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'Say nothing, be nothing' approach won't work

MEDIA RELEASE

21 July 1999

'Say nothing, be nothing' approach won't work for Labour

Treasurer Bill English said today the Labour Party's 'say nothing, be nothing' approach did not constitute an election debate.

"The Government's forward looking and energetic economic leadership is clearly unsettling Dr Cullen as he finds himself trying to explain increasingly left-wing policy positions.

"While Dr Cullen is reading Third Way textbooks, the Government knows what it is doing, has critical work programmes already underway and more policy announcements planned over the coming months.

"The Government has demonstrated economic leadership on issues like tax, ACC changes and producer boards.

"Since 1 July employers have made huge savings on the costs of work-place insurance and don't want to see the changes reversed. Rather than being 'hamfisted' and 'ideologically driven', the new producer board legislation introduced into Parliament has the potential to turn around New Zealand's economic performance, and that is no small claim.

"Next month the Government will launch the Five Steps Ahead programme which will bring together a number of policy initiatives to help New Zealand harness the potential of the knowledge economy. Other policy announcements are planned for the coming months.

"As I have outlined in recent speeches, there are four challenges that I see underpining our economic strategy over the next 10 years - knowledge, a global outlook, teamwork and a sense of community.. How we deal with them will dictate whether or not we can once again be one of the most impressive small economies in the world.

"Under this Government's leadership we can do it.

"Labour's ideas on the other hand are just going backwards. Labour talks exports, but opposes any and every active move the Government has taken to strengthen the sector. Labour is going to reverse the ACC changes, repeal the Employment Contracts Act, slow down the producer board reform, and put in place a form of crony capitalism with its industry policy.

"In fact Dr Cullen is sounding more and more off-key as he tries to sound mainstream in his economic theories while his colleagues announce policies that are 20 years out of date," said Mr English.

Ends

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