Businesses are warning the government not to loosen the purse-strings after another mostly healthy assessment of its finances. The mid-year look at the government's books shows a forecast surplus of $1.7 billion in 2019. Treasury's also predicting the economy will grow at about three percent for the next few years. The Council of Trade Unions says it's time to devote the growing surplus to more urgent needs. But Business New Zealand's head Kirk Hope told our political reporter Craig McCulloch now is not the time to abandon the budget responsibility rules.