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Young pretender challenges aging dinosaur

17 March 2008 Media statement

Young pretender challenges aging dinosaur

Roger Douglas is a dinosaur who should come out and debate his dinosaur policies if he wants to make a return to politics, the youthful Progressive party leader and Act nemesis Jim Anderton said today.

He is challenging Roger Douglas to debate the choices for the next three years based on the economy's performance in government.

"Roger Douglas' memory has slid into the kind of decline his policies caused New Zealand. If he wants to make a comeback, he should compare his record to the achievement of a smart, active government," Jim Anderton said.

"His record included: record unemployment, stalled growth in nearly every region of New Zealand, the loss of most of our strategic assets, attacks on NZ Super and the fastest widening income gap with Australia in New Zealand's history.

"In comparison, the past eight years have produced record low unemployment, the longest run of continuous economic growth in decades, the recovery of New Zealand's assets, the creation of KiwiSaver, the Super Fund to protect retirement incomes, and partnerships with industry that build on our competitive advantage.

"Roger Douglas called our agriculture sector a sunset industry and thought our future lay in selling everything to Fay Richwhite. Today, the agriculture industry is partnering with the government in the largest investment in innovation in our history.

"Which of those options is more likely to help New Zealand's economy prosper?"

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Jim Anderton was expelled from the Labour Party caucus for refusing to vote for Roger Douglas's economic carnage.

"Roger Douglas has never in his life won the intellectual argument for his policies. The facts never match his ideology. Some of us are old enough to remember, and still much younger and more vigorous," Jim Anderton said.


Roger Douglas
C/- Rodney Hide
Act Party leader

17 March 2008

Dear Roger

I noticed you used my name to explain to reporters you are not too old to re-enter politics. Naturally I agree. I think there are much more serious issues that should be tested if you are going to stand for Act.

I propose that you debate me, in Christchurch in front of a public audience on an evening in April.

The topic should be our vision for the next three years, based on our respective records in office.

I realise this topic is awkward for you, since your time in office was much more disastrous - but because the nature of your policies led to your eviction from office, it seems like a suitable topic.

Politics is about a contest of ideas. I had assumed the successes of the last eight years - such as record low unemployment and the longest run of continuous economic growth in decades - conclusively proved your ideas didn't work, and mine do. But if you need it spelled out any further, I hope you will accept this challenge.

Yours sincerely

Jim Anderton
Progressive Party leader

PS I'm addressing this to you care of Rodney, because he presumably knows where you can be found.

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