Hon Bill English National Party Leader 23 May 2002
Budget fails to deliver -- English
"Today's Budget is further proof that this Government has run out of ideas about improving New Zealand's economic performance and New Zealanders' aspirations," says National Party Leader Bill English.
Mr English says the Government has failed to capitalise on the best economic conditions in a generation to implement real and effective changes that will deliver long-term sustainable growth to the economy.
"During this period, favoured with good commodity prices and a low dollar, it has missed a prime opportunity to help increase the competitiveness of small businesses that drive our economy. Now these businesses face a much more difficult environment with a rising dollar and increasing interest rates.
"All the Budget has dished up is a repackaging and re-announcement of commitments already made. We were promised a knowledge wave and it has passed us by without causing so much as a ripple.
"It's a mish-mash of dollars and acronyms for bureaucratic programmes. Real people who do real things don't appear at all.
"This Budget does nothing to lift our sustainable growth rates and deliver an economy that can afford the world-class health and education systems all New Zealanders want.
"It also does nothing about the current mounting problems in the education and health sectors. Secondary school students and their parents are still going to face wildcat teacher strikes every day and older people will still continue to see growing waiting lists and further health cuts.
"However, we do agree with more funding for apprenticeships - New Zealand needs more skilled young people." Mr English says National has released a comprehensive and credible plan that will lift New Zealand's economic performance and deliver long-term, sustainable growth.
"All this Budget does is highlight the clear difference between Labour and National at this year's election.
"Voters can punt for Labour and their higher operating balances, as well as higher taxes, increasing debt and billions of taxpayers' dollars invested overseas.
"Or they can vote National and get lower operating balances, as well as less tax, strong investment in New Zealand, reduced business costs and lower debt," Mr English concluded.