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Brash will have MPs wondering what they unleashed

31 October 2003 Media Statement

Brash will have National MPs wondering what they’ve unleashed

National MPs must be wondering what on earth they’ve unleased tonight after new leader Don Brash announced radical privatisation plans in his first day in the job, says Broadcasting Minister Steve Maharey.

One day in to the job and without any consulation Don Brash said he couldn’t see the logic of the government continuing to own a raft of publicly-owned companies, including Television New Zealand, power companies and Air New Zealand. He also confirmed the party will reinstate compulsory work-for-the-dole and looks certain to confirm other previously floated ideas such as raising the qualifying age for national superannuation to 70 and privatising the education system.

Steve Maharey said the plans were a direct copy of Ruth Richardson and Bill Birch’s deeply unpopular far right ideas and confirmed National will remain an electoral basket-case.

“These plans confirm what National has been denying over the past 24 hours – the party has taken a decisive step to the political right with Dr Brash’s election.

“These ideas are totally out of step with New Zealanders and the government stands implacably opposed to them.

“We will not reintroduce work-for-the-dole. It’s quite unbelievable that National is floating this failed scheme again when even their own evaluations told them it totally failed to get people into real paying jobs.

“We will not sell Television New Zealand or Radio New Zealand. These are culturally important assets which make a huge contribution to the development of our national identity.

“We will not raise the superannuation age to 70. New Zealanders need security in their retirement and the prospect of more flip flops will cause great anxiety.

“We will not privatise our education system. National introduced the most deregulated tertiary education system in the world during the 1990s which led to massive skill shortages and dwindling quality standards.

“There is now a very sharp and clear divide between the government and National and I’m confident New Zealanders will want none of the new Doctor’s medicine.

“National party members must be starting to believe in reincarnation. Dr Brash is looking exactly like his heroine Ruth Richardson and more and more like the Act party every minute,” Steve Maharey said.

ENDS

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