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Government Must Heed Warnings In OECD Report

The Minister of Finance must not ignore an OECD report which shows his Government's policy settings are profoundly damaging to our country and are moving us in completely the wrong direction, Opposition Leader Jenny Shipley said today.

"The report is a very balanced analysis from a highly respected international organisation. But Dr Cullen has dismissed it wholesale, labelling it 'extreme, socially unacceptable and economically unnecessary'.

"This sudden outburst against the OECD stands in sharp contrast to a speech Dr Cullen made to the Employment Relations Conference just four months ago, in which he said:

'Remember that the basic creed of the OECD is respect for sound money and open markets. It is the mainstream advocate of market economics. Some New Zealand employers and the former government tended to attack the ILO as being out of date and out of touch. No such charge can be levelled against the OECD.' (Michael Cullen, 5/7/00)

"Now that the OECD has expressed concerns over Dr Cullen's economic policies he is attempting to make a sharp U-turn on that organisation's merits, a manoeuvre which is entirely without credibility.

"The OECD report is a significant piece of analysis from a body which has provided valuable advice and analysis to New Zealand throughout our 27 years of membership. It looks at the fundamental effects this Government's policies are having on our long-term wellbeing and raises genuine concerns which should be addressed.

"Through sheer stubbornness Dr Cullen is choosing to ignore this report, but the rest of the world will not. Turning a blind eye to this report will not fix the problems it identifies," Jenny Shipley said.

Ends


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