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Labour's Leopard Fails To Change Its Spots

"Smug crowing by Michael Cullen over reports predicting possible, stronger economic growth raise some interesting questions," says National's Finance spokesman David Carter.

Mr Carter believes Dr Cullen has some explaining to do over his stewardship of the economy.

"Firstly, how is he managing to perform the highly unusual trifecta of achieving modest growth, rising operating balances and increasing debt? You'd think the first two would add up to a decreasing - not rising - level of debt.

"And if that's not bad enough, Dr Cullen has wrenched up taxes as well.

"The reality is that Labour hasn't changed its spots at all from being the big tax and spend party of old. The only difference this time is that the tax increases aren't making up for the Government's rising spending and questionable investments."

Mr Carter says the Government is now forecasting gross debt to be $4.6 billion higher in 2003 - around $1100 more for every New Zealander - than National was forecasting when it left office in 1999.

"This massive increase in debt is mainly due to Dr Cullen's super fund ($1.8 billion), Air New Zealand ($1 billion) and higher expenses $1.4 billion - which has only been partly offset by higher revenue of $0.6 billion.

"Dr Cullen needs to explain how higher debt is going to help raise the living standards of all New Zealanders and get the country back to the top half of the OECD standings," David Carter concluded.


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