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$1.6 billion and rising

MEDIA RELEASE

1 November 1999

$1.6 billion and rising

Labour's costed spending promises already added up to more than $1.6 billion a year, and that was not counting 176 uncosted promises, Treasurer Bill English said today.

"When Dr Cullen publishes Labour's spending figures he needs to cost all the promises his colleagues have made, not just the ones he chooses to cost.

"Helen Clark is still waving Labour's credit card around as though those were the only spending commitments her party has made. But on top of the $748 million on credit Labour MPs have already put dollars beside another $900 million of promises.

"This 'A' list of costed spending promises now adds up to more than $1.6 billion by the third year. As well as the credit card commitments you've got promises such as early childhood education, industry training, the green agenda, reinstating lump sums for ACC, and extra health spending.

"But it's the 'B' list of uncosted or longer term commitments which is the real problem for Dr Cullen.

"We've counted 176 uncosted commitments and the list keeps growing. Some of these are big ticket items, such as the research & development measures, establishing Community Employment Organisations, and paid parental leave. Commitments like a gradual change to ACC so that sickness is treated the same as accidents and removing asset testing for long-term geriatric care are sitting there too and have enormous costs attached.

"No amount of phasing-in can get around the fact that Labour is talking about a lot more Government spending. Either Dr Cullen costs the 'B' list, or Helen Clark admits her MPs are misleading the public.

"Voters already know that everyone earning over $9,500 will be paying another $800 million in tax under a Labour-led government compared to National. How much more tax they'll be paying is now the big question," said Mr English.

Ends

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