24 Mar 2017

Labour and Greens sign economy plan

6:34 am on 24 March 2017

Labour and the Greens have released a set of rules they say will give New Zealanders certainty about the approach an alternative government would take to managing the economy.

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Labour and the Greens have set out five points the two parties will abide by should they form a Government after the election. Photo: RNZ

The parties say they will abide the Budget Responsibility Rules should they form a government after the September election.

The rules include:

  • Delivering an operating surplus
  • Reducing net core Crown debt to 20 percent of GDP within five years of taking office
  • Maintaining the current track of core Crown expenditure

Labour Party finance spokesperson Grant Robertson said the framework was a balanced and responsible approach to managing the economy.

"It's really important to give New Zealanders some certainty about the approach that an alternative government would take to fiscal policy.

"This is a framework. These are rules that we are happy to be held accountable to when we are in government."

Mr Robertson said the two parties would still have their own distinct economic policies they would take into the election.

"This is the reality of MMP, individual parties will have their own policies, what we are signing up to here is a framework, which needs to be read together.

"We've set ourselves some pretty strict rules around expenditure, around surpluses, around debt, we will adhere to those.

"The individual policies will be the subject of whatever negotiation we hopefully get to have after the election."

Green Party finance spokesperson James Shaw said the agreement told the electorate they would be responsible fiscal managers.

He said his party agreed to Labour's plan for a tax working group to review the tax system.

"We have a sense that there is some urgency particular in terms of climate change and relation to the housing market.

"Like any coalition government we'll work out after the election the extent to which we're able to influence government policy as a result of that."

Labour and the Greens would set up an independent body to make sure the rules were being adhered to, which Mr Shaw said was an extension of an existing Green Party policy.

"Last year we proposed having an independent agency that would cost the policy promises of all political parties and what we are doing here is we are extending that to say actually they should also be assessing the government itself to make sure that it is living up to its committments."

Mr Shaw said the rules would mean the two parties had a common set of principles they could refer to when they were negotiating in Government.