Home > Dollars & Sense, The Body Politic > Budget 2014 – Why we will soon owe $70 billion under this government…

Budget 2014 – Why we will soon owe $70 billion under this government…


NZ Government overseas debt 1993 to 2012

Graphic courtesy of The Daily Blog


A few reasons why our debt skyrocketed from 2008 onwards…

1. The Global Financial Crisis, which reduced corporate turnover and export receipts, thereby lowering the company tax take;

2. Two tax cuts (2009 and 2010) reduced government revenue, thereby necessitating borrowing more from offshore  to make up the difference. In essence, we borrowed from other peoples’ saving to put more money in our (mostly top incomer earners) pockets.

Using Parliament Library information, the Greens have estimated that this involved borrowing an extra couple of billion each year.

3. National could have kept Debt down by investing in job creation. Key’s cycleway project was promised to create 4,500 new jobs  – it failed spectacularly.

Instead, job creation was largely left to “the market”, which itself was having to engage in mass redundancies for businesses to survive the economic downturn.

This meant more expenditure on unemployed which went from 3.4% in 2008 to 7.3% by 2012 (currently sitting at 6% for the last two Quarters).

Ironically, part of our current economic “boom” is predicated on the Christchurch re-build – evidence that had National engaged in a mass housing construction programme in 2009, after it held it’s mostly ineffectual “Jobs Summit”, we would have;

A. Maintained higher employment,

B. Paid out less in welfare,

C. Persuaded more New Zealanders to stay home and not go to Australia to find work,

D. Addressed the current housing crisis we now have.

As usual, National’s short-sightedness; irresponsible 2008 election year tax-cut bribes; and misguided reliance on market forces resulted in New Zealand borrowing more than we really needed to.




NZ Herald: Govt borrowing $380m a week

Scoop media: Govt’s 2010 tax cuts costing $2 billion and counting

NZ Parliament: Government Proposals—Cycleway and Nine-day Working Fortnight

NZ Herald: Cycleway jobs fall short

Statistics NZ: Employment and Unemployment – March 2008 Quarter

Statistics NZ: Household Labour Force Survey: September 2012 quarter

Fairfax NZ: Jobs summit ‘fails to deliver’

TVNZ News: OECD report shows housing crisis in NZ – Labour

TVNZ News: Christchurch rental crisis ‘best left to market’ – Govt


Fairfax media: Public debt climbs by $27m a day

Fairfax media: Budget 2014: The essential guide

Previous related blogposts

Can we do it? Bloody oath we can!





The Cost of Living

Above image acknowledgment: Francis Owen/Lurch Left Memes



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  1. Mick
    24 May 2014 at 3:53 pm

    Key clearly has poor leadership skills and still he is held in awe by so many New Zealanders ! Is it just the appalling Media coverage that makes him Teflon John ?

    • 24 May 2014 at 8:35 pm

      I think it’s getting harder and harder for him these days, Mick. I think the “rot” set in soon after the Epsom Teapot Tape scandal and the police raids on various media offices.

      That’s when some in the media woke up to the fact that Teflon John’s veneer disguised a nasty streak of vindictiveness.

      From that moment on, things just got harder and harder for Dear Leader.

  2. Mick
    24 May 2014 at 3:54 pm

    and what a striking graph !

  1. 8 May 2015 at 8:01 am

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