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Government's Fiscal Gymnastics

"The Prime Minister has confirmed the Government has plenty of money for the Budget, contradicting Dr Cullen," Opposition Finance spokesperson Bill English said today.

"Just a few weeks ago Dr Cullen claimed he was $200 million short for his Budget round. He then raised tobacco tax by $100 million apparently giving in to Caucus pressure for more health spending.

"Yesterday Helen Clark told reporters the Arts package was to be funded by a fiscal windfall when she said that "this financial year there has been a bigger fiscal return for the Government than originally anticipated".

"The financial windfall is now looking like it could amount to three quarters of a billion dollars. The surplus this year is now expected to fall between $700-$800 million, rather than $14 million in the pre-election fiscal update.

"Senior Government politicians don't seem to understand that telling different stories about the fiscal situation is immediately obvious when the accounting process is so transparent.

"Clark's comments confirm that the Government has plenty of money for the Budget, and other groups that supported her will be expecting the same generous treatment as the Arts."


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