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Progress in child abuse would be at risk

19 July 2005 Media Statement

Progress in dealing with child abuse would be at risk

The 80 per cent plus reduction in unallocated child abuse cases last year is precisely the kind of Labour achievement which would be put at risk by National’s obsession with tax cuts, Finance Minister Michael Cullen said today.

“This reduction was made posssible by the massive increase in frontline staff and resources that the Labour-led government has poured into Child Youth and Family Services over the last two to three years.

“These are the people National calls pen-pushers and part of some non-existent bureaucratic blow-out.

“In fact 75 per cent of the increase in the core public sector under Labour has been in frontline staff, such as CYFS social workers, special educationalists, frontline police officers and others. Redundancies in these areas to pay for tax cuts will be at the expense of the most vulnerable New Zealanders, including abused children.”

Dr Cullen also attacked John Key’s latest claims on the affordability of tax cuts.

“In the New Zealand Herald today, Mr Key again says he could pay for tax cuts every year from 1 April next year by using the 2004-05 surplus.

“Yet again he fails to acknowledge that over the next four years Labour is budgetting for about $6 billion of borrowing to fund capital investment.

“This means that any big reduction in revenue would have to be paid for by spending cuts or more borrowing which woulld mean debt climbing as a proportion of GDP. That in turn means higher interest rates or cuts in health, education, superannuation and law and order. It is no more than simple arithmetic.

“National’s confusion continues. Two weeks ago, Mr Key talked of meaningful tax cuts for all New Zealanders. Last week in Havelock North Dr Brash, mindful unlike Mr Key of the inflation and interest rates effects of fsical profligacy, talked of some tax relief for some people.

“It is time for National to come clean,” Dr Cullen said.

ENDS

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