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Labour's economic policy - reheated again

Bill English MP National Party Finance Spokesman

15 October 2008

Labour's economic policy - reheated again

National Party Finance spokesman Bill English says Labour's attempts to re-cook the broken promise to return New Zealand to the top half of the OECD is desperate.

"National has great faith in Kiwis and the New Zealand economy, but under Labour we've slipped back two places to 22 out of 30 on the OECD ladder."

Mr English is referring to the announcement yesterday by Michael Cullen that it is Labour's policy to return New Zealand to the top half of the OECD.

"Back when Labour came to office, Helen Clark had a plan to do that within 10 years.

"Well, the decade is nearly up and we've been going backwards, despite the good economic climate. In fact, what we have been delivered is a decade of deficits. New Zealanders know that in rougher economic weather, the chance of Helen Clark delivering is precisely nil.

"Helen Clark's big on this sort of rhetoric, and there are similarities with the empty promise of a carbon neutral New Zealand."

Mr English says Dr Cullen needs to be honest with New Zealanders about where all the new money that Labour is promising is coming from.

"Yesterday, the Finance Minister adopted a watered down version of National's infrastructure plan. National's fully costed plan injects $300 million more than Labour in the first year, rising to $750 million more by 2014.

"When National announced this plan, Labour said it was 'reckless', 'gambling with the future', and would do 'serious damage'. Now, Dr Cullen's serving up this recipe because his own plan has delivered a legacy that amounts to a decade of deficits and a 50% increase in Crown debt.

"Just a few weeks ago, Helen Clark said it was 'hilarious' and said that borrowing at a time of international economic crisis was the last thing New Zealand should do. Labour now claims it is part of the solution to our problems.

"This totally inconsistent approach is cynical, lacks imagination, and shows Dr Cullen and Labour can't be trusted to follow through."

Mr English says Labour must not be allowed to get away with making a grab-bag of vague economic promises with no costings until after the election.

"Helen Clark is asking New Zealanders to write her the biggest blank cheque in our political history. She must lay out the impact of her spending spree and tell New Zealanders how much more debt she's taking on - because that is the right thing to do."


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