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Cullen Challenges Brash: Show Us The Numbers

Show us the numbers – Cullen

Finance Minister Michael Cullen today challenged the National Party to produce a full alternative budget after he presents his sixth budget on 19 May.

“Labour in opposition produced fully costed and comprehensive alternative budgets based on the same accounting principles and economic assumptions used by the government of the day.

“That gave great confidence to financial markets, the Reserve Bank and independent observers that Labour’s proposed programme added up fiscally.

“National is starting to make many very expensive promises, including a planned announcement this week that they will put all petrol excise duty into the National Land Transport Fund.

“That would cost about $585 million a year.

“On top of this, National continues to promote tax cuts as well as substantial increases in spending in areas such as law and order and defence.

“This year’s budget will likely show a very flat long term track for net debt and gross debt as a percentage of GDP. That being so, National’s policies would lead to escalating debt and interest rates over the longer term unless offset by big cuts in expenditure.

“National must front up and tell the New Zealand public where the cuts are going to come to pay for these promises. If they do not, their silence will speak volumes, as it did in 2002 when they also failed to produce an alternative budget,” Dr Cullen said.

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