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National No means super fund should not pass Go

17 July 2001

Green Party co-leader Rod Donald said today the Government should put the interests of the nation first and invite all parties who support universal public provision of superannuation to discuss how best to achieve that commitment.

"The Government should build on the political consensus around Part 1 of the Bill, now that National has come out in support of universal provision at age 65, and listen to other ideas about how we can fund superannuation in the future," said Mr Donald.

"The 'No' from the Nats to Cullen's fund adds more weight to the 'No' from the Green Party last month. Labour should not pass 'Go' on this scheme without the cross-party consensus they said they were seeking.

"Labour is forced to rely on NZ First and the Alliance to support the super fund through Parliament, even though the Democratic Party (part of the Alliance) rejected the fund in a select committee submission.

"If the Government goes ahead with the proposed super fund, it will have to rely on a bare, shaky majority of votes to get it set up, and the fund will be vulnerable to political manipulation in the future.

"New Zealand could end up with the worst of both worlds - with the Labour Party running down the health and education systems now to build up the fund, and then National using the fund in the future as a Lotto win to pay for tax cuts or needless extra defence spending."

Mr Donald said the National Party has made the right decision to reject the super fund, given the obvious funding stresses that the health and education systems are labouring under.

"However we are surprised and disappointed that Mr English hasn't been able to give any alternatives on superannuation. The National Party has had nearly a year to get to grips with this key issue, and their failure to propose a decent alternative is a sign of an opposition party in trouble.

"We believe we are proposing the most sustainable and robust solution to the future funding of superannuation - investing now to secure the future through health, education, employment creation, sustainable development and debt repayment," said Mr Donald.

"At best Cullen's fund is smoke and mirrors - at its peak it will only pay for 14 percent of future superannuation costs, and he is borrowing half of the money which he plans to put into the fund this year. That's neither prudent nor sensible."

ENDS

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