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Launch out to lunch

Labour
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"The Government's latest re-launch attempt - the inanely-named Bright Future package - will scarcely raise a ripple," Labour finance spokesperson Michael Cullen said today.

"Strip away the hype and pages and pages of verbiage and what you have is only $47 million in new spending spread over four years. That represents annually less than 10 percent of the money thrown away on the doomed Incis project.

"The package's weakness is most evident in the treatment of research and development. Labour knows this is central to a successful knowledge economy and is committed to introducing a more sympathetic tax regime for R&D. The most the Government can offer is to have "a good hard look" at the issue.

"The Government has tried to disguise how slight the package is by padding it out with reviews and taskforces. But after almost nine years in power, these are only an excuse for inaction and will be seen as such by the public.

"National's problem is that it has been forced to come to the economic debate empty-handed. By the time it discovered the knowledge economy, it had already emptied the kitty through its 1996 and 1998 tax cuts and through the April 1 tax bribe and accompanying dollar for dollar commitment on social spending.

"As a consequence there is simply nothing left to address the urgent structural problems which are blighting New Zealand's economic performance," Dr Cullen said. "The package is further evidence that this old, tired and compromised administration cannot offer the country the "bright future" New Zealanders so desperately want and deserve."

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