Treasury advice cops a fresh blast

01:43, Jan 31 2009

History is repeating on Treasury officials, who have again been rebuked for their advice to an incoming government.

Three years after being slammed for delivering "an ideological burp", new Finance Minister Bill English also seems unimpressed with his briefing from the department - yet to be made public. He has suggested it is out of date and lacks the urgency the world financial crisis requires.

In 2005, then-finance minister Michael Cullen rejected officials' calls for tax cuts and the sale of state assets. He also rejected calls for reviews of the planned carbon tax and the Resource Management Act.

Dr Cullen joked at the time it appeared to have been written for a National victory and Treasury had given him "the wrong one".

Mr English said his briefing "reflects a view Treasury's had for a while that we need to focus on productivity and competitiveness".

"It probably doesn't have quite the sense of urgency that the new Government has. It reflects the kind of things Treasury was considering ... when times were better."

Sources said his annoyance may also have been prompted by Treasury calls for bigger tax cuts than those promised by National.

Treasury gives an updated view of the economy and government accounts next month.



The Dominion Post