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Key not making sense on NZ Fast Forward

13 March 2008 Media Statement

Key not making sense on NZ Fast Forward

Further comments this morning from Opposition leader John Key explaining why he wants to axe the $700 million government contribution to the NZ Fast Forward innovation fund appear muddled, agriculture minister and Progressive leader Jim Anderton said.

He says John Key has made one straight-out error, and one inexplicable comment about government funding.

"His obvious error is his statement that the only money spent will be interest on the capital investment. He is wrong about that. The entire fund will be used over 10 to 15 years, along with interest earned while the funds are being spent.

"Since his misunderstanding of the way the fund would work was his explanation for promising to axe it, will he still tell the primary sector he is going to abolish the fund?"

Jim Anderton said a fund that, with private sector contributions, over time will grow to as much as two billion dollars is much more secure and offers the sector much more certainty than John Key's vague promise of increased r&d spending.

He said John Key appeared bamboozled by public accounts in his comment reported this morning, that "This is a gimmick to pick up $700 million on the Reserve Bank balance sheet, invest it in another little pocket and use that interest to make the number look bigger.".

"What does that statement mean? I defy anyone to explain what John Key is talking about when he says $700m will be picked up on the Reserve Bank balance sheet. It doesn't make any sense.

"This is very worrying because it suggests that this person who wants to be prime minister this year doesn't have even a rudimentary or lay understanding of public finances. We do not live in a social credit paradise. Government funds are not 'picked up on the Reserve Bank balance sheet'.".


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