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Peters sells out for zero price tag

Bill English National Finance Spokesman

18 June 2001

Peters sells out for zero price tag

People will look back on today as the day the future stability of our economy was decided by a backroom deal with Winston Peters, National's Finance spokesman Bill English said today.

"Winston Peters is claiming his deal to back the Government's high risk Superfund proposal as a victory, but it is hard to see what he has gained except for a temporarily revived media profile.

"His talk of limiting overseas investment of money from the fund has turned out to be just that, talk.

"New Zealand businesses will be left begging for the leftover scraps from the table after Michael Cullen invests the vast bulk of the fund overseas. Mr Peters' 'putting New Zealand first' rhetoric sounds hollow today.

"Where Winston Peters claims true victory is the rewording of the legislation to possibly allow for the reallocation of the money into individualised accounts at some stage in the future. Just today Dr Cullen highlighted how unlikely that prospect is when he said, 'our decision in no way indicates a shift toward support for individualisation. Labour and the Alliance continue to hold strongly to the view that individual accounts would prove unfair to women, low-income earners and people with interrupted work histories'.

"So Dr Cullen has no intention whatsoever of making the one real concession he has made to Winston Peters in order to get New Zealand First support for his Superfund.

"What we will have now is government's borrowing heavily, decades in advance of when they might need the money, and paying interest on that loaned money all the while. In return, future superannuitants will get at most 14 percent of their superannuation needs paid for from the fund - that is of course unless there is at some stage in the next three decades a major slump in the overseas sharemarkets where this money will be invested.

"This isn't a victory for Winston Peters and it certainly isn't a victory for sensible policy making. The winner on the day is political expediency," Bill English said.

Ends

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