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Standard & Poor’s reveals National’s empty spin

16 February 2011

Standard & Poor’s reveals National’s empty spin

Standard & Poor’s has revealed the empty spin behind the Government’s plan to focus on public debt and sell off state assets, says Labour’s Finance spokesperson David Cunliffe.

David Cunliffe said that while the international ratings agency noted government plans to bring its finances back into surplus sooner, it makes it clear that it considers private and business debt to be a far more serious problem than public debt.

“Standard and Poor’s says this is what is driving the agency’s negative outlook, and it has given John Key and Bill English a none too veiled warning that if there aren’t concrete changes then New Zealand will be in even more serious strife,” David Cunliffe said.

“The agency is also blunt in terms of asset sales, and gives the lie to National’s approach.

“John Key and Bill English have used Standard & Poor’s as a bogeyman to press their ideological approach, which sees the partial sale of our remaining assets as some sort of salvation.

“But the agency says the sort of state-owned businesses left in New Zealand are quite minimal compared to other countries.

“The irony is, of course, that the impact won’t be minimal once these assets eventually find their way into foreign ownership, and the dividends from businesses that all New Zealanders currently own head overseas,” David Cunliffe said.

“You simply can’t have partial private sales that protect Kiwi ownership. Either you are exposing them to foreign ownership or you aren’t.

“The agency has previously made it clear that our structural problems are rooted in our lack of export diversification and our terrible private savings record. Neither will be solved by flogging off the best of our remaining public commercial assets.

“Labour is developing policy that will tackle the vexed issue of private debt in a way that National is refusing to do, and it is focused on policies that create growth, jobs and savings as the sure way to prosperity.

“Standard & Poor’s reject National’s claim that the state sector is bloated and inefficient, but that view sits unhappily alongside National’s blinkered convictions.”

ENDS


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