The Government is borrowing $380 million a week and next week's budget will carry a record deficit of about $16 billion, Parliament was told today.
Finance Minister Bill English said the Government's financial position had deteriorated "significantly" since late 2008.
"The pre-election update in 2008 forecast that the deficit for this year would be $2.4 billion," he said.
"It's much more likely to be around $15b or $16b."
Popular programmes like KiwiSaver and Working for Families are set to be the casualties as the government wrestles with New Zealand's biggest ever budget deficit.
Prime Minister John Key is set to reveal the extent of the cuts in a speech tomorrow after finance minister Bill English said today the deficit is likely to be "over fifteen billion and could be over sixteen."
That would be about $4,000 for every man, woman and child in New Zealand.