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Cullen can't deal with facts

Dr Cullen's silly outburst over today's Reserve Bank statement shows yet again that Labour hates New Zealand doing well, and that he cannot deal with the facts, Treasurer Bill English said today.

"His response to the Bank's Monetary Policy Statement is wrong on all three points he makes.

"First, interest rates are low. Ninety day bill rates are around 5.35%. Floating mortgages are around 6.75%. Mortgage rates are the lowest they have been since 1971. Low interest rates support economic growth.

"Second, we are not losing jobs. National's record is of creating jobs. Since the end of 1991 to September this year 289,000 new jobs have been created. Those are net new jobs – the total increase in jobs after the ones that have been lost are replaced. The Reserve Bank's forecasts show another 13,000 new jobs by March, 40,000 the following year, and 44,000 in the year after that. Dr Cullen might like to compare our record to what Labour's performance on jobs was – 80,000 lost in Labour's last term.

"Third, exports are driving this recovery. Exports, not consumption growth as Dr Cullen claims, have been the feature of growth this decade. Exports drove growth in 1993, 1994 and 1995, they were ahead of consumption growth in 1998, and exports are forecast to drive the strong growth of the next three years.

"For an historian, Dr Cullen has a slim grasp of what's happened in the last decade.

"As someone who wants to be Treasurer, he has a slim grasp of economic facts.

"Labour and the Alliance should stop badmouthing New Zealand and deal with the reality that we've got the economy growing strongly and a great future," said Mr English.

Ends

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