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Budget 04: Don Brash labels Budget 'cynical'

Don Brash labels Budget 'cynical'

National Party Leader Don Brash is describing today's Budget as "a series of bribes dished up by the most cynical Government in New Zealand's history".

"The Labour-led Government has squandered New Zealand's greatest ever opportunity to invest in policies which would restore this country to the levels of prosperity enjoyed by countries like Australia. It has chosen policies which promote dependence rather than independence.

"It is worth noting that relief for low and middle income families has come in the second Budget of this Government's second term. Throughout that period over-taxation has led to ever-larger surpluses. Not until this fifth Budget has Labour seen any merit in providing any relief.

"This is a vote-buying exercise of the same character as the policy U-turns which have been typical of this Government in the past few months.

"But there are one and a half million households in New Zealand and this Budget tries to buy the support of just 300,000 of them - one household in five.

"In a fundamental sense, this is a Budget which punishes the most hard-working, which punishes those most responsible, which punishes precisely those of our citizens who are determined to ensure they stand on their own feet.

"Perhaps the most worrying fact of all is that there is no indication the Government expects any increase in New Zealand's trend growth rate.

"This has to be the great tragedy - Labour has squandered a unique opportunity to lift our relative living standards, to close the gap with Australia.

"Never before has a Minister of Finance and a Government faced such an opportunity to invest wisely in the future of our country.

"Never before has a Finance Minister enjoyed such capacity to say to hard-working, innovative, New Zealanders that he saw them as the key to unlocking the country's potential, and that the Government would back them.

"But this Labour Government does not see this as a Budget of opportunity. Asked to choose between self-reliance and dependency, they chose the latter," says Dr Brash.

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