Steven Joyce won't be "getting too carried away with the chequebook" as he keeps the Government's focus on fiscal control and paying down debt.

"We've got to do the right things to make sure we keep growing - that's important," said the Finance Minister.

"But also keep our feet on the ground and realise that there are risks out there. So, not get too carried away with the chequebook - whether that is households, firms, or the government."

New Zealand's consistent economic growth on the back of increased net immigration has put strong pressure on housing stocks and infrastructure - particularly in Auckland where the population went up by 42,600 last year.


Joyce - who yesterday picked up infrastructure in the Cabinet reshuffle - acknowledges the Kaikoura quakes will also add to his challenge.

Last week, Auckland Mayor Phil Goff renewed his campaign for new funding models to meet an estimated $4 billion deficit over 10 years for new infrastructure outlined in the Auckland Transport Alignment Plan. But Joyce rules out Goff's proposal for a 10 per cent interim fuel tax in Auckland to help bridge the funding gap.

"There is a reason the economy is running a bit better," Joyce said.

"One of the reasons is government has learned to live within its means, and not crowd out the private sector, and not add a whole lot of new taxes.

"You can't just pretend that you can add a significant extra tax burden and not slow the place down.

"While everyone has a reason for a visitor levy or a fuel tax, it's the old line - a hundred million here and a hundred million there - it soon adds up to real money."

Like Prime Minister Bill English, who yesterday suggested Auckland also had to look to its own solutions on the housing front, Joyce said the Auckland Council had to look deeper.

"You don't fund it out of tax flow, you fund it out of debt to a degree. I know Phil has a plan to get right into the bowels of that," he said.


"We had to do that ourselves. And then you've got models that help with a short term burst as the balance sheet and income expansion grows.

"We'll work our way through it."

Superannuation was also a key issue but Joyce does not expect to renew Government contributions to the NZ Super Fund.

"I don't think we'd do it ahead of what we said we would" (when Government debt is reduced to below 20 per cent of GDP).

What he says the Government will do is talk about tax. "It is part of the equation, and a lot of the things people are concerned about - about whether the family has enough income to get ahead - is the tax system.

"I will be interested to look around the incentives for work, and the reward for hard work," he said.

"That's about strengthening the balance sheet of the country. It's standing us in good stead."