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National slams political hi-jack of PREFU

Murray McCully MP National Party State Services Spokesman

09 August 2005

National slams political hi-jack of PREFU

The National Party is questioning the decision to defer the PREFU (Pre-Election Fiscal Update) by the Treasury from this Thursday (11th August) to next Thursday (18th), asserting possible political interference.

National Party State Services spokesman Murray McCully says the media were informed by the Treasury that the PREFU would be released on the 11th August.

"Now the Minister of Finance has announced that it will be a week later.

"If the date has been moved to suit the political convenience of the government, that would amount to serious political interference in a process which forms a key part of the public finance legislation.

"The PREFU is supposed to be the means by which the voting public are able to receive a dispassionate, non political briefing on the fiscal numbers and the Treasury forecasts. If the date for its release has been moved to suit the Minister, what is to stop the text being changed to suit the Minister?"

Mr McCully says there are other features to the announcement which cause concern.

"The PREFU will be released, not at the Treasury, as has been the custom, but at Parliament. Media enquiries are being directed to the office of the Minister of Finance, not the Treasury. In both respects, this is a change to the custom under the previous National administration.

"Clearly, Dr Cullen intends to hi-jack a process which the legislation decrees to be a non political communication to the public and use it as a Labour Party press conference and photo opportunity.

"Until Dr Cullen furnishes a credible explanation for these unusual events we will be forced to draw the conclusion that the reputation of the Treasury and the provisions of the public finance legislation are yet further casualties of a government desperate to be re-elected at any cost," says Mr McCully.

ENDS

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