Budget 2019: Government has room to address social issues, economist says

The AM Show 30/05/2019

An economist says New Zealand's fiscal numbers are in good shape ahead of Thursday's Budget announcement - with plenty of room to address social issues the country faces.

According to economist Cameron Bagrie, there's plenty of "wriggle room, flexibility, and options" for the Government, as New Zealand awaits the official Budget announcement.

It's a Budget which has been plagued by controversy, after National leader Simon Bridges revealed details of what the Government is calling the 'Wellbeing Budget' on Tuesday - two days before the official announcement.

On Thursday morning, Bagrie said the country has a number of social issues which need addressing.

"The big issue we're going to see in the Budget is I think going to be a bit of a mismatch between the social side of the ledger and what the economy can deliver," he told The AM Show.

Sometimes you can underestimate the strength of the economy, and you can get a positive fiscal surprise.

"Historically, the economy tends to go in about a 10-year pattern, and if you go back to 2008/2009, it wasn't great, '97/'98 wasn't great, '87-1990 wasn't great. You can write your playbook about what goes on every nine to 12 years."

Meanwhile, a senior Treasury source told Newshub Budget information obtained by the National Party was the result of a "human error" at Treasury when high-level documents were published to a test website that was not supposed to be publicly available.

According to the source, the fact it was a human error is well-known within Treasury to middle management level.

The official Budget announcement will be made at 2pm.

The AM Show / Newshub reporter Mark Quinlivan