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Cullen moves to bury true operating balance

Immediate Release: 11 March 2005

Cullen moves to bury true operating balance

ACT Leader Rodney Hide has accused Finance Minister Michael Cullen of forcing Treasury to bury the operating balance figures and instead highlight the ‘cash’ figure in an attempt to portray that Labour has no money for tax cuts for workers.

“New Zealand led the world in accrual accounting for government. Dr Cullen is taking us back to shoe-box accounting simply to try and pretend that he’s not overtaxing hardworking New Zealanders.”

The monthly financial accounts actually show an operating surplus for the eight months to January racing ahead of forecasts at 5.3 billion, with four months of the year still to go.

“Right up until the last statements, this measure was the headline indicator in table one of the Crown’s accounts.

“Today’s statements now have table one highlighting Dr Cullen’s cash-flow measure. Apparently this is only $1.7 billion, and on track to come in at $1.4 billion for the full year.

“This is a transparent sham by Dr Cullen to hide the true size of the surplus which is heading for around $7 billion again.

“The fact that Treasury is now complicit in re-arranging financial reporting to highlight Dr Cullen’s preferred measure and save him from embarrassment over the size of the surplus is cause for concern.

“The public service is increasingly taking their marching orders from senior Labour politicians, and is increasingly partisan. Now even Treasury appears to be acquiescing to Labour Party instructions.

“The shape of the Crown statements proves Labour has got the public service playing ball with their deception, now they are hoping they can pull the wool over the media’s eyes.”

Mr Hide said that media commentators and the wider public should not be fooled by Cullen’s deception.

“There was a surplus of $6 billion last year. It’s there again this year, and it’ll be there next. There’s plenty room for a decent tax cut for all New Zealand workers.”


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