Election 2023: Christopher Luxon says National's fiscal plan buffer could be used to meet coalition demands

National's released its long-awaited fiscal plan - which the party claims gets New Zealand back into the black quicker.

But, Labour says it relies on National's controversial tax plan, which they still haven't fully explained. 

They've all been talking about it for weeks, but finally we have seen National's fiscal plan. It's 14 pages of numbers, commitments, allocations, and cuts.

"We present this fiscal plan in a very troubling economic context," said National's Nicola Willis.

Willis presented it with a slideshow too, adamant the plan adds up. 

"We are delivering disciplined spending, less tax, lower debt and large buffers for future cost pressures while increasing funding for frontline services and investing in infrastructure."

She's cut the operating allowances over the next four years. Labour plans to spend $32.7b in that period. National says it'll spend $29.4b. That's $3.3b lower than Labour.

"What we've done each year is leave money aside from operating allowance, available for Budget bids," said Willis. 

That amount totals $9.9b -  Luxon says it could be a buffer to meet demands in any potential coalition talks.

"We have enough unallocated spending, we can accommodate that, I guess," he said.

They'll need it if Winston Peters wants to resurrect the Provincial Growth Fund (PGF).

"They said it was a slush fund. We found a billion dollars a year for provinces from the South Island to the Far North. All the provinces!" said Peters.

Asked how big a PGF he was prepared to have to get Peters' support, Luxon said: "That is not the approach we believe in".

"We believe in creating city and regional deals and that is what we have talked about in great detail with local Government and we already have local Government starting to think about how they can work together and what we can develop together."

So does that mean a PGF is off the table in any potential negotiations?

"I don't think that's the right way."

As for ACT - they wouldn't need any cash.

"ACT would cut $25.5b off waste over four years, plus additional spending we'd reduce," said leader David Seymour. 

National's plan relies on $537m of earnings from its contested policy of taxing foreigners who buy houses here.

"In the first year of the plan, the tax plan actually raises more than half a billion more than is needed to deliver income tax relief," said Willis. 

Labour's finance spokesperson Grant Robertson said National's fiscal plan is buggered if its tax plan doesn't add up. 

National disputes that, but Robertson used a certain word to describe it. 

"That is a $537m hole."

But Luxon said there is a big difference between National and Labour. 

"They measure success by how much money is being spent. We measure success by results being achieved."

There are many assumptions in the fiscal plan - including how much it can cut from bureaucracy, contractors, and halting Labour's pet projects.

It means Willis is promising to revise them before the year's end if they get into power.

"We will be delivering a mini-Budget before Christmas in which we set out some of the savings and reprioritisations we believe are necessary to get NZ back on track."

That's when Kiwis will see if Willis' numbers are naughty or nice.