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Cullen Nets Two Porkies From English

1 July 2002

Finance Minister Michael Cullen today challenged Bill English to give an assurance that National would back Labour on confidence and supply if the Greens tried to pull the plug over GE.

Dr Cullen was responding to Mr English’s claim that the Greens position on GE was irrelevant to the stability of government as National would support Labour on lifting the moratorium.

“Mr English is being too cute by half. He knows that the moratorium is scheduled to lift automatically in October, 2003 and will not require a vote. The issue is the Greens’ threat to withdraw confidence immediately the moratorium lifts.

“I can understand National’s nervousness that some of its traditional supporters are thinking of voting Labour to prevent the Greens holding the balance of power, especially as National’s support already around its ankles.

“But Mr English has a duty to be true to the facts.

“The same applies to his absurd claims that there is a $120 million shortfall in the health budget.

“The 2002 budget provides an additional $3.2 billion in health funding over the next three years on top of increases already approved plus a further substantial boost in the capital budget.

“We have told the District Health Boards that we think this generous funding package should be sufficient to meet their needs and we are now working with them to ensure that it is enough,” Dr Cullen said.

“I put Mr English on notice. I will be monitoring his statements closely during the campaign and will respond to his porkies as they arise.”

Ends

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