INDEPENDENT NEWS

Treasurer can't read a table of figures

Published: Mon 15 Nov 1999 07:25 AM
Sun Nov 14 1999
It's a bit of a worry that the Treasurer can't read a table of figures, Alliance leader Jim Anderton said today following Bill English's admission that he couldn't work out the Alliance alternative budget.
'If Mr English can't read a column of figures, it makes you wonder what he's doing in charge of the country's finances. No wonder we have had three quarters of negative growth in the six quarters since Mrs Shipley became Prime Minister.
'Mr English can't fathom why the figures setting out National Party spending differ from those in Prefu. The answer is that the Alliance doesn't accept the rosy projections in Prefu. For example, if the National Party continues to ignore the current account deficit, there will be yet another recession because of the effect of the massive overseas deficit on the currency and on interest rates.
'We therefore asked independent economists to compile the National Party's budget on the same basis as they were asked to prepare costings for the Alliance budget. The National Party figures are included in the same format as the Alliance figures to provide a basis for 'apples with apples' comparison.
'In assessing the cost of Superannuation, Mr English compares baseline increases in expenditure with year-on-year figures. If he compares oranges with apples it's hardly surprising that he can't work out the tables.
'I am astonished that Mr English is defending the dishonest National Party advertisements stating that 'everyone in full-time work will pay more tax'. The statements are utterly untrue, and Mr English only begins to defend them by trying to change what they literally say. If he thinks more words have to be added to make the meaning clearer, then he is admitting that the advertisements are misleading to say the least as they currently stand.
'The National Party should withdraw the ads today and apologise to the nation for their dishonesty,' Jim Anderton said.
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