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National shares Greens' concerns over super fund


Bill English National Finance Spokesman

3 June 2001

National shares Greens' concerns over super fund

National's Finance spokesman Bill English says he admires the Green Party's courage in resisting the temptation to give in to political expediency over the Government's proposed super fund.

"The Greens are to be admired for not allowing themselves to be pushed into agreeing to the fund just because Labour think it's good politics for the next election. That stands in sharp contrast to the Alliance, which agreed to support Dr Cullen's proposal in a trade-off to get funding for their so-called People's Bank," Bill English said today.

"The Greens haven't been expedient. Instead they appear to have been working hard to understand the issues involved with the huge fiscal commitment the super fund would involve. Labour's plan runs for 100 years and it's the biggest single commitment of taxpayers' money any political party will make in the next few decades.

"The Greens have obviously found the weight of evidence to be against the fund and their decision will be a wake-up call to churches, unions and community groups who have so far had nothing to say about the fund.

"National shares a lot of the concerns the Greens have expressed about the fund. This is especially true for Green co-leader Rod Donald's comment that 'the requirement to pre-fund super would be a straight-jacket on all future Government spending decisions (which) would suck dry future budgets (and) could leave other portfolios like health and education even worse off'.

"There has been no public debate over whether this fund, or a faster growing economy is the better guarantee of the security of future pensions.

"National also shares the Greens' concerns that the Government now plans to borrow in order to pay for the fund.

"The Greens have also correctly identified concerns over the process by which the Government has devised and advanced Dr Cullen's proposal. National went into consideration of this proposal open to being persuaded of its merits. However the Government hasn't made any effort to persuade its own supporters, let alone other parties. That is not the way to broker enduring cross-party support for a proposal which can only succeed if it has strong political and public support.

"Our Caucus is yet to make a final decision on Dr Cullen's proposed fund. However the inability of the Government to get its own house in order over this proposal heightens our fears that such a fund might prove impossible to protect against political tinkering over a number of decades," Mr English said.

Ends


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