16 Dec 2009

Labour wants more Govt spending

9:56 pm on 16 December 2009

The Labour Party has urged the Government to loosen its purse strings now the Treasury is forecasting stronger growth over the next few years, and says Government deficits won't be as high as expected.

But the Government says it won't change its plan to rein in spending.

Finance Minister Bill English says large amounts of money are still needed to service the Government's rising debt, and reining in spending will lower debt so the country can respond to future downturns.

The Treasury has upgraded its forecasts for economic growth over the next four years and downgraded its unemployment and budget deficit forecasts.

Unemployment is now seen as peaking within the next three months, at 7%.

Government debt forecasts are lower than those made at the time of the Budget in May. The deficit is now forecast to be 2.9% of GDP compared with the Budget forecast of 5% of GDP.

BNZ economist Stephen Toplis says the Government's books are in good shape compared with other countries.

The Council of Trade Unions says this means more should be spent combating unemployment.