20 Dec 2023

What to expect from today's 'mini-Budget'

7:02 am on 20 December 2023
Nicola Willis

Finance Minister Nicola Willis Photo: RNZ / Samuel Rillstone

Finance Minister Nicola Willis will pull back the curtain on the government's finances today, revealing what she calls the snakes and snails left behind by Labour.

She will debut her mini-Budget this afternoon, though she has stressed it will not be at the same scale as seen in previous years.

Willis said she was excited to publicly share its details.

"It's a little bit like the night before a big exam, it's my first time. I'm excited to show New Zealanders the progress that we have been making and I'm determined we will keep making progress beyond the mini-Budget and the build-up to the real Budget next year."

Since becoming finance minister, Willis has accused the previous Labour government of "economic vandalism" and says they made a mess of the government books.

The mini-Budget would make clear the scale of the financial challenges facing the government, Willis said.

"We'll outline our initial response to those challenges, including demonstrating some of the savings and reprioritisation we've already committed to and signalling next steps in order to both put the books back in order and deliver income tax reduction," Willis said.

Associate Finance Minister David Seymour was hosing down expectations of significant cuts to public spending in the mini-Budget.

"You're not going to see big cuts tomorrow but what you may see is a government that's getting ready to bring down a Budget in May that confronts reality for the first time in six years.

"Under the previous government, under Labour, we lived in la-la land. We're all in debt and paying for it, this government is here to sort it out."

The government was unable to roll out big cuts to government spending at this time of year, Seymour said, adding that would likely come in May.

Labour finance spokesperson Grant Robertson said he would be looking for information in the mini-Budget on how the government planned to pay for its promised tax cuts.

"The National Party have continued to describe operating allowances that are needed to pay for cost pressures in future budgets, as a buffer for their tax cuts. That is wrong and I do think ... the National Party is trying to cover up the fact that they didn't put enough money aside to do the basics right in Budget 2024."

The details of the mini-Budget will be released publicly at 1pm.

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