Finance Minister Bill English is regarded as having one of the safest pair of economic hands in the business. So it's been a pleasure watching him deservedly take at least some of the credit for the first surplus New Zealand has enjoyed in several years.
Most Kiwis get that we've come through significant challenges and that this is now a more confident, resilient country than it was seven years ago. New Zealand achieved a surplus for the 2014-15 year, a target the Government first set after the devastating Canterbury earthquakes and the global financial crisis. The prime minister, Bill and their ministerial colleagues have worked hard to keep on top of spending and to deliver better public services within tight financial constraints.
We’ve kept our eye on the prize: getting better results from taxpayers’ money, particularly for the most vulnerable.
Since the May Budget, we've seen significantly lower dairy prices, very low inflation, interest rates lower than expected, and a weaker world economic outlook, particularly in emerging markets.
As Bill says, the Government's focus remains on managing our finances sensibly and responsibly, continuing to pay down debt, and building a more productive, competitive economy.