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Come again, Dr Cullen?

Bill English MP National Party Finance Spokesman

13 August 2008

Come again, Dr Cullen?

National's Finance spokesman Bill English is challenging Michael Cullen to outline how he plans to fund any infrastructure projects between now and the election.

"Dr Cullen today told the Council For Infrastructure's 'Building Nations' Symposium in Auckland that Labour was not going to let itself 'be outflanked on the infrastructure front'.

"That's a bit rich coming from the Finance Minister of a Government that has hysterically criticised National's plan to significantly boost infrastructure to clear some of the bottlenecks to growth.

"We will have a prudent programme which will result in National investing close to $5 billion of additional capital over the next six years to fund infrastructure. That's over and above spending previously foreshadowed by Labour.

"Our plan will ensure the economy is given the right conditions to grow and prosper.

"It sounds suspiciously like Dr Cullen's Road to Damascus conversion is more about politics than growth.

"When National unveiled its plan, Helen Clark reacted with a wave of criticism, only for it to rebound badly on her after National revealed that when debt was more than 50% of GDP she was advocating more borrowing to build more infrastructure.

"Interestingly, Michael Cullen has already moved to increase government borrowing. Plainly, he can't fund more infrastructure without more borrowing, yet he's already said he's 'at the limits of my comfort zone' with the spending and borrowing programme announced in this year's Budget.

"National supports infrastructure development because it will improve growth. What Dr Cullen's comments reveal is that Labour supports it because National does."

ENDS

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