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More pressure on Michael Cullen to explain options

Don Brash MP National Party Leader

16 January 2004

More pressure on Michael Cullen to explain 'options'

National Party Leader Don Brash says the pressure is increasing on Finance Minister Michael Cullen to explain the so-called 'options' he talked about for controlling the New Zealand dollar.

"Even Helen Clark was unable to provide an answer about what those 'options' were when asked about the exchange rate this morning," says Dr Brash.

"The PM then directed further inquiries to Dr Cullen saying 'he's the best person to talk to about that,' but not before coming within a whisker of contradicting her second in charge by agreeing it was 'pretty much' out of the Government's hands.

"On 5 November, Dr Cullen told the Finance and Expenditure Select Committee that the Government was "not without options" to address the rise.

"We're still waiting to hear what they are, and so is the Prime Minister it would seem," Dr Brash says.

"It's time he revealed these so-called 'options', or is he now conceding that there are 'quite big problems' in intervening in the currency, as stated by Reserve Bank Governor Alan Bollard?

"Rather than meddling with the exchange rate, Dr Cullen should be turning his attention to anti-business policies that are stifling growth and adding costs to business, like the RMA.

"He should be reeling in talk of Union-friendly changes to the Employment Relations Act and dumping the looming election bribe of an extra week's paid holiday.

"Those extra costs have the potential to further damage exporters and small businesses as the exchange rate continues to rise," says Dr Brash.


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