One of the oddities of returning to Government after a long period on the Opposition benches is that a party is confronted by competing issues.

On the one hand, you have a list of policy platforms that need to be implemented.  On the other, you need to consider the external environment – whether it be a recession, a changing public appetite for public policy, or something as unpredictable as a drought in key farming regions.

At the same time, there are those perspectives which also come to the fore, such as knowing what mineral resources we have and how best to utilise them, combating pollution, making the most of changes in the world economy for our exporters, and ensuring our own economy doesn’t overheat.

At the same time in the United Kingdom, in the current financial year, the UK Government has borrowed around £460 million – that’s $967 million in our currency – per day. In the Pre-Budget Report published in December, this was forecast to drop to around £450 million per day in 2010-11, £383 million per day in 2011-12, and £323 million per day in 2012-13. In just five years, the total amount the UK has borrowed in its entire history (a little over £700bn) is set to double.

To put that in perspective, the New Zealand Government has to borrow $250 million PER WEEK at present.

We are far better off than other countries around the world after the recession.  Yet certain interest groups still do not understand that even though we are pretty solid, we cannot take our eye off the fiscal ball.

We cannot be extravagant with public money when we should be consolidating.  That’s why the Government is still searching every Budget line item for value for money.  Indications from Bill English are that the 2010 Budget will address low quality government spending and redirect it into priority areas such as health, education and law and order.

We cannot continue to accumulate Government debt and saddle future generations with the payments.

The Government has some issues to grapple with which capture the public’s attention – such as mining (which is just a stocktake at this stage) and the drinking age.  But everyone should realize we still have the major economic issues to deal with.  The clear goal at the moment is ensuring value for your tax dollars, constraining debt, and ensuring we can make the most of lucrative foreign trade.  That’s the economic development we need as a country.