One of my growing legion of volunteer researchers and spies has sent me this 29 March 1996 press article in which Dr Cullen attacks National, calling a projected $6 billion surplus “absurd” and that “there was no virtue in running large surpluses when debt was at a prudent level”.
One really doesn’t need to comment, do we?
“THE DOMINION, 29 MAR 1996 , Edition 2, Page 2.
Cullen says $6b surplus plan absurd
THE Government’s plan for a $6 billion surplus in 1999 when children and families were in need was absurd, Labour finance spokesman Michael Cullen said yesterday.
Dr Cullen said he could not understand why the Government was planning such a large surplus when special needs children were not getting enough help, there was a three year waiting list for some cancer patients and six-month waiting lists for family group conferences.
Issuing Labour’s alternative budget policy statement, he said Labour was budgeting for a $2.9 billion surplus in 1997, falling to $1.9 billion in 1998 and $1.1 billion in 1999. It would also build a special superannuation fund to a $604 million surplus by 1999.
The surpluses were based on no further asset sales under a Labour government.
Despite running a smaller surplus, Labour still expects to be able to reduce debt, saying net debt as a percentage of gross domestic product would fall to 26.3 per cent by 1999.
This compares with National’s forecast of 17.7 per cent by 1999.
Dr Cullen said there was no virtue in running large surpluses when debt was at a prudent level. “