged to release the Crown accounts for 2012/13 were aimed at his Labour and Green opponents, but he could just as easily have been looking over his shoulder at his colleagues in the National cabinet.
Prime Minister John Key has signaled budget figures due out next Monday are likely to show a smaller budget deficit than current market expectations and he was confident the government would meet its target of being in surplus by 2014/15.