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Cullen’s Budget Bolt from the Blue

Hon Bill English
Opposition Finance Spokesperson

31 January 2000

Cullen’s Budget Bolt from the Blue

The Finance Minister’s about turn on this year’s Budget must come out of left field for Government MPs and many New Zealanders, Opposition Finance spokesperson Bill English said today.

“Dr Cullen has laid down the law that this year’s Budget will be short on social spending.

“Both Labour and the Alliance campaigned on doing much more in social areas, but Dr Cullen’s now putting the kibosh on it.

“He is creating big tensions within his Government.

“Labour MPs won’t be able to swallow this and neither will the Alliance caucus. The likes of Laila Harre, Liz Gordon and Willie Jackson won’t be able to stomach social spending being put to one side.

“What about the expectations Helen Clark and her team have raised amongst the Maori and Pacific Island communities about what the Budget will deliver for them?

“Nurses, teachers, polytech tutors and social workers have been led to believe a Labour/Alliance Government would mean a better deal. In fact the new Government will mean the smallest funding increases in health and education for several years.

“It’s beginning to look like the $684 million expense to raise superannuation has been done at the cost of health, education, welfare and housing.”


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