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Lest We Forget

Today is the anniversary of Jenny Shipley's best ever decision - sacking Winston Peters.

Mr Peters has been busy trying to rewrite history but let's remember he was Treasurer for nearly two years and his period in office was disastrous, says ACT Leader Richard Prebble.

"When he left office the ANZ home mortgage interest rate was 9.5%. Today it is 6.5%. In other words he was responsible for ordinary home owners' interest rates being 50% higher - and that translates into thousands of dollars in extra interest the average New Zealander was paying for the pleasure of having Winston as Treasurer.

"When he took office unemployment had fallen below 6% for the first time in 13 years - lower than any state in Australia, and falling. Mr Peters turned that round, pushed unemployment up to 7.3% and rising. Thousands of New Zealanders lost their jobs so Winston Peters could have his.

"We now have the bizarre sight of Mr Peters attacking National for policies that he was personally responsible for.

"Creating a new work and income agency was a NZ First policy. Mr Peters as Treasurer personally championed the new department and Christine Rankin was appointed to her position when he was Treasurer. It's his policy and he's responsible.

"We even have the bizarre sight of Mr Peters attacking National for the INCIS fiasco. Yet NZ First MP Jack Elder was Police Minister while the fiasco raged, and Mr Peters was so deeply involved that he flew to New York and personally negotiated in New York with IBM and authorised the continuation of the project when any responsible Minister should have been able to judge that it was a mistake and wouldn't work.

"In Tauranga the other day he attacked National because an Invercargill family had been driven from their home by a gang. Every day Mr Peters was a senior member of the coalition government that gang was menacing that family and for him to blame National is to try and rewrite history.

"Mr Peters has gone so far as to claim that he fixed hospitals while he was Treasurer - which will come as a surprise to the New Zealanders on the waiting lists which grew all the time he was Treasurer. Free health care for under sixes is not the great achievement he claims. Over 70% of under sixes got free health care via the community card. All he did was let wealthy parents give their children a free check-up before taking them on holiday to Fiji.

"We should remember the huge relief round the whole country when Mr Peters was finally sacked from his position.

"As Treasurer he did enormous damage to the business sector. It's no good his blaming the Asian meltdown because Australian government handled that crisis superbly while Mr Peters misread it, doing the New Zealand export sector enormous damage

"His lasting legacy however was to bring into Parliament a group of unprincipled opportunists who have dispersed into four different parties and brought Parliament to an all-time low in public opinion."

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