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Business forum a "cynical political exercise"

Bill English National Finance Spokesperson

23 October 2000

Business forum a "cynical political exercise"

The results of tomorrow's business forum are entirely predictable, National's Finance spokesperson Bill English said today.

"The Government will issue the statements it has already written, welcoming the 'constructive discussion about New Zealand's future direction'. The Government will acknowledge the important role business has in developing the knowledge economy and creating jobs.

"As Government papers revealed last week, there will be some specific initiatives announced, which the Government has already planned.

"Some business spokesman will welcome the Government's constructive attitude, by which he will mean the participants were not abused.

"There will also be mutual agreement that there has been too much doom and gloom and we should all be more positive.

"No hard issues will be discussed and as ordained by the Prime Minister there will be no criticism of the Government's anti-business values and policies.

"There are a number of things which won't happen at tomorrow's forum. Helen Clark could help everybody by telling the gathering what deals her Government has done with the union movement over wage restraint. The Minister of Finance could announce how he will stop Jim Anderton attacking the Reserve Bank legislation when interest rates go up again next year. Dr Cullen could also announce a cut in the company tax rate. And the Prime Minister could put an end to speculation about further anti-business policies that her Government supports - such as paid parental leave and minimum youth rates.

"Those are some real issues that would give the forum a bit of meat.

"Once this cynical political exercise is over people in business will share National's view that Labour is now convinced they don't need the support of business. Labour believes that recent polling shows they have enough solid support without business," Bill English said.

Ends.


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