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Shipley's half truth as bad as making it up

"We'll sit round the table and discuss superannuation with National when National is prepared to be straight with us and the New Zealand public about its real intentions," Finance Minister Michael Cullen said today.

Dr Cullen was responding to Jenny Shipley's statement yesterday that National would guarantee current entitlements to the currently retired as a basis for negotiation.

"The promise means nothing. The issue is not the present cost of the scheme. Everyone knows that is affordable. The issue is how to handle the costs of supporting the large baby boom generation in their retirement.

"The coalition Government believes the fairest way to do this is through a partial pre-funding or tax smoothing scheme. National has so far rejected that approach.

"But it hasn't said what it would do instead. Perhaps that is because it knows all the alternatives are harsh - either raise the age above 65, impose some form of means or assets test, or savagely increase taxes.

"We cannot have any sensible discussions with National until it tells us which of these options or which combination of them it supports," Dr Cullen said.

"Tell us the whole truth, Mrs Shipley. Half truths are as bad as making it up."

ENDS

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