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Key – all talk, no substance

6 March 2006

Key – all talk, no substance

"If this is the best John Key can do, then National has a serious problem. Mr Key has been described as a breath of fresh air, but all he produces is stale, old rhetoric. Where are the fresh ideas?" said Finance Minister Dr Michael Cullen today.

He was reacting to John Key's first keynote speech for the year on the economy delivered to the West Harbour Rotary Club.

"Key wants Kiwis to be richer. Kiwis are getting wealthier under this government. Households are better off, with nearly three hundred thousand more New Zealanders in work since 1999 and average weekly earnings for those in full-time work rising $130 in the last six years.

"The Labour-led government has also raised the minimum wage nine times since 1999 and from 1 April three hundred and fifty thousand working families will be receiving significant increases to their take home pay.

"Key talks of the brain drain – this government is tackling that problem by introducing interest free student loans from 1 April. Reducing the student debt burden should encourage more students to stay in New Zealand.

"Sam Morgan's success at Trade Me shows that young New Zealanders can stay and prosper in New Zealand. And in Hollywood New Zealanders have won more Oscars. Today we should be celebrating success and not knocking what you can achieve in this country.

"Key talks of productivity problems – this government is reviewing the business tax regime to find ways to encourage companies to invest in new capital. Budget 05 announced $1 billion of new measures effective 1 April on depreciation rules which also aim to lift productivity.

"Key worries about the lack of savings – this government is introducing KiwiSaver to build a long-term savings culture. It's been praised by employers, economists and the Retirement Commission. All John Key can do is criticise and suggest tax breaks which only end up helping his rich mates in the financial sector.

"John Key finds it very easy to knock New Zealand – he struggles with offering solutions.

"This government is committed to transforming New Zealand into a high wage knowledge-based economy. We have the vision and the ideas. All John Key can offer is more talk. If this is the best he can do Don Brash should breathe a sigh of relief. His job seems safe for now," Dr Cullen concluded.

ENDS

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