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Cullen Blows The Budget

The Government has blown its own self-imposed $5.9 billion spending cap, and its management credibility, National's Finance spokesman Bill English said today.

"In Dr Cullen's own words - the dam has burst.

"Last week this Government couldn't find $14 million to fix up the inequity it created over the Community Services Card. By Tuesday this week they were talking about an extra $350 million to $400 million a year for primary health care. And by Thursday they had blown the Budget.

"Just two weeks ago Dr Cullen said the Government would achieve its forecasts and that its credibility rested on its fiscal plan. It is the same Government which is asking the country to sign up to a superfund, which will impose multi-billion dollar fiscal constraints on future governments over the next 25 years. They can't even keep to their own plan one year into it!

"The Government's $270 million overrun will cut into its contribution to the superfund. The Government now won't meet its target in the fund's early years.

"Sure there have been unforeseen circumstances this year -but prudent fiscal management is all about being able to manage those risks within overall fiscal constraints. Just two weeks ago Dr Cullen was confident he could manage those risks.

"Last year, at Budget time, I warned the Government its fiscal strategy just would not work. That warning has proved prescient. Dr Cullen's credibility has suffered at his own hands," Bill English said.


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