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National need to held to account for democracy

Thursday 5 June 2008 Media Statement

Democracy will be served by National being held to account

The National Party should fully cost the fourteen policies that its leader claims it has already publicly released so that all New Zealanders can judge the degree of that party’s financial irresponsibility, Finance Minister Michael Cullen said today.

“I think I was as surprised as anyone else to hear John Key inform Breakfast TV watchers yesterday claiming that his party had already released fourteen policies,” Dr Cullen said.

“I know it will certainly come as a surprise to readers of the New Zealand Herald. That newspaper aims to keep a running total on parties’ policy commitments so that taxpayers have a clear idea of the relative costs and benefits of different party platforms for New Zealand,” Dr Cullen said.

“The truth is that National’s so-called policies are just a motley bunch of vague promises, yawning gaps, and gimmicks that collectively act as an insult to all New Zealanders,” Dr Cullen said.

Last week, the New Zealand Herald said that “National has so far revealed very little about how much it will spend and on what,” as even the media whose job it is to monitor parties’ commitments failed to catch the 14 policies that National’s leader now claims to have already released.

The government’s programme, in contrast, is costed in the Budget Economic and Fiscal Update Report of May 22 – and this includes programmes that have got media coverage in more detail after May 22.

“In the interests of transparency, National must independently cost it programme and send copies of those costings to all media organisations so that all New Zealanders get a better idea of just how much National proposes to go cap-in-hand overseas in order to borrow the funds it would require for its big-spending commitments,” Dr Cullen said.


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