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Cullen doesn't have the cash

Bill English National Finance Spokesperson

28 May 2001

Cullen doesn't have the cash

Dr Cullen doesn't have the cash to do everything he wants to do, National's Finance spokesperson Bill English said today.

"Budget tables show a profile of rising debt over the next four years. This is a marked change in trend from the last nine years in which debt has been falling.

"The Budget shows gross debt rising $4.8 billion and net debt rising $2.9 billion by 2005.

"Dr Cullen simply doesn't have enough cash to spend what he wants to spend nor maintain and improve the Crown's existing asset base while at the same time investing in the Superfund.

"In the period to 2005, the Crown needs to invest $19.3 billion, which includes $6.1 billion for the Superfund. But over that period Dr Cullen has only $11.7 billion cash available from surpluses. He therefore needs to find another $7.6 billion.

"His Government raised taxes with the promise to New Zealander they would get better services. Instead it's underfunding hospitals, forcing them to cut services and starving universities of funding resulting in fee hikes for students. At the same time the Government is short of cash for its ambitious Superfund and debt is rising.

"Increasing debt was not part of Dr Cullen's plan as recently as last Christmas. His December Economic and Fiscal Update actually forecast declining debt, but in a matter of months the full cost of the Government's plans are becoming apparent," Bill English said.

Ends

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