Gordon Campbell | Parliament TV | Parliament Today | Video | Questions Of the Day | Search


Has Labour abandoned debt repayment?


6 August 1999

Has Labour abandoned debt repayment?

Treasurer Bill English said today Labour now needed to explain whether it had abandoned debt repayment as a key plank of economic policy.

"Dr Cullen's explanation for how he will pay for his superannuation fund raises some questions.

"Firstly, he is saying that money will go into the fund from surpluses. Yet there are no surpluses projected which would be big enough for a $1.5 billion a year super fund. This would mean that he is trying to get credit for a policy that he knows he can't fund.

"If in fact he plans to use every dollar of the surpluses currently projected for his super fund, then he must intend to stop repaying debt, because that is what the small surpluses are currently earmarked for.

"Debt has been more than halved this decade from a peak of 52% in 1991/92 to 22.5% this year. We want to bring that down futher because lower debt reduces the country's vulnerability to international shocks. It looks like Dr Cullen is saying that a key plank of Labour's economic policy is abandoning debt repayment.

"The figures I have released on the cost of Labour's spending promises don't include items like reversing the ACC changes, research and development plans, or having no user charges for border protection. Dr Cullen's figures don't allow for these policies or more to come.

"Dr Cullen has worked hard to convince people he would be a reasonable Treasurer, because he knows the biggest hurdle Labour faces is his colleagues' natural instincts to say anything that sounds publicly appealing.

"Just this week Helen Clark made some comments about changing the Reserve Bank's Policy Targets Agreement, which caused immediate concern and uncertainty in the financial markets.

"Dr Cullen had to step in and play down her comments, but not before the damage was done. This sort of difference of opinion does nothing towards building confidence in Labour's economic strategy.

"The line he is walking will only get harder to hold as the pressure goes on Labour to promise more spending and pull back on the sound economic strategy that will underwrite this country's growth over the next few years," said Mr English.


© Scoop Media

Parliament Headlines | Politics Headlines | Regional Headlines

Gordon Campbell: On The Erebus Memorial In Parnell

Social media can be a wonderful tool for bringing people together in a common cause. It can also be a seedbed and spreader of mis-information on a community-wide scale. To which category do the protests against the siting of an Erebus memorial (to the 257 New Zealanders who died in that tragedy) in a secluded corner of a Parnell park happen to belong? IMO, it is clearly the latter, and the reasons for thinking so are explained below... More>>


National: Proposed Hate Speech Laws A Step Too Far

Reports of the Government’s proposed new hate speech laws go a step too far and risk sacrificing the freedoms New Zealanders enjoy, National’s Justice spokesperson Simon Bridges says. “The reforms are supposedly including protections to every ... More>>


Agriculture: Government To Phase Out Live Exports By Sea

The Government has announced that the export of livestock by sea will cease following a transition period of up to two years, said Agriculture Minister Damien O’Connor. “At the heart of our decision is upholding New Zealand’s reputation for high ... More>>


Norman Gemmell: New Zealand’s New Housing Policy Is Really Just A New Tax Package — And It’s A Shambles

Norman Gemmell , Te Herenga Waka — Victoria University of Wellington Economists like to talk about “optimal policy instruments” — essentially, policies that achieve their objectives more effectively or efficiently than the alternatives, and ... More>>

Claire Breen: ACC’s Policy Of Not Covering Birth Injuries Is One More Sign The System Is Overdue For Reform

Claire Breen , University of Waikato Recent media coverage of women not being able to get treatment for birth injuries highlights yet another example of gender bias in healthcare in New Zealand. More>>

Police: Police Accept Findings Of IPCA Report Into Photographs Taken At Checkpoint

Police accept the findings of a report by the Independent Police Conduct Authority (IPCA) relating to photographs taken at a checkpoint in Northland. On November 16, 2019, Police set up a checkpoint down the road from a fight night event in Ruakaka ... More>>


Health: Drug-Testing Law To Be Made Permanent

Interim legislation that is already proving to keep people safer from drugs will be made permanent, Health Minister Andrew Little says. More>>




InfoPages News Channels