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Cullen has no answers as economy slows

Bill English MP

National Party Finance Spokesman

28 August 2008

Cullen has no answers as economy slows

National Party Finance spokesman Bill English says the Finance Minister has laid out a recipe for the economy which will see New Zealand slip further and further behind others in the OECD.

“When times were good, Michael Cullen took all the credit. When times are tough, it’s someone else’s fault.”

Mr English is referring to comments made by Dr Cullen today, where he said the Kiwi economy is facing its biggest challenge since the 1987 stockmarket crash, and that the economy’s been in recession for the first half of the year.

“In a case of crocodile tears, Dr Cullen has ‘acknowledged people were feeling pain due to high interest rates and rising prices’. He forgot to tell the audience that interest rates have pretty much doubled under his watch.”

Mr English says Dr Cullen has been warned repeatedly by the Reserve Bank that Labour’s rapidly increasing and poorly targeted spending was helping fuel interest rates.

“Labour made a deliberate decision to sacrifice homeowners ahead of the 2007 Budget, when Ministers also axed the chewing gum tax cuts to pay for a large overspend. Dr Cullen warned his colleagues back then that their spending would keep interest rates higher for longer.”

It is crucial that New Zealand now build a strong platform to achieve future growth and prosperity. National’s five point plan will achieve that:

1. We will have an ongoing programme of personal tax cuts. We will put the right incentives in place to encourage people to work and save and get ahead under their own steam. Boosting after-tax wages will help stem the flow of Kiwis overseas.

2. We will bring discipline to government spending. The government should be just as careful with your tax dollars as your household is with the weekly budget. National will direct spending towards frontline services like doctors, nurses, teachers, and police.

3. We will stop the massive rise in bureaucracy and red tape that Labour has encouraged. We will cap the number of bureaucrats in the core public service, and we will reform the Resource Management Act and the Building Act.

4. We will have an unwavering focus on lifting education standards. We will introduce National Education Standards in primary and intermediate schools to improve literacy and numeracy. We will boost trades in schools and encourage teenagers to get the skills they need.

5. We will invest in infrastructure to help this country grow. We have a $1.5 billion plan to bring ultra-fast broadband to businesses, schools, hospitals, and homes. And we will substantially boost investment in roads, electricity, and water.

“National has a programme to get New Zealand back on a strong growth path. Where is Labour’s?”

ENDS

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