No spending choices

17:00, May 14 2014

John Key has said the Budget is all about "building on the success we have achieved so far", but already the debate is turning to how to spend the future bounty.

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Bill English has been promising us for so long he will forecast a surplus in this Budget that his reputation rests on it. But the roughly $100 million surplus he will reveal - as politically crucial as it is - is equivalent to just 0.1 per cent of "core" Crown spending, and will be dwarfed by the prospect of billions in surpluses in the future.

Key and English have been warning that the Budget will show that even then there will be little freeboard to increase spending, or homeowners will pay through higher interest rates.

The prime minister was dropping hints of possible tax cuts for middle-income workers, not to be revealed today, but signalled on the campaign trail.

English knows the public have already banked the gains of recent years already, and that a fine balancing act is coming when New Zealand finally has "choices" on what the money will be spent on.

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The Dominion Post