National leader Christopher Luxon is promising to introduce a “taxpayers’ receipt” as one of three initiatives to promote fiscal discipline in a potential National Government.
Luxon, delivering his pre-Budget speech in Auckland, announced three methods he would use to make Government more fiscally disciplined if National won this year’s election.
“I am sick of taxpayers being treated like a bottomless ATM, to be raided at any time, for any reason,” Luxon said.
The first method was implementing a requirement for Treasury to report annually on the performance of major programmes to “demonstrate whether they are achieving results”.
The second was a “taxpayers’ receipt” from Inland Revenue that would allow people to find out what their taxes were paying for and any Government payments received.
According to Luxon, it would list what sector a person’s taxes had been devoted to.
The third initiative was the re-introduction of public sector chief executives having their pay linked to achievement. Luxon said he would extend this to apply to deputy chief executives as well.
He will deliver his pre-Budget speech this afternoon, as the country counts down to Budget day this Thursday.
It is likely to focus on fiscal discipline - keeping a lid on spending. The speech will begin at 1pm and be broadcast on the Herald.
Prime Minister Chris Hipkins and Finance Minister Grant Robertson have given their pre-Budget speeches, laying the narrative ground for a “balanced” Budget.
Hipkins ruled out “major” tax changes, including a capital gains tax and a wealth tax in this Budget. Robertson said he had found $4 billion in savings over the four-year Budget period.
That money goes back into the pot of money that can be spent on other initiatives in the Budget.
Luxon has already said that Labour’s pre-Budget signalling has been “too little, too late”.
“This is a Government that over the last five-and-a-half years has become the second-biggest-spending government in the developed world, it was the fourth-biggest government in printing cash, and it restricted and shut down our economy like nowhere else,” Luxon said.
“Four months out from an election, Chris Hipkins has all of a sudden discovered that actually controlling and being disciplined spending of taxpayer money is actually important. Well, it’s always been important,” he said.
National’s finance spokeswoman Nicola Willis called Robertson’s pre-Budget speech last week a “resignation letter”, which focused too much on National rather than the Budget itself.
Robertson also teased the idea that the Government’s most recent forecasts will show the state of the Government’s books deteriorating at least in the near term, largely in response to the slowing economy.
Last week, Robertson warned the “IMF [International Monetary Fund] again downgraded its forecasts for global growth in 2023, to the point that growth in advanced economies is now expected to be only 1.3 per cent”.
“Over the next five years, the global economy is set to grow at the slowest pace since the 1990s,” he said.
New Zealand would likely feel the effects of such a slowdown.
On the weekend, the Government announced further support for regions hit by Cyclone Gabrielle.
The support totalled $941 million and included $475m to rebuild road and rail links, which will take funding pressure off local councils.
Roughly $100m has been set aside to raise stopbanks and shore up lifelines that failed during record rainfalls, which includes utilities such as water, wastewater, transport, energy and telecommunications.
There’s also a Government commitment to rebuild or repair every damaged school - the worst-hit of whom have been told it will be up to three years before they can return.