Since the 1970s the Treasury has briefed incoming governments about the state of the economy and the public finances. The news is not always good. In the lead-up to the July 1984 election there was a run on the New Zealand dollar which intensified over the election weekend, and required immediate action from the incoming Labour government. After the October 1990 election, the incoming National government was informed of the imminent bankruptcy of the state-owned Bank of New Zealand, which it then had to bail out. A National-led government again took office after the election held on 8 November 2008, just seven weeks into a global financial crisis. The sombre looks of Treasury Secretary John Whitehead (right) and Deputy Secretary Peter Bushnell, on their way to meet new Prime Minister John Key four days later, was probably an accurate portrayal of their mood.
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Photograph by Ross Setford
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