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Cullen defends indefensible waste

John Key MP National Party Finance Spokesman

14 June 2005

Cullen defends indefensible waste

National Party Finance spokesman John Key says "Michael Cullen should take note of the old adage that when you're in a hole you should stop digging.

"The facts speak for themselves. The Government has raised an additional $55 billion of tax in the past six years and has repaid around $1 billion of debt.

"Gross debt to GDP is falling because the economy has been growing, not because Dr Cullen has laboriously paid off debt.

"Even if we give Dr Cullen credit for accumulating an additional $7.6 billion of financial assets, that has still left him $47 billion of additional tax to spend on Labour's pet projects.

"He has been on a hiring and spending binge that he himself has been questioning in recent times.

"We've seen a dramatic increase in the number of core servants, occupying more than half a million square metres of prime Wellington office space. A 40% increase since 1999.

"Not only does the Government purse support more space, but the quality of office space has improved drastically, so that's costing more. Meanwhile, elder care facilities are closing due to Labour's twisted priorities.

"What Dr Cullen is missing is the real concern about our future. Australia is committed to lowering taxes, New Zealand is not. What Labour is committed to is raising spending from 29.6% of GDP to 32.6% of GDP by 2008/09.

"This will see the annual government spend increase by $12 billion a year.

"As each day passes, Dr Cullen is doing more damage to his credibility with extraordinary claims that there is no waste to trim in Labour's Budget.

"The public aren't fools. They know that when a wananga has gone from a $4 million budget to a $239 million budget and then still requires a state bailout, all is not well.

"National is determined to provide better incentives and greater rewards for working Kiwis," says Mr Key.

ENDS

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