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Where is National on the economy?

Hon Dr Michael Cullen
Minister of Finance

19 June 2008 Media Statement

Where is National on the economy?

The National Party’s failure in Parliament to ask a single question on the economy shows they have no plan for the challenges facing New Zealand, Finance Minister Michael Cullen said today.

For the first time since Dr Cullen became Finance Minister, the National Party has not asked a single question in Parliament on the economy in the weeks following the Budget.

“New Zealand is confronting the most difficult global economic picture in at least a decade, and potentially since the late 1980s,” Dr Cullen said. “New Zealanders are feeling real pressure at the petrol pump and the supermarket checkout as the global commodity boom continues unabated.

“The Budget I presented last month was a real response to the challenges we are facing. It provided tax relief for households and investments in our future success, while resisting short-term gimmicks like cuts to GST.

“John Key and Bill English like to talk tough on the economy on TV and at public meetings, but in Parliament where they have a real chance to hold the government to account they have sat silent.

“Mr English has all but admitted that he is confused by the global picture, saying times are too uncertain to develop economic policy.

“Mr Key has flirted with directing the Governor of the Reserve Bank to cut interest rates aggressively even if that would make petrol and food even more expensive.

“The truth is that National cannot be trusted on the economy. When Bill English was Finance Minister he cut superannuation when times were tough. When he was in government New Zealand was downgraded by international credit rating agencies.

“New Zealanders are owed a real discussion on our economic direction. They should not expect any leadership from the National Party.”


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