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National runs from debate on economy

29 May 2008

National runs from debate on economy

The National Party’s failure to ask a single oral question of the Minister of Finance in the week after the Budget shows they have surrendered the economic debate, Finance Minister Michael Cullen said today.

In Parliament this week the National Party did not lodge a single oral question to the Finance Minister. The Green, Maori, and New Zealand First parties have all asked questions of the Finance Minister this week, but John Key and Bill English have not even asked a supplementary question on the back of the smaller parties’ efforts.

This is the first time since the election of the Labour-led government in 1999 that the National Party has failed to ask a single primary or supplementary question of the Finance Minister in the week following the Budget.

“As Finance Minister, one of the things you should be sure of is that the opposition will try to make your life hell in the week after the Budget,” Dr Cullen said.

“And with tax on centre stage in this year’s Budget, you would have thought John Key and Bill English would have been desperate to have a go at me in Parliament.

“Mr Key is out there telling New Zealanders that he is holding the government to account on the economy. He is talking tough at public meetings and on TV.

“But in Parliament, where they have a real chance to back up this tough talk, Mr Key and Mr English have sat squirming in their seats. With tax cuts delivered, they have no idea what to do next.

“If they don’t start telling New Zealanders how they would manage the economy, the government will be happy to fill the gap and explain what a National government would really mean for New Zealand.”


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