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New Brunswick's new finance minister takes aim at reducing net debt

FREDERICTON — New Brunswick’s new finance minister says that while the province’s finances are improving, there needs to be a change in focus to start reducing the net debt.

Ernie Steeves released the second quarter financial results for 2018-2019 today — his first since the Tory minority government took power last month.

He says the projected debt of $14.3 billion has almost doubled in the past decade, and warned that the province’s credit rating is at risk of being downgraded unless spending decisions change.

Steeves says the previous Liberal government was overspending, but that will change starting with the capital budget to be released next week.

He says rather than a shopping list of promises, the capital budget will focus on maintaining the infrastructure now in place.

Steeves says all departments have been asked to look for efficiencies as the government begins to repair next year’s main budget.

The Tories have vowed to present a balanced budget by 2020, but Steeves says he’s hoping to be able to do it next year.

The Canadian Press