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Cullen’s BPS: fudged and flimsy

Wednesday 8th Mar 2000
Rodney Hide
Media Release -- Economy

ACT Finance spokesman Rodney Hide said today that Michael Cullen and the government had made a joke of the Budget Policy Statement by producing a flimsy document that lacks credibility.

“Dr Cullen signalled the problem yesterday in a speech when he said it was his intention to “subvert” the forecast and that the BPS would need to be analysed with “fresh eyes and fresh attitudes”.

“He’s right about that. The Labour and Alliance government simply cannot fund their promises with increased spending of just $5.9 billion over four years. That’s just $3 billion more than the previous so-called “mean” National Government had set aside.

“The Alliance-Labour government has already blown an extra billion dollars and the elderly – none of which helps to close the gaps. That leaves just $2 billion for Labour and Alliance to spend over the next three years over and above what National had ear-marked. That’s an increase of less than 2 percent of government expenditure. It’s not credible.

“These are rubber numbers. There’s no way that Alliance and Labour can deliver on their promises of closing the gaps, of income-related rentals, of business development grants, of Treaty settlements, and massive changes to the Health system, with just $2 billion over three years.

“The BPS also shows that the Government has failed to cost key decisions. Only two decisions – student loans and the super boost – have been costed. The BPS confirms this is a government struggling to cost its feel-good policies and to put them into practice.

“I challenge Dr Michael Cullen to declare that he can hold his government to the fiscal track he has signed off on in his very first BPS,” said Rodney Hide.

ENDS

For more information visit ACT online at http://www.act.org.nz or contact the ACT Parliamentary Office at act@parliament.govt.nz.


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