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Anderton tells Opposition: Stick to issues

20 March 2001 Media Statement

Anderton tells Opposition: Stick to issues

Deputy Prime Minister Jim Anderton is disgusted with the Opposition's focus on peripheral issues, including personalities and the families of MPs.

He today issued a warning that the public would not tolerate tit-for-tat battles over trivia, while New Zealand faced real issues.

"The Opposition is declining every opportunity to debate real issues. It is choosing personality over policy and sleaze over substance," Jim Anderton said.

"Today Parliament held a major set-piece debate on the Appropriations Bill, a Bill solely concerned with the Government's spending decisions over the last financial year.

"There was not one comment about Government policy from the Opposition finance spokesperson, from his associate finance spokesperson, or from the leader of the Act Party.

"This must be the first Opposition in history that couldn't find a single Government policy to criticise.

"National and Act are obsessed with peripheral issues because they don't have any vision for New Zealand.

"They say they would cut taxes, but they won't use their debating time in Parliament to state what they would cut. If National and Act are going to cut taxes, then they must be going to cut police, superannuation, health and/or education spending, all of which have been boosted by the Labour-Alliance Coalition Government.

"Instead of debating their policy in the House, National and Act spend their entire time debating trivia, personalities and the politics of sleaze.

"I invite Opposition parties to remember why they are in Parliament," Jim Anderton said.

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