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Chirpy Cullen Quashes Career Speculation

Chirpy Cullen Quashes Career Speculation

By Kevin List

Deputy PM Dr Michael Cullen waxes lyrically on his future, and the future of tertiary education in NZ at a press conference


Deputy Prime Minister Michael Cullen today clarified his political future at the end of a press conference dealing with changes to New Zealand's tertiary education funding.

In an interview with Joanne Black of the Listener magazine the Prime Minister was asked this question;

Will Michael Cullen go on delivering the budgets for the rest of this term?

To which the Prime Minister replied:

"I don't know he's certainly delivering this one and I expect he'll deliver the one after that. It very much depends on where he wants to take his life. He may very well deliver the 2008 budget."

The Prime Minister's failure to guarantee Dr Cullen's position as Minister of Finance in perpetuity led to National's Finance spokesperson John Key alleging the Prime Minister was warming the public up for Dr Cullen's imminent demise.

"Helen Clark is now warming the public up for Trevor Mallard to take over the finance role, but she'll need more than a bunsen burner to warm the public up to that idea," stated Mr Key in a press statement.

The Prime Minister's alleged need for a bunsen burner to warm the public up the idea of alternate Minister of Finance however looks unnecessary in the short to medium term.

"I very strongly anticipate being Minister of Tertiary Education in 2008 but I'm not giving up the day job either," explained Dr Cullen to a phalanx of media in his offices this morning.

A very jovial Dr Cullen explained that he enjoyed the portfolio of tertiary education because "of the intellectual challenges of tweaking the system.

"The change has to be evolutionary not one that is destructive of the system," he said.

As Minister of Finance Dr Cullen considered that the fun involved in the job came and went however he was pleased with recent changes around the budget process that made the job less stressful.

"What Helen was doing was leaving me space – it was my decision and if I wanted to stand aside then alright – what she made clear yesterday is that she'd like me to carry on," said Dr Cullen when questioned about the Listener interview with the Prime Minister.

One position Dr Cullen had no intention of ever filling was that of the Speaker of the House.

"[Have you] ever seen a major player become the referee – how would I ever stop playing?," was Dr Cullen's response to a suggestion he may like to warm the Speaker's chair.

Listen to Dr Cullen laugh loudly and then proceed to outline his future for the next few years

Scoop Audio.Scoop Streaming Audio: Dr Cullen explains his future goals

to download
file (mp3)


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