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Cullen gives up on NZ

Bill English MP
National Party Finance Spokesman

15 October 2008

Cullen gives up on NZ

“Michael Cullen’s latest outburst shows he has lost faith in New Zealand as an investment destination,” says National Party Finance spokesman Bill English.

“His attack on National’s plan to get the super fund investing in New Zealand for New Zealanders is baffling.”

Mr English is referring to the Finance Minister’s breathless claims that a National-led Government would strip independence from the Guardians of the New Zealand Superannuation Fund.

“Anyone who has read our statement and our policy understands that is not what we are proposing, but what is worrying is the lack of confidence the Finance Minister is showing in the Kiwi economy.

“Most New Zealanders have well over 40% of their assets here. Are they risking their futures? Is Dr Cullen saying they should sell up and invest offshore?

“His view on this should not surprise us because he also thinks that New Zealand is ‘better off’ without those who have left to live in Australia.

“National does not share this view because we are ambitious for our country and our people.

“But right now, consistency is not Michael Cullen’s strong suit. The attack comes just a day after Dr Cullen made some vague noises about encouraging the super fund to invest in New Zealand. He’s done a complete about-face in 24 hours.

“This latest inconsistency follows his outrageous attack on National’s plan to help get the economy growing again by unclogging the infrastructural bottlenecks, by slightly raising the level of borrowing.

“A few weeks ago Dr Cullen said that when the markets are in turmoil, it was the worst possible time to increase borrowing. Then yesterday, he changed his mind.”

Mr English says Dr Cullen’s claims about cuts to superannuation are also nonsensical scare-mongering.

“He is the one who has failed to include the increased rate of super in his accounts. National has budgeted to keep the super floor at 66% of the average after-tax wage. Labour’s policy is to allow that rate to drop back.”

Dr Cullen says there’ll be an announcement from Labour confirming the higher super rate soon.

“At that stage he must also release the detail on where the money’s coming from to pay for Labour’s election promises, what level of borrowing he expects, and how much longer Helen Clark will keep the accounts in deficit. The mini-Budget after the election is not a solution.”


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