Every commentator on the day that the hole was alleged agreed that labour does not have much spare cash at all left in its budget plan. The whole idea of sound budgeting is you have a contingency for each year and decide how that contingency is spent at the start of the year, not years in advance.
You do not spend that contingency in advance and ask people to believe that you will staying with this budget rather than cut back or introduce new taxes. The point reinforced when the labour opposition promise no new taxes.
The whole idea is budgeting is you explain your expected revenues, anticipated expenditures and have a contingency. If you have no free cash, no real contingency allowance, your budget plan is not credible.
But on Monday evening I was sent some analysis of the fiscal outlook prepared by a group of former senior Treasury officials, who were keen that I should give it some coverage. They are keen to retain anonymity, but I know all those involved, and have a considerable regard for most of them. Most, in my observation, would also seem considerably more likely to vote for ACT than for, say, Labour or parties to its left. But what they sent me wasn’t particularly value-laden; it was an attempt at a technocratic assessment of some of the basic pressures on government finances over the next few years.
I’m not going to swamp you with numbers And trying to unpick and…
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