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Anderton congratulates English

9 October 2001 Media Statement

Anderton congratulates English

Alliance leader Jim Anderton congratulated Bill English on his election as the new leader of the National Party, and said he faces enormous challenges.

“It is not easy to take over a divided, dispirited party after months of civil war.”

He said the main challenges for the new National Party would be policy and personality.

“He has to find some talent to put on the front bench and he has to try to mold a united team out of bitter, fractious rivals. As I look through the National caucus, I am staggered at the problems he faces. For example, he needs someone from Auckland, so he has to choose between Brian Neeson, Clem Simich, Marie Hasler, Arthur Anae and someone called Richard Worth.”

Jim Anderton said the policy challenges faced by Bill English towered over the problems of personalities.

“National needs to spell out how it can pay $300 million to cut the company tax rate, along with a billion dollars worth of laptop computers for every school pupil, a billion dollars for a new fleet of F16 fighter jets and $700 million to build all the new prisons they are promising.

“National cannot afford all this. Perhaps that is why Maurice Williamson was on the radio this morning declaring ‘We have no policy yet.’

“I agree with Maurice Williamson’s statement today that “If we had an election in three months time, I think National would be in huge trouble.”

ENDS

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