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Pre-Budget Game Playing Missing The Point

8 June 2000


United New Zealand leader, Hon Peter Dunne, has lashed out at the rash of pre-Budget Government policy announcements, saying they are completely missing the point.

"They simply reduce the Budget process to the trivial level of 'handing out the goodies' that was a hallmark of the Muldoon years, while ignoring the country's real problems."

"They send the unfortunate signal that modern Budgets are more exercises in political management than statements of Government vision and direction for the country," he says.

Mr Dunne is equally critical of Opposition parties whom he says are playing the same game.

"Mindless arguments about who spent what and when, and who cut what and when contribute nothing to the country's growth, but everything to a mounting sense of public disillusionment and further falling confidence levels."

"This superficial level of argument utterly ignores our fundamental problem of an under-performing economy, increasingly unable to sustain our current living standards, let alone offer any hope for the future."

"We are in a rut where we consistently achieve about 2% economic growth per annum, if we are lucky."

"Yet our competitors are all doing better than that, and consequently, their standards of living, and their abilities to provide for their futures, are leaving us far behind," he says.

Mr Dunne is calling for the Budget to set out a long term strategic vision to lift national aspirations and performance.

He says the irony of New Zealand's situation is that our comparative natural wealth means we have never had to make the really hard choices about our future.

"Until now, we have always been able to coast along, on someone else's coat-tails, but today's globally interdependent, competitive world has removed that final luxury."

"The Budget's challenge is to set out a strategy for improved performance and growth, to stop New Zealand's living standards relative to other developed countries falling further and further behind," he says. ENDS

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