Finance Minister Grant Robertson has stuck to his guns on the Government's debt targets in his pre-Budget speech in Auckland this morning.
Roberston's debt position has been criticised by both the left and the right, with questions over whether it should be relaxed to fund important infrastructure investment.
In a pre-Budget speech hosted by Westpac this morning, Robertson said he was committed to paying down Crown debt.
"There has been quite a lot of comment about the Budget Responsibility Rules.
"Today I want to re-assure you that we are committed to them as much as we are to the investments needed to transform our economy. Both are possible and both are necessary," he said.
"It goes without saying that a Government that presides over high deficits, increasing debt, or a shrinking economy would not be able to provide the critical and quality public services that New Zealanders want and deserve," he said.
"We will reduce the level of net core Crown debt to 20 per cent of GDP within five years of taking office. We have made this commitment to ensure that future generations of New Zealanders are in a position to be able to respond effectively to any shocks – natural or economic," Robertson said.
This Government will prioritise investments to address the long-term financial and sustainability challenges facing New Zealand. We will maintain Government expenditure within the recent historical range of spending to GDP, which has averaged around 30 percent over the last 20 years," he said.