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Come clean, National

2 June 2004

Come clean, National

Finance Minister Michael Cullen today challenged National finance spokesperson John Key to come clean on his plans for the New Zealand Superannuation Fund.

“National’s stated position has been to steal the assets in the Fund from future pensioners to use for tax cuts now. But we are now hearing rumours that it would keep the Fund but use it to finance infrastructural projects such as roads.

“That would make commercial sense only if there was a return to the Fund from that investment through road tolls or other forms of user charges.

“The government has asked Treasury for a report by November on infrastructural bonds which could be issued to the public including, potentially, the Guardians of the Fund should they chose to make that commercial decision.

“But if the Fund is just raided by the government of the day for capital to pay for infrastructure, that portion of the Fund becomes just a tissue of paper transactions which the government would have to pay back at the very time it most needed the income from a properly invested Fund to help pay for the baby boomers’ pensions.

“It is precisely because of these sorts of dangers that the management of the Fund is not subject to political control.

“National needs to come clean. Too many people’s future pensions are at risk to allow any future National government to play fast and loose with the Fund,” Dr Cullen said.


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