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Cullen's cut & paste policies too little

Bill English MP National Party Finance Spokesman

14 October 2008

Cullen's cut & paste policies too little too late

National Party Finance spokesman Bill English says Michael Cullen has released a largely cut and paste set of economic policies that repeats many of Labour's failed ideas and offers little hope for struggling Kiwis.

"Dr Cullen's thrown together a grab-bag of ideas that provides no numbers, no figures, and no projections for debt or the deficit. Labour is hiding its real intentions from the public by promising a mini-Budget after the election, where they will reveal what promises they plan to break."

Mr English says Dr Cullen is talking up his mini-Budget, although it's clear from the package released today that he's not really sure what will be in it. In fact he's calling it a 'potential' stimulus package.

"In the past weeks, Labour has been spending up a storm and Dr Cullen owes it to New Zealand to say where the money is coming from."

Mr English says some of the policies claimed by Dr Cullen as his own have previously been released by National.

One of the Finance Minister's flagship ideas is a promise that 'Labour will work with exporters to lift exports to 40% of GDP by 2020 and 50% by 2030'.

"National unveiled that in its trade policy in October 2007."

Mr English says Dr Cullen is also banking on New Zealanders having short memories, after his announcement today that he will borrow for infrastructure.

"In August, when John Key announced National's programme to boost infrastructure and improve growth, both Dr Cullen and Helen Clark said the sky was falling. It was reckless and irresponsible, they said.

"Having created a legacy which includes a decade of deficits, Dr Cullen is now announcing a programme of borrowing for rail infrastructure by way of infrastructure bonds.

"In other words, when other parties propose it, it is a bad idea fraught with danger, but when Labour does it, it's a way to promote growth. This is the sort of cynical electioneering that Kiwis have grown tired of."

National has committed to increased spending of $300 million more on infrastructure next year, rising to $750 million over and above Labour's current spending by 2014/15.

In August, John Key said: 'First, we will introduce infrastructure bonds. Secondly, we will make greater use of public-private partnerships. These new financing and asset management techniques will open up infrastructure to a wide range of financial investors. This will include Kiwi mums and dads through their super funds and KiwiSaver accounts'.

Mr English says as the comments above illustrate, National broadly supports the principle of calling on the New Zealand Superannuation fund to focus more on home-grown investments. To do this, however, the fund is going to need investment opportunities in New Zealand at a time when Labour has driven the economy into the ground.

Mr English says what is important now is for Helen Clark to lay out Labour's fiscal projections.

"Because over the past few days they've been spending like drunken sailors, and they've offered no advice on how any of it is being funded or which taxes they would raise to pay the bills.

"Kiwis need to know before the election how much worse off they'll be under Labour."

ENDS

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