The Government's large surplus is at the expense of everyday New Zealanders - and it's time for tax cuts, says National Leader Simon Bridges.

Finance Minister Grant Robertson's wallet was "bulging" but it was at the expense of New Zealanders, Bridges told RNZ.

Yesterday, the Government unveiled a $7.5 billion surplus – the largest since 2008.

Bridges said the Government's extra cash should be used for tax relief.


"It's an overtaxation on the people of New Zealand who, whilst the Government's got more money, are doing it tougher because of $7b more in petrol taxes, because of rent taxes piled on, because of electricity prices going up and up.

"Tax relief and the case for it is pretty strongly made out,"

Meanwhile, Greens co-leader James Shaw said the Government "can't afford not to" spend the surplus on tackling some of the country's most critical issues.

In a short statement sent to media this morning, Shaw – who along with Robertson wrote the Budget Responsibility Rules in opposition – called on the Government to ramp up its spending.

"This Government has clearly established its economic credentials," Shaw, who is also the Associate Finance Minister, said.

"Now we can seriously take on the task of eliminating poverty and inequality, strengthen our public services and infrastructure which were so severely run down by the previous Government, and take the strong climate action which is so crucial to all of our wellbeing.

"We can't afford not to."

"This Government has clearly established its economic credentials," Greens co-leader James Shaw, who is also the Associate Finance Minister, said. Photo / Mark Mitchell

This time last year, Shaw was making the exact same call after the 2018 Crown-accounts revealed the Government had a $5.5 billion surplus.


"What good is a surplus if you have people living in cars or garages – that makes no sense," he said this time last year.

"Frankly, a surplus is inefficient if you don't use it."

Yesterday, the Treasury unveiled the Crown-accounts – a detailed look into the Government's books.

It showed the Government has a $7.5 billion surplus and is well under its self-imposed debt and spending limits.

Since the Crown-accounts were made public yesterday, a number of organisations have called for a Government spend up.

PSA National Secretary Glenn Barclay, for example, said the Government needed to "fulfil its mandate and build a country we can all be proud to live in".

"The PSA urges the Government to reconsider its self-imposed Budget Responsibility Rules and spend the money required to cover existing shortfalls and build a social safety net that can improve the lives of all New Zealanders."

Robertson yesterday suggested the Government was gearing up to spend more money, given the books were in such good shape.

"Fiscal policy has a part to play alongside monetary policy as we manage these challenging global economic conditions," he said yesterday.

In other words, the Government needs to spend more money as the Reserve Bank cuts interest rates and the global economy turns.

He said the strong position of the Crown accounts would allow the Government to make "record investments" in health and education.