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Dr Cullen's super scheme on life-support

Hon Bill English

Opposition Finance Spokesperson

22 March 2000

Dr Cullen's super scheme on life-support

Dr Cullen has signalled the Government's first major back-down on his proposal for a $170 billion superannuation fund, Opposition Finance Spokesperson Bill English said today.

"Dr Cullen's tentative presentation of his scheme to the Finance and Expenditure Select Committee today showed political reality is catching up with Labour.

"The lack of political support for the huge superannuation fund has put the whole thing on life-support.

"Despite Dr Cullen's assertion that he is on schedule it was very clear at the select committee that the swagger has gone.

"The Minister wasn't able to answer basic questions about how the fund would work, what would happen to contributions if the forecast surpluses didn't materialise, and what political support he had.

"Dr Cullen admitted for the first time that the fund was not a 'free lunch', agreeing that the billions of dollars he wants to build up in the fund would come from today's taxpayers. Up until today the Government had tried to create the impression that no-one will pay because the money comes from Government coffers.

"The change the Government is proposing is huge, but hardly anyone knows what it is, and no-one understands the implications.

"New Zealanders want multi-party agreement on superannuation, not single party arrogance. The way Dr Cullen is trying to ram through his proposal invites opposition, and from today's performance it is clear he's meeting opposition."


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