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Cullen: Growth and fairness reinforce each other

7 February 2008 Media Statement

Growth and fairness reinforce each other

EMBARGOED UNTIL 1.15 p.m.

In his first speech on the economy this year, Finance Minister Michael Cullen said today that by overseeing the longest period of economic expansion since World War II while taking steps to reduce poverty, Labour has shown that fairness does not come at the expense of growth – it reinforces it.

“Labour in government has shown that the economy can be both fair and strong,” Dr Cullen said. “While year after year we have seen empty debates about the divine powers of tax cuts and the need to slash services, Labour has got on with work to drive economic growth and reduce poverty and inequality in our society.

“The results are clear – continued economic expansion, record-low unemployment, and dramatic reductions in child poverty.

“Labour will announce personal tax cuts this year, but our ambitions for the economy go beyond that. We want to lead a new debate on how to build a strong, fair, and truly sustainable economy to deliver even greater prosperity for New Zealanders.”

Dr Cullen said that in addition to tax cuts, the government would focus on the major issues facing the economy, including:

- Skills and productivity
- Boosting wages and family incomes
- Making New Zealand an innovation leader
- Raising our export performance
- Embedding a renewed savings culture
- Investment and innovation in infrastructure

“This is a year where New Zealand faces considerable economic uncertainty – from a weakening global economy to dry conditions for our farmers. In that climate, New Zealanders deserve more than another empty debate on tax cuts.

“They deserve new, innovative ideas – that is what Labour will provide.”

ENDS

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