4 Nov 2011

Minor parties critical of Labour costings

6:57 pm on 4 November 2011

The ACT and Green parties are critical of Labour's election costings released at Parliament on Friday.

Labour leader Phil Goff says the party would borrow $4 billion more than National over the next four years if it is elected to power on 26 November, return the Government's books to surplus by 2014-15 and clear debt in 10 years.

National Party leader John Key says Labour has effectively ignored its borrowing for the Super Fund and the true figure for its extra borrowing is more than $10 billion.


ACT Party leader Don Brash is dismayed that Labour wants to borrow a lot more than National, saying it's imprudent.

"This makes no sense at all. Why would any householder with a large debt borrow more money to invest in shares? No prudent householder would do that - the Government shouldn't be doing that either.

"Personally, I think the Government should be selling the assets in the Super Fund and using it to pay off debt. Why the Government should borrow money to invest in shares is simply beyond me."

The Green Party is also critical of Labour's plans to borrow to feed the Super Fund, also known as the Cullen Fund. Co-leader Russel Norman believes such a move is economically irrational.

"The Cullen Fund is a repository for surpluses, so when the Government's running surpluses it makes sense to stash money away for the future and we really applauded Labour for that.

"Whereas, when you're running a deficit, the logic of borrowing to put into your savings doesn't make so much sense to us."

But Labour says it is National's figures that don't add up - as it has not only banked the proceeds from its planned asset sales, but claims it can also keep spending all the dividends.