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Time For A Reality Check

19 November 1999

MEDIA STATEMENT: FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

TIME FOR A REALITY CHECK

"This election campaign has become clouded with smoke screens. The real issues are being lost in confusing statements being made by interest groups, political parties and media representatives who either do not understand the core issues for the country or are intentionally trying to divert attention away from these issues. These core issues are the economy, health, education, and government management," said National's Ikaroa Rawhiti candidate Dale Stephens.

Fact:
given the external influences on our economy, it is hard to imagine a brighter picture than the one the Reserve Bank painted this week. Exports are up, wages are up, unemployment is down and government debt is falling. If this is an "unfortunate experiment" as Labour's Michael Cullen claims, then long may the experiment continue.

Fact:
more is spent on health now than ever before. 30% more than in 1991 and still climbing. Nearly 30,000 more New Zealanders per year are getting surgery than ever before. More and more health provision is being handed over to community groups to ensure optimal delivery of services. Health restructuring has been a long and difficult process. We don't need to re-do the whole process again.

Fact:
Tertiary student numbers have risen 40% since 1990. In the same period funding for early childhood education has gone up 124%. More kids are entering school education, staying longer, and going on to tertiary study. Kohanga Reo numbers are up as are Maori graduates.

Fact:
Government management is being devolved so that experts and not bureaucrats have more say in their particular fields of endeavour. Parents have input to the curricula and management of their children's schools. More health care now comes from Community health providers. Similarly welfare services are being co-ordinated at community level. The government is steadily dismantling its hierarchical model of management.

"This election should not be decided on issues such as digitally altered billboards, blatant deception, or billboard destruction. Likewise voters who either don't care or have "always voted this way" should not determine it. If the public want open and honest government they should at least take the time to understand what is good for the future of this country. Only when we can all put our hand up and say that this is how we voted, will we get the government we deserve. Anything else would be a smokescreen," said Dale


For further information contact: Chris Hornsby on 04-4980538 or Dale Stephens

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