National came under attack from the Opposition yesterday with suggestions its Budget tomorrow would not deliver on its growth forecasts and that it was too ready to blame Europe.
Prime Minister John Key challenged the Opposition to support the sorts of policies that would lead to growth and jobs - including the SkyCity national convention centre, the expansion of mining, greater exports of minerals, oil and gas and growth in the agricultural sector.
In Parliament he mocked Labour's suggestion that Europe was being used as "an excuse" by the Government, referring to the recent crisis talks of G8 leaders in the United States.
"Well tell that to Angela Merkel, Barack Obama and David Cameron."
Statistics have been hurled across the chamber in the lead-up to Bill English's fourth Budget, his second "zero Budget".
Labour leader David Shearer challenged Mr Key over migration to Australia of 1000 New Zealanders a week and lower actual growth compared with forecasts.
Mr Key said he could wish away all the issues but the fact was there had been an earthquake in Christchurch and the worst global financial crisis since the Great Depression.
He said annual average growth for the year to March 2010 was forecast to be minus 1.7 per cent and it turned out to be better - minus 1.2 per cent. The March 2011 forecast was 1.8 per cent and turned out to be 1.6 per cent.
He said 60,000 jobs had been created in two years and said he looked forward to Labour's support for the national convention centre and the expansion of mining.
NZ First leader Winston Peter asked how Mr Key could have confidence in Mr English when borrowing would increase to $75 billion over the next five years.
Greens co-leader Russel Norman was concerned with a deteriorating current account deficit.
Speaking earlier in the day, Mr English has rejected any notion that his fourth Budget tomorrow could be called an "austerity" budget. He said it was a "ridiculous way" to describe what many Governments were doing.
The Government was striking the right balance between supporting the economy when it was under stress while planning for longer term growth.
The Government was taking its lead from New Zealand households: "Spend very carefully, borrow less, get our debt down, and be choosy about where we invest our capital."
Earlier budgets have been aimed at steering investors away from property and consumption. Mr English said he was not concerned about a revival in the property market.By Audrey Young Email Audrey