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Read the small print: the razor gang's back

19 July 2005

Read the small print: the razor gang would be back

“Under the guise of promising to increase health and education spending, National is in fact promising spending cuts,” Finance Minister Michael Cullen said today.

He was commenting on a statement by Don Brash that a National government would “ring fence” the budget allocations for health and education for the current financial year but would “reprioritise” spending in the following years.

“The allocated increases in subsequent years are necessary to keep pace with demographic and inflationary pressures. To reduce them would compromise health care services and the quality of education available in our schools.

“The percentage of students leaving school with no qualifications has dropped from 18 per cent to 13 per cent under Labour and we have more than 3000 extra teachers and more than 4000 new places in early childhood education.

“In health, we are doing 44,000 more medical/surgical caseweight discharges each year and 27,500 more day procedures. That is on top of all the money going into primary health care and into wages and conditions to rebuild the health workforce.

“It would be a tragedy for New Zealand if these trends were reversed or put at risk and make no mistake, that is what would happen under National. “As with all National Party statements, it is important to read the small print. The razor gang would be back,” Dr Cullen said.

ENDS

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