13 May 2013

Greens say English has failed to rebalance economy

10:21 pm on 13 May 2013

Three days before Finance Minister Bill English delivers his fifth Budget, the Green Party has accused him of failing in his bid to rebalance the economy.

The Greens commissioned a report by economic consultancy BERL that has found the economy has moved backwards under the National-led Government.

In its push to rebalance the economy, the Government wanted to move investment away from property and into export industries.

But the BERL report says things have got worse and New Zealand's current account deficit - the difference between what it earns and spends overseas - is predicted to get bigger.

Greens co-leader Russel Norman said on Monday that Mr English used to speak frequently about rebalancing the economy, but no longer mentions it.

Dr Norman said the country can't continue to spend more than it earns.

"The only way to pay for a current account deficit is to borrow more or to sell assets - and in the long run, that's totally unsustainable.

"And so there will be an adjustment at some point - the only question is, whether we manage that adjustment ourselves or whether someone else does it to us. And I would much rather that we managed it as a country."

Dr Norman said the Greens would introduce policies to deter investment in property and to help exporters if elected in 2014.

The Budget will be delivered on Thursday.