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English keeping the seat warm for Prebble - Cullen

12 October 2001 Media Statement

English keeping the seat warm for Prebble - Cullen

“Bill English’s decision to retain the shadow finance job is damaging in the short-term to National as it demonstrates the lack of talent in his caucus,” Finance Minister Michael Cullen.

“But the greater potential damage is to the country in the unlikely event that National and Act ever have the numbers to form a government.

“After Muldoon, there is a strong convention that the Prime Minister should not also hold the finance portfolio. But if National goes into the coalition negotiations without an obvious candidate for Finance Minister, it will be in a weak position to deny the role to Act Leader Richard Prebble.

“Mr English has told us that his leadership is about returning National to the political centre. If that is to be more than just flannel, he needs to be grooming someone now to be his Minister of Finance. What confidence can business have in a party which cannot even pick a finance spokesperson?

“Having Lockwood Smith and David Carter playing Robin to English’s Batman just won’t cut it.

“He has created a vacuum for Mr Prebble to fill, and Prebble will yank National further to the Right than it was even under Ruth Richardson,” Dr Cullen said.

“The reshuffle has a very “boys’ own” feel to it. Georgina te Heuheu is the only woman on the front bench. And surely, in any dispassionate analysis, Belinda Vernon had a stronger claim to promotion than Wayne Mapp?

“It is now clear who are on the Boag-English hit list: Arthur Anae, Shane Adern, Doug Kidd, Warren Kyd, Brian Neeson, Clem Simich and Tony Steel.

“Otherwise the line-up is ho-hum. There is nothing here to persuade anyone that National has the fire-power to develop policies for a new century and for a more diverse and multi-cultural New Zealand,” Dr Cullen said.

ENDS


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