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English calls for borrow and sell economics

7 March 2008 Media Statement

English calls for borrow and sell economics

24 hours after John Key adopted a new asset sales policy, Bill English has contradicted his leader and also confirmed that National would borrow for tax cuts.

Mr English has confirmed that if the government’s negotiations with Toll result in the Crown purchasing Toll’s operations, National will campaign on selling them off again. This seems to contradict Mr Key’s latest proposal to hold 51 per cent of strategic infrastructure in New Zealand hands.

Mr English also confirmed to Newstalk ZB that his tax cut policy would require increasing government debt, but his media staff are understood to have tried to prevent reporting of his comments last night.

“This is classic National Party economics – borrow, sell, and hope,” Finance Minister Michael Cullen said.

“It has been a difficult week for the National Party, but at least they are starting to create some clear dividing lines with the Labour-led government.

“Despite Mr Key’s attempts to glide through his asset sales slip up with a new pro-New Zealand policy, Mr English has hit the veto button and confirmed that he does not want key assets like our rail network to be held in New Zealand hands. It is far from clear whether Toll will be purchased, but Mr English is already getting it ready for market yet again.

“And we have finally had some honesty from Mr English that he will borrow for tax cuts – a move that can only be described as crazy.

“The Labour-led government welcomes a debate on these issues in the months ahead.”

ENDS

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