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National Welshes On Promise To Produce Costings

22 July 2002

National Welshes On Promise To Produce Costings

“National has thrown away any claim to be taken seriously in this campaign through its failure to produce costings of its policy platform,” Finance Minister Michael Cullen said today.

“We prepared costings of their policies last week which showed that their accounting would make Enron blush.

“Even assuming a three year wage freeze in the state sector and no unexpected events requiring a fiscal response; their spending would outstrip Labour’s New Zealand Superannuation Fund contributions by at least $1.5 billion in Year Four with the gap widening in subsequent years.

“Although our figures were deliberately conservative, National challenged them and promised to release its own on July 23.

“However Bill English has now welshed on that promise. National’s credibility is in tatters as it is clear that they cannot make their numbers add up,” Dr Cullen said.

“I would like to hear from Ruth Richardson, the architect of the Fiscal Responsibility Act as it was precisely to avoid this scenario that the Act was passed.

“Labour released a detailed alternative budget before the 1999 election which demonstrated that we could pay for our programme while also achieving our fiscal objectives of running surpluses across the economic cycle, making contributions to the Super Fund and bringing gross debt to below 30 percent of GDP.

“We produced that budget to establish our credentials with the electorate for responsible fiscal and economic management. The voters are entitled to expect the same standards of transparency and openness from National,” Dr Cullen said.

Ends

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